Thursday, March 21, 2013

Looking Back on the Mar. 19th Chapter Meeting and Recording Session

 Great that the chapter has found the choir room area at First Baptist Church on King St. available for our recording sessions.  And this week we managed to make two more clean sets for a future CD development. YeEd hears there are also plans to begin marketing single songs using the newer technologies.


Chuck McKeever was there early to provide some individual coaching of the uptune stage moves.  There was a good attendance of singers for the session.  Associate director Tony Colosimo did the vocal warm ups and merged that into his weekly barbershop craft session for the chorus.  This week’s lesson gave more emphasis to “tall in the back, small in the front” to improve sound.


Cameron Wiffenbach did the recording engineer work for our session again and Mike Kelly and Doug White helped with that. 


The music team conducted brief sectionals each time before we recorded “Summertime” and “ObLaDi” to give a little review and reminder of pointers.


After the recording times, Director Joe Cerutti went to work on the contest package for this summer.  While the front row worked in another room Carlos Barillo reviewed some riser moves and helped us drill them. Assistant director Terry Reynolds managed the self-eval sessions and listener sessions for those ready to have an evaluation. 


Operations vp Bob Rhome conducted the chapter meeting.  Announcements included details about this weekend’s coaching session with Tony DeRosa.  Joe shared Tony’s barbershop biography for those who were not with us when Tony worked with us before. We are due at Durant at 9 am and will be out at 5 pm, with a lunch break off-campus.  Plan to go to a variety of restaurants so all 120 of us don’t try to get lunch in the same place! 


Bob announced that chapter members can purchase one of the new books edited by Joe (VISIONS OF EXCELLANCE - being sold be the BHS) next week at our meeting.  They are $20 and you can avoid paying the shipping costs. See Jack Pitzer on Mar. 26th  to get your copy.  


Bob and others reminded guys to get started right away on getting a passport if you don’t have one.


President Alan Wile recognized the success of our quartets at the M-AD prelims contest last weekend – DA CAPO, MAYHEM and HANDSOME REWARD.


Also he showed us a certificate he was given at the House of Delegates meeting last weekend recognizing our chapter with a gold award for per capita donation to Harmony Foundation.  We averaged $267.09 per member.


He also had checks for the chapter treasurer David Welter that came in from community service activities of quartets and the chorus in recent months.


There was a board meeting during the break.


Our chapter is hosting the southern/western division contest weekend in Reston on April 26-27.  We earn some money for this service to the district.  Chuck Harner has agreed to be weekend chairman (he has done that a few times!) and he needs about 30 job positions filled.  He had signup sheets for guys to volunteer. Jobs include things such as quartet and chorus hosting, ticket takers at the doors, hosting of judges and such, set up and take down, and more.  Nothing is too hard or too long. Great way for many of our newer members to get involved.


Related to that is the option for our chapter to also earn dollars based on the number of advertisements we sell for the printed program.  Carlos Correa is heading up that effort and has sent out an email to all.  Step up and help us make some money as a chapter.


Ian Poulin urged members to order scrip cards. First, everyone needs to buy enough to pay for their hotel rooms in Toronto.  Second you can get cards for Easter and family entertaining. PLESAE NOTE that Ian will be on travel the month of May, so we need to do it in April.


As a reminder, the music team stressed guys mark calendars for the retreat May 31-June 1 with coach David Wright.  It is a mandatory weekend.  It will be held a McDaniel College in Westminster, MD. Note too: this year’s first coaching session of the weekend will be on Friday nite (oldtimers take note of this change). Chuck McKeever is coordinator of this annual weekend.


Terry Reynolds mentioned dates for vocal and visual studios coming up.


Chapter secretary Chris Buechler presented new members Duncan Woodbury and Harold Weinberger.  Phil Ferguson was also reinstated.


Then Chris had renewal membership cards for Joel Golden for 8 years; Joe Cerutti Jr. for 12 years; Sam McFarland for 26 years; Ken Ives for 28 years; Rick Wagner for 32 years; Will Cox for 35 years (he also got the lapel pin); and Bruce Minnick for 36 years.


Membership vp Mark Klostermeyer introduced Jeff Bowen and his Mom Doris, guests of Carlos Barillo, from Indiana.


After a brief break, Joe worked with us to introduce the musical interpretation plan for the ballad so that we could be prepared for this Saturday’s session.  We can expect an email to cover it too.


The evening adjourned with the traditional singing of KTWWS.  The hall was emptied and some of us went to an afterglow.


Until next time – editorjack!

(This message is prepared for your review if you were there, for your information if you had to miss, and as a historical record of the great things going on each week during the 65th year of the Alexandria Harmonizer Chapter. —YeEd.)

Looking Back on the 2013 Prelims in Parsippany NJ Mar. 15-16

Our chapter quartets represented us well at the M id-Atlantic District International Preliminary Quartet contest and convention in Parsippany, NJ, on a snowy weekend March 15-16.  Even tho it was a 4+ hour drive, there were also a good number of our chapter members there to cheer our chapter singers and many guys who helped make sure the weekend ran smoothly.


DA CAPO qualified to go to Toronto with Ryan Griffith, Tony Colosimo, Joe Sawyer and Wayne Adams with a great average score of 86.3.  The other qualifying quartet from our district was ‘ROUND MIDNIGHT.  Our friends in MAYHEM , Matt Fellows, Pookie Dingle, Mike Pinto and Ken White,  were just a couple tissue papers away from qualification with 75.8 average – just .2 below the qualifying level.  The audience gasped when the results were announced.


The contest began on Friday at 6 pm and then 10 quartets moved on to a finals session on Saturday nite. HANDSOME REWARD was the mic tester quartet, ranking 11th, for the finals round with our Michael Gilmore on the bass.


 During the day on Saturday there was a Youth in Harmony quartet adjudication for high school and college quartets – both guys and girls.  Joe Sawyer was emcee for that contest and DA CAPO sang for the youth singers as the rankings were determined.  Also there was a senior quartet contest held in conjunction with the prelims event.  AMERICAN IDOL won that one – they are several gents with medals from the past.


Harmonizer men included several district board members who were having meetings also during the weekend. Bill Colosimo is president, Bob Eckman is treasurer, Keith Jones is secretary.  In addition to these leaders, Carl Kauffmann is events team treasurer.  Chris Buechler and Chuck Harmer were working as contest administrators with the judging panel.


Other Harmonizers present for the weekend were Carlos Barillo, Jack Pitzer, Bob Wachter, Dixie Kennett, Sam McFarland, Andrew Havens, Alan Wile and Terry Jordan.


Until next time – editorjack!

(This message is prepared for your review if you were there, for your information if you had to miss, and as a historical record of the great things going on each week during the 65th year of the Alexandria Harmonizer Chapter. —YeEd.)

Monday, March 18, 2013

Looking Back on the Mar. 12th  Chapter Meeting

(Many thanks to new reporter, Peter Hubbard, for taking notes and doing the write-up for this week’s meeting – YeEd.)


Once again there were many Harmonizers already gathered at Durant by 6:00. Chuck McKeever was busy leading approximately 25 guys in a review of the choreography for the uptune. The front row congregated in the lobby to drill the highly aerobic visual routine. Vince Cazenas and Sandy Stamps set up refreshments in the kitchen while Jack Pitzer was away for the week. Meanwhile, several guys pitched in to help set up the risers, tables, and other equipment by 6:30 for the rehearsal, including the now familiar cameras used by Chuck and TJ Jones for review and individual evaluation. This week also saw several guests, both new and old, join us in the audience and on the risers.

Associate Director Terry Reynolds played “Ob La Di” as the Harmonizers gathered on the risers.  Next, Assistant Director Will Cox did the vocal warm ups for this week. Will then handed the chorus over to Associate Director Tony Colosimo for an important lesson in “Your Voice Matters.” Tony re-emphasized concepts that we all need to be working on each week, including that the Harmonizer Standard for pitch is “two onion skins” above the pitch pipe. 

After Tony’s lesson, Director Joe Cerutti got to work right away with a review of a very important song to the Harmonizers, “A Place on the Risers for You.” This song was written and arranged by former members of the Harmonizers and is the traditional send-off for departing members, as we did last week with Ross Felker. We also reviewed ‘Ob La Di’ and ‘Summertime’ for the upcoming Recording Session next week, Tuesday, March 19, at the First Baptist Church (make note!).

The chorus then broke off into sectionals to work in smaller groups on the uptune. Yours truly was with the baritones where Chuck Hunter asked for volunteers to form a quintet, then had them sing the first minute or so of “Anything Goes.” Both the quintet and the other baris then offered helpful pointers on what they liked and what they would like improved. The baris agreed that the sectional really helped to improve unit sound, pitch, and technicality. No doubt the other sectionals were equally as productive.

Everyone reconvened for three or four run-throughs of the uptune during which evaluators were busy assessing the learning progress of their assigned Harmonizers while individuals recorded themselves. Assistant Director Terry Reynolds has been our fearless leader, shepherding us through the review and qualification process for international. Joe reminded all of us of several important things to remember such as: (1) the chromatic scale in the uptune – “…now only use four letter words” – has to be clearly articulated for the effect to carry out to the judges and audience, (2) learn your cue sheets, and (3) make every syllable exciting and rounded.

At the break, Operations VP Bob Rhome conducted the chapter meeting. President Alan Wile and Calvin Schnure asked the quartets that will be participating in the upcoming M-AD Spring Prelims –DA CAPO in the 8th slot, HANDSOME REWARD going 16th, and MAYHEM at 19th – to come forward so that they could announce that the Harmonizers will be providing financial assistance toward their participation. Chapter Secretary Chris Buechler had six renewals to announce for a total of 83 years barbershop experience.  Among the renewals were Bob Griesemer with 2 years, Nick Leiserson with 3 years, Doug White with 6 years, Kevin McKenzie with 13 years, Calvin Schnure with 18 years, and Chuck Hunter with 41 years. Ben Roberts invited everyone to a free and very funny improv event this Friday, March 15 at 7pm at West Potomac High School put on by his Theater Sports Team. Chuck McKeever reminded everyone that he still has black leather shoes from District – and then Steve White promptly claimed them (finally!).

Other announcements included:

·        see Dick Hall for 50/50 tickets;

·        see Ian Poulin for scrips (only $18k have been sold thus far);

·        see Mick Stamps and Ken Fess for questions about Normandy;

·        see Ike Evans to pick up your District competition photos;

·        Afterglow at La Porta on Duke Street;

·        there is a Board Meeting on Wednesday, March 13 at 7pm at Durant;

·        there is an All Day Coaching Session with Tony DeRosa on Saturday, March 23 at Durant;

·        we will be meeting at First Baptist Church for a Recording Session next week on Tuesday, March 19, upstairs in the choir rehearsal area; and

·        check Groupanizer and sign up now for the May 4 Visual Studio.

We had several guests in attendance this week, some new and some returning. Ken White and Membership VP Mark Kostermeyer introduced seven gentlemen to the group. Among the guests were Duncan Woodbury (applicant), Joseph Krzysko (applicant), Ross Orvik of the Tuscon-based Voices of Harmony, Leonardo August Robert all the way from Brazil (heck of a commute on Tuesdays!), Harold Wineberger (applicant), Samuel Glad who sings bass, and Harrison Priehle. We closed out the chapter meeting by singing to our guests in true Harmonizer fashion.

The second half of the rehearsal saw the front row split off to practice with Carlos Barillo on their choreography while the main chorus worked on their respective parts of the uptune. At the end of the evening, everyone came together for a run through of the whole uptune with choreography. By the end of the night, we had all worked up quite a sweat from the effort – keep up the good work! At 10:00, several guys pitched in to help get all the equipment squared away and the Durant Center back in shape. Another successful rehearsal!  Remember, keep working on your individual part!  Your voice matters!

Don’t forget as well – next week we meet at First Baptist Church!

(Now here are some other items YeEd wanted to get to you for-the-record.)




Many thanks to all the guys who are doing the vocal assessments as we prepare for contest:

Bass – Ike Evans, Jim Lake, Ken White, Steve White

Bari – Jack Cameron, Joel Golden, Chuck Hunter

Lead – Frank Fedarko, Phil Ferguson, Jacob George, Tony Colosimo, Dick Dangel

Tenor – Rick Savage, Dan O'Brien


And in case you missed it, there is the info that the BHS has published about Joe Cerutti’s new book being sold from the Harmony Market Place.  Congrats to Joe.  YeEd got his copy this week from Nashville: VISIONS OF EXCELLENCE – a dialog with the finest directors from the Barbershop Harmony Society This book goes beyond just choral conducting and rehearsal techniques and provides a practical resource for all directors in need of ideas and inspiration. It gathers together thoughts and insights from the minds of 25 of the Society's most accomplished directors. We believe that it can become a valuable resources from which to gain inspiration and motivation.


Visions of Excellence is more than just interviews with our most recent directing heroes, like Jim Clancy of the Vocal Majority, Jim Henry of the Ambassadors of Harmony and Justin Miller of the Westminster Chorus.

This book serves as an inclusive reference to the history and evolution of the choral art of barbershop, featuring unique perspectives from some of the giants who paved the way, like Scott Werner of the Alexandria Harmonizers, Ray Danley of the Scarborough Dukes of Harmony, and the late Jim Miller of the Louisville Thoroughbreds, and many more


Until next time – editorjack!

(This message is prepared for your review if you were there, for your information if you had to miss, and as a historical record of the great things going on each week during the 65th year of the Alexandria Harmonizer Chapter. —YeEd.)