Friday, November 15, 2013

Looking Back on the November 12th Chapter Meeting

(First off – YeEd appreciates the help from Dave Branstetter who was reporter for this column for a couple weeks, and help from Todd Rystarsyk for making coffee and such while YeEd was at National FFA Convention in Louisville and home on the farm in IL.)

On Monday, Nov. 11th, about 30 Harmonizers sang for the Oakton Elementary School’s annual Veteran’s Day all-school program.  Assistant director Terry Reynolds was up front.  Greg Tepe organized the event with the school staff.  Bob Blair and a crew of guys brought three risers for us. Many of our men were in uniforms – as retired members of various branches of the military or as active duty guys.  (Some retirees admitted being a little worried about breathing in their former uniforms.)

It was great to see the 850 enthusiastic students in the school gym watching and listening to us sing  and cheering for the military guests who came to spend some time with each class in the school. Gotta admit it was touching to see some kids in the school talk to their parents via Skype in Afghanistan.  We sang a couple songs for the students and they sang along with us on one.

After the singout, many of us went to the nearby Applebee’s for a Honoring Our Vets luncheon.

Congratulations to Martin Banks who was honored at Walt Disney World on Nov. 11th as “Honorary Veteran of the Day” in the Magic Kingdom and participated in the Flag Retreat at 5 pm in Town Square, Main Street USA.  Tho he was randomly chosen, Martin confesses it might have helped that his cap for the day had a large Navy emblem with “retired” lettering on it.  Martin and Nancy especially appreciated the honor as he was a WDW original cast member from 1971-78; retired after a naval service career, and had a great visit with the barbershop quartet in the Park, DAPPER DANS.

 Last Thursday, Terry Reynolds hosted a come-if-you-wish rehearsal for holiday songs for the many new members since last year’s holiday show.  The group met at Durant.  Great idea and thanks Terry.

Our FRIENDS IN HARMONY auxiliary group met Tuesday nite while the chorus rehearsed. They are busy preparing for their many fund raising activities as part of the holiday show weekend.

The “Monks” also practiced before the chapter meeting at Durant on Tuesday.

But at 7 on the 12th, associate director Tony Colosimo held the warm up session for this week.  He reported that director Joe Cerutti had an emergency appendectomy operation in Maui, HI.  Joe was on a cruise with his new bride but left the ship for the operation.  Reports are he is doing great and was due to rejoin the cruise on Wednesday or so.  Good luck Joe!

Tony shared some pre-riser time music in honor of a great choral director who died today.  He also announced his plan to continue solo auditions tonite for the show. And we worked hard on songs for the show including a good review of the stage presence added recently for one of our new songs. Since Carlos Barillo was in Germany coaching a chorus there, Scipio Garling and Chuck McKeever helped us drill the moves and routines.  We also were introduced to some of the ”shtick” being performed by actors during the show.  And we met one of the actresses for the show – Jess Quick, daughter of Stan.  Welcome to the show cast.

Mid evening, Bob Blair, filling in for operations vp Bob Rhome, conducted the chapter meeting.  First up for announcements was Roger Day, long-time chairman of the holiday show decorating team.  He made his annual request for every man to bring two large boxes (like copy paper comes in) wrapped with shinny or colorful papers – bow or no bow.  Bring them to the dress rehearsal at First Baptist on Thursday, Dec. 5th.  The decorating crew for Friday Dec. 6th should bring their uniforms, as they might not have time to go home to change.

Every member is also asked to bring four dozen decorated holiday cookies for the show dessert offering.  They should be brought Thursday nite or Friday nite. Give them to Jack Pitzer.

Next was a reminder to speak with Ken Fess if you are planning to do extra travel in France in 2014 around the chorus trip.

Ben Roberts extended an invite to his high school’s production of “Avenue Q School Edition” which he is appearing in at West Potomac HS, Nov. 14 and 16 at 7 pm and Nov. 18 at 2 pm.  Go applaud Ben and his pals on stage!  It is a fun show.

President Alan Wile had a long list of announcements: 1. He reported on the Sweet Adeline’s convention in Hawaii. 2. He reported on his email from Joe about the operation and he reported that chapter member Darryl Flinn has a 6-hour spinal surgery recently and is facing an extended period of bed rest; and he reported that Bruce Roehm is recovering from a tonsillectomy in Montana. Tough operation Bruce – take care.

Alan reported on the breaking news of the death of 98-year-old Dee Paris, a revered member of the DC Chapter, past president of our District, and an instrumental barbershopper in the founding and growth of countless chapters throughout our Society. He was the last founding member of DELASUSQUEHUDMAC.  All barbershoppers are invited to join the DC Chapter to sing at the viewing Monday evening, Nov. 18, at the Collins Funeral Home, 500 University Blvd. West, Silver Spring, according to Bill Colosimo. 

Alan thanked all the men who helped make the Veteran’s Day singout so successful.  He also mentioned that our friends in the Mount Vernon Chapter did a Veteran’s Day gig at the Mount Vernon Estate on Monday too.

Over the past weekend, the DC Chapter annual Harvest of Harmony was held and their guest quartet was GIMMIE FOUR.  Those young men will be clinicians for our Youth Harmony event in the spring.  Well – seems the tenor got sick and couldn’t sing, so Tony Colosimo learned their package and helped them do the show.  Way to go, Tony. 

Assistant director Terry Reynolds announced that there is a possible repeat of the White House holiday gig of last year. So stay tuned for emails and details, if it materializes. Our sales guy, Bruce Lauther, is working on it for us.  It will be for about 30 people this time.

Secretary Chris Buechler presented a new member name tag to Reed Livergood, and a 25-year membership pin to Roger Day.

Membership vp Mark Klostermeyer with help from Rich Hewitt introduced our guests.

Since Mark helps organize it, he announced a new take on a couple popular holiday traditions of the chapter – we will combine the hospital sing and the Carol Crawl in Old Town on Tuesday, Dec. 10.  Plan to attend – great fun. And we end the eve in Old Town at a local watering spot.  Last year there was a lot of tag singing and good eats as well.

Bob Blair suggested that everyone keep an eye out for emails with details of the many many holiday singing events in December – such as the Matinee and Evening show on Sat. Dec 14th at the Knights of Columbus hall on Rte. 1 just above Ft. Belvoir.

After coffee and refreshments, we were back on the risers for more holiday music review.

(Speaking of refreshments, some guys have brought in goodies in recent weeks to share – or to get rid of left over candy or cookies –  thanks all. They are are greatly appreciated.  Any more gifts gladly accepted since the petty cash container is getting a little low.

In other news outside the chapter meeting, secretary Chris Buechler sent word that he had recently received renewal membership cards for the following Harmonizers who we don’t see too often on Tuesday nites:


Rick Taylor  45 years! Along with a 45-year lapel pin.

Ed Allen  39 years

Karl Glasbrenner 29 years

Roger Day  25 years

Ken Jodoin  18 years

Dave Reyno  14 years

Wayne Adams 10 years


Former member Mark Rodda was in the district champ quartet that won in Myrtle Beach in the Carolinas District this fall – ZERO HOUR.  His Dad, Brian, was a bari in the NOVA CHORDS years ago.

There were several guys in Hawaii for the Sweet Adeline International contest.  Our director Joe Cerutti and his chorus – Pride of Baltimore – placed 16th with 83 on stage in the chorus competition. Harbor City Music Company was 17th. Vienna-Falls was 21st.

Recently one of our members, Gary Plaag represented the BHS at the SoJam Festival in Raleigh, North Carolina.  Gary is a Presentation judge and Society board member.  He reports that he will join Matt Woodward, Matt Gorman, and Dr. Bill Adams to present an hour-long session that includes vocal production, chord theory/structure, some presentation things.

For those with access to Sirius radio, Channel 4 and Channel 17 are playing holiday music as of Tuesday noon.  And YeEd heard the Ambassadors of Harmony today on Sirius singing “Carol of the Bells.”

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.)