Saturday, October 12, 2013

Looking Back on the 2013 Fall M-AD Contest Weekend and the Oct. 8th Chapter Meeting

On Friday, Oct. 4, Harmonizers and their families and friends headed to Ocean City, MD, for the fall district contest weekend. About 100 guys were set to be on the risers Friday nite and ten of our guys were headed to sing in the quartet contest that evening. It was an early start at 5:30 PM. 

The chorus was eager to earn a score to qualify for the district contest in 2014 without a conflict of qualifying at a division contest in the spring of ’14 just days before we head to Normandy, France. We earned 1604, 89.2%.

Besides the contests, we were there to serve as hosts for the weekend working at registration, inside the auditorium, serving as runners to get contestants to the stage on time, hosting judges, and other details like providing risers and set up crews as needed.

Friday nite the chorus call was at 6:30 pm, so we did get to hear MAYHEM.  We assembled on the risers with a great warm up session with assistant director Will Cox.  Everyone brought their uniform and make-up kits for later.  During the 2-hour or so rehearsal we drilled and ignited our enthusiasm for the package.  Our quartet guys came in as they could from the stage, made quick uniform changes and joined us on the risers. (We all appreciated their energy and willingness to rush back to sing.)  By stage time we were short one guy – Chuck McKeever was flying in from FL and a vacation to Disney.  But he made it just as we were leaving the dressing room. Special forces guys Mike Wallen and Sean Devine were with us for the contest too.

Assistant director Terry Reynolds did another “analysis geek report” at the Oct. 8th chapter meeting to compare our score with other contests and such.  But Sunday afternoon he had already gotten out an email to all members with news (since so many men had returned home Friday nite or early Saturday morning and had not heard the score we earned.)  “Great Job to the 99 Harmonizers who gave a fantastic performance Friday night at district. We received many wonderful compliments for our performance as well as for our efforts hosting the contest. We didn't quite break the 90 mark, but district scores usually drop from international. They are significantly higher than last year's District.”  We sang “All the Things You Are’ and “Anything Goes” with lots of choreography designed by Carlos Barillo.


                      Overall/Music/Pres/ Singing

District 2013  89.2 / 88.7 / 90.2 / 88.7
Toronto          91.7 / 91.4 / 93.0 / 91.2

District 2012  87.4 / 87.3 / 89.8 / 85.0

Director Joe Cerutti worked hard at the rehearsal Friday nite and was glowing with pride after our hit on stage.  He had to leave on Saturday morning for his last official duty as a member of the BHS board and speak in another district.

In the actual chorus contest on Saturday, there were several Harmonizers who sang with other chapters; Singing Capital Chorus in DC was directed by Bill Colosimo with Bob Wells and Lou Bergner on the risers; The Virginians chorus from Richmond was directed by Mike Wallen with Mike Geipel and Sam McFarland on the risers; Fairfax Jubilaires chorus had Sam McFarland and Harold Weinberger on the risers; and the Chorus of the Chesapeake was directed by Rick Taylor with Chris Yates on the risers.

Two first-time emcees for the chorus contest – Tony Colosimo and Eric Wallen from our chapter – were great and likely will get a nod to do it again some time.

Voices of Gotham, Hell’s Kitchen, NY, was the new district chorus champ, with 50 singers, earning 1506 points at 83.7%.  They will represent the M-AD at the International contest this summer.  Second place chorus was our neighbors from Dundalk, MD, with 62 members.  Third place chorus was Long Island Sound Chorus from Five Towns College, NY, with 25 singers.  This is the chorus where our director Joe got his start singing barbershop. Fourth place chorus was the Westchester County, NY, Chordsmen with 48 singers. 

Our quartets did great over the weekend too! The 2013 district champs quartet was MAYHEM . They are the 18th champ quartet with Alexandria Harmonizers singing in it. It was also great to have three quartets with our guys singing in the top 10 on Saturday nite!

1st  - MAYHEM (Ken White, Pookie Dingle, Matt Fellow, Mike Pinto)
5th  - ACME CHORD COMPANY (Dan O'Brien, Chris Susalka, Paul Grimes, Eric Wallen)
9th  - THE MONORAIL FOUR (Kellen Hertz, Phil Ferguson, Bobby Seay VI, Andrew Havens)
13th - YOUITH RECLAMATION PROJECT (Hardman Jones,  Mike Wallen, Roger Tarpy, Vic Owen)


MAYHEM introduced their great new song, “I Am What I Am” arranged by Dan O’Brien on Saturday nite. Their new formal outfits with their orange, red, yellow and green vests with black tails were striking.


ACME CHORD COMPANY had a new bass for this contest – Eric Wallen. 


New kids in the contest, THE MONORAIL FOUR, met on the Monorail in Florida when they were all there singing with CAPITAL FORCE youth chorus.


The second place quartet, GIMME FOUR, will be coaching at our chapter’s youth harmony event in the spring.


Bill Colosimo was emcee for the quartet contest finals.  Sean Devine spoke after the contest about ways to give to the Harmony Foundation.


Saturday nite’s show of champions included the top three choruses and retired district champ quartet, FRANK THE DOG. The M-AD Association of Quartet Champs ended the show with a welcoming song –“This is the Moment” - to the new champs, MAYHEM.  Steve White was the emcee for this part of the show.  Many Harmonizers had the pleasure of welcoming fellow chapter members into the fold of district quartet champs.

The new inductees to the M-AD Hall of Honor included our own Keith Jones. Congrats Keith! Well deserved.  Hall of Honor members are selected for long-time exceptional service to the district.  Quite a few fellow Harmonizers joined Keith on the stage in OC and up-front at chapter meeting on Tuesday when he was presented to his chapter as new inductee. There are 19 other Harmonizers who have been so honored (see page 43 of the chapter directory for the names.)


Tuesday’s rehearsal was a busy one with wrap up from the weekend and serious launch for the holiday show Dec. 6 and 7.  We were welcomed to the risers with “Feliz Navidad.” Associate director Tony Colosimo did the warm up session for us.  Director Joe Cerutti praised and thanked the chorus for their hard work this past weekend including the front row guys who handled the props and held extra rehearsals to revamp their routine.


He recognized our members Pookie Dingle and Ken White who were present as reps of the new quartet champs; and saluted Keith for his honor.


Joe welcomed Ken Potter from the Masters of Harmony who has become a Special Forces member with us. Ken plans to go to France.


Then Joe worked on many of the songs for the holiday show, and had a volunteer octet sing one song.  Tony did another of his great craft sessions – this one expanding on “awesome breath means awesome tone.”


Midpoint in the evening, operations vp Bob Rhome conducted a chapter business meeting. He welcomed the Friends in Harmony who held a meeting this evening.  Bob asked guys to have a new pix taken for the photo board that is posted in the meeting hall – especially for those who have not had a pix taken in many years!  Ike Evans was doing the photos.


President Alan Wile made a number of announcements:


·        Burt Stueve is back in the hospital in isolation with MRSA.

·        Ross Felker has returned from a duty assignment in Germany but his father died recently so will be back soon.

·        Joe Cerutti Sr. reports great response to the performances our guys did at the nursing homes recently. We were well received and the residents are eager for our return – especially those who had to miss our show.

·        There is a SAI show to honor quartets and raise some funds for area Sweet Adeline quartets going to their contest in Hawaii next month. Show is Oct. 12th at Hunt Valley Inn in MD. Tickets are $15, show at 7pm.

·        Members are invited to respond to Alan’s email asking for nominations for the major distinguished service awards given by the Harmonizers to members at the annual banquet in January.

·        Harmonizers who contribute to the Harmony Foundation as members of the Ambassadors of Song (with a minimum donation of $10 per month) or the President’s Council (for a minimum of $1000 per year) have the option to designate their chapter and/or the district to receive up to 30% of their contribution. At the House of Delegates meeting on Sunday in OC, Alan received a check for $3,326.88 from “donor choice” contributions from the first half of the year.  Way to go men!

·        Alan thanked the chapter for their efforts this weekend and particularly thanked Chuck Harner for his leadership.  We earned $1300, which we can certainly use!


Chuck Harner earned a round of applause from the guys on Tuesday nite.  During the chapter meeting period, he thanked all those who stepped up to the plate and helped.  He commented, “This past weekend was another outstanding example of how the Harmonizers, Friends in Harmony, etc. respond when asked to handle great responsibility. All of our great Host Chapter Team need to know that I, as chairman, appreciate all that each one of you did to make our effort so successful. Many of you changed your plans and stayed all weekend to accomplish all of our task assignments – some (Bob Griesemer, Gary Fuller, Drew Fuller, Austin Cotton, and Howard Nestlerode) working until 12:30 am Sunday morning to break down the stage, ready room, and load out the Harmonizer truck for return to Alexandria. And thanks to our judge chauffeurs (Bob Rhome, Bob Wells, and David DesPortes) who left at break of dawn Sunday morning to get judges to their BWI and DCA flights and back home on time. 

Bob Wells invited us to attend the Harvest of Harmony, the annual fall show of the DC chapter on Nov. 9th.  He has tickets.

Bob Rhome asked all members, new and not-so-new, to wear their white name badges each week.  Put one in your car or chorus brief case.

Secretary Chris Buechler welcomed new members Ken Potter and Evan Dosik and presented them Harmo History books. Mike Geipel was presented his membership renewal card for 22 years.

Membership vp Mark Klostermeyer, with help from Ken White, welcomed our large number of guests this week.  Mark reminded members that this is a great time to bring guests to merge into the performing chorus.

After coffee break, we did the wrap up on the chorus contest.  Joe continued his thanks and accolades to the men on the risers, to his musical staff and to the families and friends who helped us.  He was particularly taken by the synergy of the singers on the risers.  We watched the video from OC and Terry did his report.  Joe welcomed comments from the members.

The rest of the evening we worked on more holiday show songs – the ones we have sung before.

At the end of the nite, we bid farewell to Chris Clark who is moving to NJ by singing our traditional “A Place on the Risers for You.”  He will be missed on the front row and with us at shows and contests. 

In other news: John Hohl was in OC and brought greetings to the chorus Friday nite. In the quartet contest, one contestant sang “End of the Road” which John wrote and arranged with lyrics by Scott Werner.  This Thursday, October 10, he will re-enter Holy Cross Hospital in Ft Lauderdale for another cancer surgery. After his last surgery, more cancer was detected in his second adrenal gland... so that is being removed in hopes of being cancer free. He will live thereafter on supplements.

In less serious news, Peter Hubbard’s HuckleberrySin Pie which he entered in the Del Ray pie baking contest on Saturday didn’t get the gold medal.  So – he will try again next year!!

And Randall Eliason flew himself to OC for the weekend.  He was happy to avoid the traffic the rest of us had to combat.

There was a lot of Harmonizer advertising in the convention printed program and on the “jumbotron” in the main hall about our 2014 Youth Harmony event and also about our 2014 show with Ambassadors in Harmony, June 21st, at George Mason University Center for the Arts.  Mike Kelly was instrumental in providing the “jumbotron” service.  Scipio Garling created a number of our ads for the weekend – including a fun shout-out from him and Josh Roots on the screen.

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.)