Thursday, June 26, 2014

Looking Back on the  June 24th Chapter Meeting

First off – some additional info for the Crescendo show report: that show was also the first show for Aaron Simoneau.  Jim Mathias, a former Harmonizer, was singing with the Ambassadors. And Steve Delehanty, the arranger for “Jersey Boys” was in the center seat of the third row!


There was a wave of excitement in the hall when the start button went down for this week’s rehearsal and meeting.  Everyone was sharing stories about the show weekend.


To get us in the mood and up on the risers, the AV team played our new contest ballad – “Someone Like You” arranged by Steve Tramack.  Associate director Tony Colosimo did the warm ups.


When director Joe Cerutti came forward to start the music work session, he made general comments about the show weekend.  And he invited any member to offer stories and share reactions. We also included comments for the Normandy trip too, since we had not had time to do that since we got home.  Joe’s comment about the trip was great – “It was the worst trip I ever took and it was the most awesome trip I ever took.”   It described the challenges of travel in contrast to the wonderful musical and performance experiences. There were many fun stories about both of these milestone Harmonizer events.


Then to work.  Joe reminded us that this is the launch of things for 2015 when we will work toward another chorus contest appearance at the International in Pittsburgh.  Also we have the Harmony on the Harbor show this fall after several summer outdoor concerts in Alexandria.


Here are some details about the Harmonizer summer schedule:


July 1st -- we won't meet at Durant but those in town will sing at Inova Alexandria Hospital on Seminary Rd. BTW it is not walkable from a Metro, so plan ahead for a ride. We meet in the hospital lobby at 7 pm. Wear some kinda Harmo logo shirt.  Park in the free lot, as we can’t get reimbursed for being in the pay lot. We sing a few songs around the hospital - come for the fun of it, even if you are still working on some songs. Note that many guys will still be in Vegas for the 2014 International convention, cheering for Harmo quartets and watching this year's hot chorus contest. (YeEd has been hearing about several guys hosting barbershop friends over to watch the convention via the Web.)


July 17th -- we sing at John Carlyle Square Park by the Patent Office (actually walkable from the King St. Metro). Show is outside at 7:30, chorus call is at 6:30. Greg Tepe, the show producer,  will be sending out details, uniform plan and the song list. This park is at 300 John Carlyle St., Alex.


August 15th -- we do another outdoor gig. Both are our way to show support for the City of Alex and thank them for their support of our chapter including providing a meeting place. We also expect to attract other singers, so bring prospective guests. This one is at Market Square in Old Town on King St. by the Fountain. Show is also at 7:30 and call is 6:30. Watch for details from Greg. There is parking underneath the fountain and usually when you arrive you can bring your parking receipt for validation and thus free. Also there is a free shuttle that runs from King St. Metro to Market Sq -- check out its schedule and times.


Also many folks plan ahead and go out for some chow or drinks afterward with others from the chorus. Usually not an official afterglow - but who knows.


Both shows usually allow for times for guys to get off risers for songs they don't know. Bring family and friends to both -- bring folding chairs.


While you are marking your calendar, an important event and gig is the annual Dog Days of Summer show we sing on in Manassas with all the other chapters in Northern Virginia. It will be Tues Aug 26th, from 7-10, at Sacred Heart Catholic Church hall, 12975 Purcell Rd., Manassas 20112, Plan a carpool. Family and friends are welcome. We sing last, so you can make it after work, even if you can’t get there by 7. . We get great support from our fellow barbershop singers each year. It is a fun nite. There are snacks and cold drinks too. Again watch for details as to songs and uniform.


Finally, the Fall District Contest -- Oct 24-25, 2014. In Wildwood NJ. Definitely start making plans to go to this one and help us earn the right to go on to the International contest in Pittsburgh July 2015.


Contest is at Wildwood Convention Center. The weekend includes a quartet contest with the preliminary round starting at 6 pm on Fri, Oct. 24th! So take off work for part or all of Friday. The chorus contest starts at 9 am on Sat Oct. 25th for your friends to go see and stuff, while we dress and prepare. Depends on the pre-contest draw for order of appearance, but assume you will need to be in Wildwood very early that morning. If we succeed in our goal, we will also need to stay that nite and sing on the jamboree. Sooo -- plan to stay over nite.


Saturday nite after dinner, the finals round of the quartet contest starts at 7pm followed by the Jamboree.


Start asking around about who is going and where they are staying. The district website has housing info - we are on our own for it. So get a group or car pool and plan ahead. Go to for details.


This Tuesday we spent the whole evening on the new ballad which has been well received and guys have been working on it at home.  We listened to it once with it on the screen in front of us (although most guys had a copy in hand with a pencil to make notes). Then we sang it before going to sectionals to work on the song. After that, we sang it with interpretation plans from Joe.


Before our mid-point, we said farewell to Len Dornberger and sang “A Place on the Risers for You” as is our tradition.  Bill Sowers, who we don’t get to see too often, came to pay tribute to Len who sang with him in the Dover, DE, Diamond Statesmen before being a Harmonizer along with Bob Eckman.


Operations vp Bob Blair conducted the chapter meeting. Chris Buechler showed an attaché case with the Harmo logo, and your name if you wish, that the chapter is taking orders for.  See Howard Nestlerode.  Good way to bring your music and name badge every week!


Quartet promotion chairman Calvin Schnure and treasurer Dave Welter presented support checks and best wishes to the quartets that will be in the contest next week in Vegas with at least one Harmonizer in the quartet: MAYHEM (Pookie Dingle, Mike Pinto, Ken White), LAST MEN STANDING (Mike Kelly), and THROWBACK (Sean Devine).  Unfortunately DA CAPO and BSQ have withdrawn from the contest, even tho they had qualified.


Dixie Kennett has prepared a handbook of useful info regarding the Vegas convention.  It is on our Groupanizer page in the documents section. Thanks Dixie.


President Terry Reynolds announced that the chapter received a donation from the Mt. Vernon Health Center following their attending our WWII Tribute show.


He also alerted us that starting July 1st, our chapter meetings will start at 6:30 pm and end at 9:15pm. This is brought on by cutbacks in city budgets for staffing.  Stay tuned.  Parking challenges are also pretty tough with construction on the school and Durant building.  Be prepared.


Ken Fess then spoke about the Normandy Trip and recapped the event.  He started giving back many lost items to the guys.  Then he expressed appreciation to the many people it took to make the trip a success – including the huge help and contributions from his wife Kim.

Our goals were:

· To honor those heroes who fought for our freedom on the beaches of Normandy

· To perform as often as possible and for as many different audiences as possible

· To put 100 or more singers on the risers, including our special forces

· To share our music with our fellow brothers in Germany

· To get a “taste” of Europe, and

· To ensure everyone on the trip travelled safely

Our chapter achieved all those goals, and captured memories that will not be forgotten in our lifetime.

Ken shared, “I am fortunate to have been involved with the organization of many great events for the Harmonizers, but none have given me greater satisfaction than this trip; in no small part because of the tremendous support and encouragement that I got from many of our chapter members.  Thanks to all of you from the bottom of my heart for the opportunity to help make this trip a once-in-a-lifetime experience for so many of you and yet another Harmonizer Breathless Moment.

Ken presented a special framed thank you gift to Mick Stamps, Greg Tepe and Peter Hubbard for their huge amount of work on the main team. Ken also presented a DDay commemorative 2-Euro coin to Joe for his help in making the trip a musical success too.


When Ken ended his remarks, the chapter members rose in a loud and grateful Standing O to express their appreciation to Ken for his leadership and 582 days of work on the project with over 17,000 emails!!


Chapter secretary Chris Buechler presented membership renewal cards to Elliot Roseman for 2 years; Stan Quick for 3 years;  Edris Qarghah for 6 years; Jim Lake for 21 years; Bob Wells for 23 years; and Len Dornberger for 30 years along with his lapel pin.


Nick Leiserson spoke to wrap up the show-of-shows Crescendo weekend with the great Ambassadors of Harmony.  He too gave back a bunch of lost items to the owners.  And thanked all those who worked so hard to make it happen.


He also urged guys to sign up on Groupanizer for summer shows and events.


And he noted that Holiday Show tickets will be going on sale soon.  Joe added that since half of the tickets were sold last December, be sure you get tickets for your family!


With chords from Normandy and Crescendo still ringing in the air, now is the time to think ahead for any uniform requirements. Any problems you might have had over the past couple of weeks should be fresh in your mind. Are you missing any uniform pieces? Has your suit coat or tailcoat shrunk for some reason?  Do you need a makeup kit…or replacement components? Let Tom Kern know by email or catch me on Tuesday evening at Durant. Just for your info…all of our uniform stuff has been moved out of Durant to an off-site storage location…makes the response timeline slightly longer.


Membership vp Jeremy Richardson with help from Rich Hewitt introduced our guests.  Then Joe called for “Keep the Whole World Singing” directed by Len Dornberger and an early dismissal.  A huge crowd made it to LaPortas for the weekly afterglow.  Lots of tag singing there too.


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 66th year of the Alexandria Harmonizer Chapter. —YeEd.)


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