Monday, July 14, 2014

Looking Back on the 2014 Las Vegas International Convention


The Alexandria Harmonizers did not compete this year because of our trip to Normandy and Germany in June; but Harmonizers were there in large numbers to sing, medal, work, attend meetings, cheer for our friends from M-AD, meet old friends and hang out with each other without the stress of rehearsals and early wake calls!


The MUSICAL ISLAND BOYS from New Zealand won the quartet contest as many expected, tho the finals round was still close.  FOREFRONT from OH/KY/IN area came out of the pack to take second and that pleased a lot of our guys who were cheering for them.  MAIN STREET took third with our coach and Harmonizer friend Tony DeRosa singing lead and dancing with them. Our own Sean Devine was in the seventh place quartet, THROWBACK with a young new bass singer, Michael Skutt, who was also in the championship collegiate quartet, THE ACADEMY.


Two other quartets with Harmonizers in the contest were LAST MEN STANDING with TJ Barringer, Drew Feyrer, Ed Bell and Mike Kelly, ranked 29th; and MAYHEM with Matt Fellows, Pookie Dingle, Mike Pinto and Ken White, ranked 33rd.  MAYHEM sang second in the contest and sang “I Am What I Am” as their ballad.  LAST MEN STANDING sang last in the first round of 53 quartets – a play on their quartet name it seemed.


Unfortunately, DA CAPO had to withdraw for health reasons, but they got a mention by the crazy guys in LUNCH BREAK, who were as amazed as anyone that they made the finals round.  So when they started their finals package, they thanked DA CAPO and a couple other quartets for taking a year off!!


Other M-AD quartets included ROUND MIDNIGHT, 12th; UP ALL NIGHT, 31st; and GIMME FOUR, 40th.


The chorus contest this year was a barn burner with Dallas Vocal Majority coming out on top over Masters of Harmony from CA. This was the first time those two powerhouse choruses had met head-to-head.  Greg Clancy, a former Harmonizer coach, directed the VM and on the Saturday nite show, he thanked his dad and let him direct one song as tribute to his many years at the helm.


The Great Northern Union from Hilltop, MN took the third place chorus medal with a holiday winter uptune song featuring an ice skater on a “pond” on stage.  This year we had ice skating, dancing in water (Singing in the Rain) on the stage, fire explosions from inside the chorus, a circus tent, and a pirate ship.


The pirate ship was created by the Denver chorus who took fourth.  They built the whole thing in the same time it took the men to get on stage.  Our own TJ Donahue, who is back in CO now (tho in Alexandria for the summer working at the National Science Foundation) designed the set and props and made it all work so smoothly.  The chorus made some fun of the other competitors and so invited two of our guys to do walk-on parts – Terry Reynolds “walked the plank” as Justin Miller from the Masters and Ken White “walked the plank” as Aaron Dale from KVU.  The whole fun package was choreographed by Carlos Barillo. Congrats to our guys.


Our M-AD chorus rep, Voices of Gotham from Hell’s Kitchen NY, were 15th. They too sang “I Am What I Am” in a medley with “My Way.”  It was great to see all of our friends from their chorus.  Some Alexandria guys attended the very well done VoG session during the convention about marketing and brand building for their chorus.


The Toronto Northern Lights chorus did a terrific swan song as outgoing chorus champs while the judges’ scores were tallied for the chorus contest.  They did a snippet from each of their famous contest sets and it was terrific.  And then they concluded with a love song to all of us in the audience.  It was an emotional high for all barbershoppers!!! 


And no surprise, there were 15 former or current Harmonizers who appeared on stage with various choruses.


Before the convention started, Joe Cerutti was in Vegas helping his fellow staff members prepare for the convention and especially the collegiate quartet contest. He also made some stage introductions and directed the youth chorus on the Saturday nite show.  Bill Colosimo headed up the meeting of district presidents.


Carlos Barillo was producer for the Saturday nite Spectacular which featured some great Vegas style entertainment, some great video interviews and a super presentation by CEO of the Barbershop Harmony Society, Marty Monson.


At the Society board meeting, Chris Buechler helped as a parliamentarian.  Gary Plaag is wrapping up his term as a board member and Alan Lamson is outgoing past president.  John Santora and Ken Fess were among the four members nominated to be new board members and John was elected.


Chris was also busy as contest administrator of the contests all week along with Chuck Harner as assistant administrator. Chris serves as chairman for that judging category.


Keith Jones and Dixie Kennett helped keep notes on members, former members and coaches in Vegas.  If you read down the list and the notes below, you get a terrific capsule look at how the Harmonizers were present and involved at the 2014 International convention.


Jorge Acevedo – enjoyed week with wife Cathy

Carlos Barillo – producer of Saturday nite Spectacular

Lou Bergner – sang with Toronto

Chris Buechler –judging panel, category specialist, contest administrator, attended judging committees

Bob Caldwell – enjoyed the week

Joe Cerutti – BHS staff, managed collegiate quartet contest, directed Next Generation chorus

Dwain Chambers – president of Dixie District

Bill Colosimo – moderator of district presidents council, chair of BHS Music & Perf  Committee

Bill Conway – sang with Palmetto SC chorus

Dan Cook – enjoyed week with wife Erin

Steve Delehanty – arranger for us

Larry Deters – former Harmo music team, former Dixie District president

Sean Devine – sang with Masters of Harmony and THROWBACK

Pookie Dingle – sang with MAYHEM

Ron Dionne – enjoyed the week

TJ Donahue – sang with Denver Sound of the Rockies

Dave Ellis – enjoyed week with wife Cindy Hansen Ellis, our coach

Ike EvansYeEd guesses he was the tuba player for Dixieland Band event

Ken Fess – candidate for BHS board

Thom Faircloth – enjoyed the week

Darryl Flinn – former BHS ex director and Society president, coined Breathless Moments title

John Flynn – sang with THX chorus from Florida

Jim Gammon – sang with Hawaii chorus in World Harmony Jamboree and with THX, FL chorus

Tom Gannon – enjoyed the week (former Harmo House owner)

Jim Haggerty – sang with Masters of Harmony

Chuck Harner – judging panel, member of Harmony Foundation Inc. board of trustees

Andrew Havens – enjoyed the week

Bob Hirsh – enjoyed the week

John Hohl – enjoyed the week and hearing Senior Champs quartet sing his arrangement of “It All Depends on You”

Chuck Hunter Sr.Chuck’s dad and mom enjoyed the week

Ray Johnson – sang with Masters of Harmony

Ross Johnson – enjoyed the week with wife Susan

Keith Jones – reporter for this copy

Kevin Kaiser – enjoyed the week

Mike Kelly – sang with LAST MAN STANDING, and did video work for the Harmony Foundation such as the Sing With The Champs activity

Ryan Kileen – sang with Nashville chorus, with TNS quartet, works on Harmony Foundation staff

Craig Kujawa – enjoyed the week

Alan Lamson – enjoyed the week as retired BHS president with wife Janet

Richard Lewellen – judging panel

Mike Louque – collegiate contest judging panel

Denny Malone – sang with Sound of the Rockies

Bob Mattes – enjoyed the week with wife Sandy

Dick Newton – enjoyed the week with wife Nancy

Mike Pinto – sang with MAYHEM

Jack Pitzer – enjoyed the week and YeEd

Gary Plaag – BHS board member

Bill Power – sang with Masters of Harmony

Ken Potter – sang with Masters of Harmony

John Rettenmeyer – member of Central States District Board

Terry Reynolds – attended BHS meetings and appeared with Sound of the Rockies

Jeremy Richardson – enjoyed the week

Mark Rodda –sang with ZERO HOUR from Carolinas District.  His dad Brian was bari in the NOVA CHORDS.  Mark’s mom, Ceil Rodda, was at her first convention in 30 years.  She was the first president of the Harmonettes – the chapter auxiliary in 1966

Ron Rogers – sang with Vocal Majority

Ken Rub – enjoyed the week

John Santora – elected to BHS board

Larry Shelton – enjoyed the week

Greg Tepe – enjoyed the week

Steve Tramack – arranger and coach for us

Terry Traylor – sang with Spirit of Phoenix chorus

Rick Wagner – enjoyed the week with wife Peggy

Eric Wallen – enjoyed the week

Mike Wallen – enjoyed the week

Ken White – sang with MAYHEM and appeared with Sound of the Rockies

Paul Wietlisbach  - sang with Nashville

Alan Wile – Harmony Foundation committees

David Wright – arranger and coach for us with wife Sandy and our many Ambassador of Harmony friends

Kirk Young – arranger and coach for us and collegiate quartet contest judge


As usual, it was a great week for meeting old friends and making new ones, for singing some great songs and for the proud moment of singing our National Anthem and the Canadian Anthem! Great to see the new generation of singers on stage and the many old timers still hanging in there on stage and at the convention. The store was popular and after a while, we all got so we could wander right on past the casino.  The webcast was fun and we know some Harmonizers watched here in VA.  YeEd heard that Bob Wachter watched the whole contest and shows!


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


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