Friday, September 13, 2013

Looking Back on the September 10th Chapter Meeting

The chorus was a little late arriving this week with the increased traffic since school has started in VA, and the huge construction project around the Durant Center is a mess.   But there was lots going on at Durant with front row revamping their routine for the contest uptune in the lobby, many new members working on stage presence on the stage with Chuck McKeever along with several members who did not get to go with us to Toronto but who are going to the fall contest.

The hall was full of folks – the Friends in Harmony had a board meeting, there were lots of singing guests and many family members and fans were in the “peanut” gallery.

As usual there was a good crew of guys, including some of our new members, who pitched it for the massive amount of setup work needed each week to make our meeting flow effectively. This week the tech crew played another new holiday show song for us to listen to while we assembled on the risers at 6:58 – “FaLaLa” arranged by Tom Gentry.

Dan O’Brien took his first turn ever to lead the warm up session for the chorus before turning the riser singers over to director Joe Cerutti. And Joe didn’t waste a minute to go right to work on the contest songs for our appearance at the fall district contest in Ocean City, MD, Oct. 4th. We used the entire first half of the nite to work on little details to make it better than Toronto.

Operations vp Bob Rhome then conducted a chapter meeting.  For starters he alerted all members that might need uniform parts for contest or shows to see Tom Kern tonite, as Tom will be on travel for the next two weeks.

President Alan Wile thanked our a cappella group, TBD, for their appearance on our behalf at the Alexandria King Street Arts Festival up and down King Street this past weekend, and he thanked Doug White for managing the sound equipment for that event too.  Alan also alerted us about a series of three appearances in the community to entertain senior citizens. Joe Cerutti Sr. is coordinating this effort. Stay tuned for more details.

Bruce Lauther continues his service to members for getting their new third place bronze medals engraved with their name.

Chuck Harner is soliciting helpers to fill the jobs for our chapter serve as the host chapter for that district contest in OC.  He particularly needs guys to help transport judges from DCA airport to the contest.  Call him if you can do that on Friday, Oct. 4th.  (Chuck was great to have stepped up to serve as our coordinator for the hosting duties!)

Wearing his other hat as salesman for Entertainment coupon books, Chuck reminded us all to get a supply right away.

The Friends in Harmony presented a table cover with the Harmo logo embroidered on it for use when anyone is selling merchandise for the chapter at shows or events. Very nice and professional piece.  We thank them for this thoughtful contribution.

Their president Sandy Stamps presented the 2013 White House Christmas ornament for all to see and announced the kick off of our sales effort.  As a reminder, anyone can take as many as they can sell, on consignment, at $20 each.

Shawn Tallant asked for help with the task force working on raising monies for our trip to Normandy France in 2014.  Volunteers should come to the task force meeting at Durant next Tuesday at 6:15 pm. Particular skills needed are database management.

Randall Eliason gave a plug for each man to get or donate two items for the silent auction being developed online in conjunction with our holiday show.   Only a few guys have done two so far. Donations can go to Randall or TJ Jones on Tuesday nites.

Secretary Chris Buechler presented a new member name tag and Harmo history book to Jim Tarantino – our newest member.  He also presented a history book to Barbershop Harmony Foundation staffer, KJ Mcaleesejergins, who was in town this week to visit our chapter

Chris also presented membership renewal cards to Bob Mattes for 15 years and to Bob Ulibarri for 31 years.

Membership vp Mark Klostermeyer with help from Ken White welcomed this week’s “crop” of guests which included Ben Roberts’ dad, Robin; members of the GRAND OLD TIME quartet from PA; some applicants and several first time guests including some members of other chapters living in the DC area now. Mark did remind both the guests, and the members who have potential guests, about the Open Audition session on Wed. Sept 11th at Durant.

Sean Devine welcomed his co-worker KJ to the chapter and invited him to share his story about how the Harmony Foundation investments can change lives of young men through our barbershop harmony.  Many men signed up to become Presidents’ Council members.

During the break the Harmo family grabbed a coffee or goodies, bought things, signed up for things, sang a tag or visited with their fellow Harmonizers who stand all the way across the room on the other end of the risers.  All the men tapped to fill a gig on Saturday Sept. 14th for the DC Odd Fellows met on the risers to check details with producer Greg Tepe.

Back to work on the risers after the break, we sang the new holiday song and reviewed some other songs for that show. Plus we worked on “Miller Medley” for our shows in France.

We closed out the evening singing farewell and “A Place on the Risers for You” to Chuck Hunter who departs for his posting in Istanbul Turkey on Friday.  Joe offered kudos to Chuck for his dedication and contributions toward our musical successes and improvements.  Joe also teased that this was the sixth time we have given Chuck “the chair” to send him off to an assignment around the world as a State Department employee.  Safe travels our Friend!

After putting it all away, a good crowd of guys and some tag singers assembled at LaPortas on Duke Street.

As a reminder, our annual chapter meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, September 24th, 2013, according to chapter secretary Chris Buechler. Please plan to be there - for a quorum and a great rehearsal! The main order of business for the meeting is election of our 2014 chapter board. With the recent large attendance at meetings, this should not be close to a problem, but we will need at least 70 current members in attendance. So please plan to attend on September 24.

The following slate is submitted by our nominating committee (Steve Murane, chair):
President - Terry Reynolds
VP Chapter Development - Jeremy Richardson
VP Operations - Bob Blair
VP Music & Performance - Steve White
VP Shows - Nick Leiserson
VP Marketing & PR - Noah Van Gilder
Secretary - Chris Buechler
Treasurer - Dave Welter
Member At Large 2014-2015 - Ross Felker
Member At Large 2014-2015 - Michael Gilmore
Member At Large 2013-2014* - Joshua Roots
Member At Large 2013-2014* - Greg Tepe
Immediate Past President* - Alan Wile
* - Not up for election

Thanks to Steve and the other members of the chapter nominating committee for performing the challenging task of selecting men who not only possess the skills for the various positions but also agree to serve our chapter.

Secretary Chris Buechler suggests there may be others of you who have an interest in one of the board positions.  If so, please notify him as chapter secretary no later than the September 17 chapter meeting.  Per Society rules, there can be no nominations from the floor on the night of the election.  All nominees must agree to serve if elected.  If there are additional nominations Chris will prepare written ballots. Proxy or absentee voting is not permitted in chapter elections.  These are Society rules and not local ones that can be waived. The 2014 board takes office January 1, 2014.

In other news, word came to us that former member and popular Harmonizer emcee, Jon Abel, has had a minor stroke and is currently in the hospital but is doing well. The family will keep us posted as to his progress.


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.)

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Looking Back on the September 3rd Chapter Meeting

The crowd built up fast this week after a personal vacation day on Monday.  Chuck McKeeverwas working with several new members on learning the contest stage moves.  The rest of the crowd helped with set up and many guys congratulated director Joe Cerutti again for his recent marriage.

Associate director Tony Colosimo led the warm up session after the chorus got settled on the risers – after listening to our new holiday song, “Feliz Navidad.”

When he took over the chorus, Joe thanked the men again for their support at the wedding.  And then he launched the work on our holiday songs, and followed that with work on songs for our trip to Normandy France in June 2014.

Operations vp Bob Rhome conducted the chapter’s business meeting.  First up was president Alan Wile. He reviewed the following comments about our trip to France:

Gentlemen, before we proceed much further, it is important to clarify the origin of our invitation to perform at Normandy Beach in France.  Contrary to other information you may have heard or seen, our invitation to go to Normandy next June came from the Ceremony Director of the WWII “D-Day 70th Anniversary Commemoration” and “American Musical Salute” Committee, a nonprofit organization not tied to any official government organization.  It was accompanied by a letter from the Lord Mayor of Sainte-Mere-Eglise (the first village to be liberated by American troops) which recognizes the parade and salute as official events marking the 70th Anniversary Commemoration of D-Day within the town itself – but not events tied to the official government ceremonies within the cemetery.

For clarity, our invitation did not come from nor is there any supporting documentation to suggest (1) That we are we being sponsored by any department of the U.S. government, or (2) That we will be official representatives of the U.S. government, or (3) That we will be a featured performing chorus at any of the official ceremonies marking the 70th anniversary of D-Day. 

What we can safely and accurately say is “The Alexandria Harmonizers will travel to Normandy, France to participate in ceremonies commemorating the 70th anniversary of D-Day.” Specifically; We are scheduled to appear and perform at the following two official events:  The 70th Anniversary D-Day Parade and the American Musical Salute to the Liberation in Sainte-Mere-Eglise, both of which are marking the 70th Anniversary Commemoration of D-Day, the battle of Normandy, and the Liberation of France.

Alan continued his announcements with congratulations from all of us to Joe for his recent job change as a full-time staffer for the BHS as music education specialist.

Alan also thanked community service vp Clyde Crusenberry for his work on our application for a grant from the Alexandria Commission for the Arts for 2014.  The chapter is most appreciative of this year’s grant money.

Alan announced that TJ Jones was accepting silent auction items tonite for Brad Jones. Brad needs a couple hundred more items for the holiday auction – that’s about two per singer. He stressed that services are also important contributions such as tax preparation, voice lessons, a quartet appearance or a birthday cake.

There was to be a board meeting at break.

Alan reports some results from monies received from the 50/50 program.  About $560 has gone to the winners and a like amount has gone to the District Endowment Fund.

Next up was assistant director Terry Reynolds who confirmed that all those who sang in Toronto need to confirm on the website that they will sing in Ocean City on Friday nite Oct. 4th.  Anyone else who intends to sing in OC should speak to Terry to be sure they know the plan to submit tapes, get a riser placement and to know the rehearsal schedules. (There is an extra rehearsal on Thrus. Sept. 26th.

The tentative show on Sat. Sept 14th has been confirmed for a chorus of about 30 men. Terry and team will confirm with those who have signed up.

Chuck Harner stressed his need for more volunteers to help us serve as host chapter for the Ocean City contest. There is especially a major need for workers on Saturday and additionally on Friday nite while we are preparing to sing.  Thus there is a need for family members and any significant others to join the force.

Wearing his other hat as coordinator of selling Entertainment books, Chuck announced that he has an early season supply of books on sale now. We sell them for $25.  We sell books for NoVA/DC, MD/DC, Baltimore and Richmond.

Secretary Chris Buechler presented new member materials (such as Harmo name tag and chapter history book) to Elliott Roseman, Leo Lestino, Kris Zinkievich and Todd Ryktarsyk.  Welcome all.

Chris presented membership renewal cards to Mike Schwartz for 19 years and to Mick Stamps for 34 years.

Noah Van Gilder gave a presentation about a possible new symbol for use on external media and such to improve the clarity and visibility for the chapter. Those present were invited to give him feedback to his email or at scheduled focus groups to be announced.

Membership vp Mark Klostermeyer with help from Rich Hewitt welcomed guests this week – applicants and members from other chapters who came to check us out.

Mark reminded us all to invite prospective singers to the next open audition to be held at Durant on Sept 11th.

After the coffee and goodies break, we worked the rest of the evening on our contest package.  One of our in-house certified judges, Dan O’Brien, offered ideas to improve the songs.

We closed the nite as usual with KTWWS and an invite to the afterglow at LaPorta’s.

Congratulations in other news about the Harmonizer family: for sure great to hear about Joe Cerutti’s new day job working remotely for the Barbershop Harmony Society as a music education specialist.  He will have responsibilities for the Youth-in-Harmony activities, music educator outreach and chorus director development.  His new duties will require additional travel around the world helping barbershoppers be better musicians. He will live here in Alexandria and direct both the Harmonizers and the Pride of Baltimore SAI chorus.

TJ Donahue has resettled back in Denver, CO, as science teacher at a hi school there.  He also is staff helper for the theater dept. And he is already learning new music for the Denver Mile-Hi Chorus.

Congratulations to Jeremy Richardson who is heading up an environmental conference in WV this week. The attendance is so large, there is a waiting list to attend.

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.)