Thursday, January 30, 2014

Looking Back on the 2013 Chapter Awards Dinner and Installation of 2014 Board

The 40th annual Alexandria, Virginia, BHS Chapter Presidents’ 2013 Awards Banquet and the 2014 board installation were held Sat. nite Jan. 25th, 2014, at the Durant Rec Center.

Immediate Past President Alan Wile, who had served as president in 2013, was host for the evening.  Steve Murane and Robyn McQueen organized and managed the potluck banquet.  There were 12 tables of 10 Harmonizers and guests present.  Tables were decorated with black and/or silver settings with balloon clusters for each table on mirror centers.  It was great to see so many of the new members at this year’s banquet.

The chapter provided the main entrĂ©e for the meal ( BBQ chicken or vegetarian lasagna) and all members and FRIENDS IN HARMONY brought dishes to share.  There was a huge spread of great foods and desserts.  Plus there was coffee and tea and a full bar the whole evening.

Social hour and visiting went from 6-7 pm, then the meal and then the program.

After the meal, IPP Alan thanked his 2013 officers and board members for their service and introduced each one.  Last year’s music vp Brad Jones and Alan presented a thank you gift to each of the chorus directors and our choreographer.

As is our tradition, the Presidents’ award event was co-hosted by all the past presidents of the chapter including those present: Alan, Steve Murane, Brad Jones, Mick Stamps, Alan Wile, Rick Wagner, Ken Fess, Bob Wells, Chris Buechler, Chuck Harner, Bede Bender represented by his wife Mary Kay, and Jack Pitzer.

Alan thanked those who came early to set up, his grandsons who came to help; Bob Rhome for getting licenses for the bar and for arranging for the hall; Bob Blair for the coat racks; Todd Ryktarsyk and Brian Ammerman for sound set up; Martin Banks and Jack Pitzer for helping compile the chapter’s milestones for 2013, Phil Ashford for taking photos, and Martin Banks and Bob Rhome for the history display.  

Another tradition at this event is to recognize the “riser rats” who show up each Tuesday nite and get the meeting room ready for us.  Alan gave them each a bundle of candy and goodies: Bob Blair, David Branstetter, Ross Felker, Gerry Fuller, Carl Kauffmann, Howard Nestlerode, Todd Ryktarsyk, Dean Sherick.

Sandy Stamps, current president of the FRIENDS IN HARMONY, recognized the past presidents of our auxiliary group, and introduced the FIH 2014 officers and committee chairs. Then our chapter presented Sandy a special trophy “in recognition of her valued service over five years as president of the FRIENDS IN HARMONY. “


Alan had everyone who had served at the district or society level to stand and be recognized before he called on Mid Atlantic District secretary, Keith Jones, to conduct the installation

of our 2014 officers and board. Keith charged both the incoming board and the chapter members “to work together to continue the grand traditions of this chapter and to keep it in the forefront of the BHS.”


The board for 2014 is


President – Terry Reynolds

VP - Chapter Development (Membership) – Jeremy Richardson

VP - Music & Performance – Steve White

VP - Operations – Bob Blair
VP - Shows – Nick Leiserson
VP - Marketing & PR – Noah Van Gilder

Secretary – Chris Buechler
Treasurer – Dave Welter
Member at Large – Ross Felker, Mike Gilmore, and Josh Roots, Greg Tepe who continue from last year

Immediate Past President – Alan Wile


Here are this year’s recipients of the chapter memorial awards given each year with a description of the award:

New Note of the Year Award

 (Nominated by the President, VP-Membership/Chapter Development, and VP-Operations; selected by the Board of Directors).  Given to a Harmonizer who has contributed outstanding service to the Chapter in his first year of membership.  All new members for the previous 18 months prior to October 31 of the current year will be considered.  Attendance, attitude, and accomplishments of duties, both volunteer and assigned, shall be considered.


2013 recipient – Carlos Barillo -- More than simply a participant, he is a teacher, a coach, and a very good singer who also performs with the front row. Over the year he brought to the chapter not only his weekly guidance and performance support but the incredible visual package he developed for our contest set..


Spirit of Harmony Award

 (Selected by the Board of Directors).  Presented to the Harmonizer who during the past year best exemplified the fundamental Society membership qualities of congeniality and good character and worked hardest to encourage participation in vocal harmony by Chapter visitors and members.  The awardee must reflect the spirit and ideals of O.C. Cash (Society founder) by his enthusiasm for good fellowship and good harmony and by his unselfish dedication to and obvious joy in barbershopping.

2013 recipient – Steve White -- Congenial, enthusiastic, and strong believer in and supporter of the barbershop quartet and dedicated to barbershop harmony. Whether singing, serving as a district or chapter administrator, front row singer, music team member, etc., he reaches out to others to sing in a quartet or tag with guests or fellow chapter members.


Ibbianne and Wilbur Sparks Award

 (Selected by the Board of Directors).  Given to recognize the important contribution of Harmonizer family teams to the success and well-being of the Chapter.  The award will be made only to a truly outstanding team which has contributed greatly both in volume and quality of services over a period of time.  The team can be a Harmonizer and any family member or significant other.

2013 recipient – Robyn McQueen and Steve MuraneShe is a member of FIH, helped plan, organize and run successful events; doesn’t shy away from mundane tasks; worked each holiday show, helped with ticket sales, the silent auctions, sales of various items, helped at division and district conventions, and helped with costumes.  He has taken a leading role in several of the areas mentioned above. In addition, he is a quartetter, a seller of White House Ornaments, a staunch member of the chapter leadership team, and – with his partner – brought together all the elements that have made thwe Presidents’ Award Banquet a resounding success for the last few years.


Harmonizer Honor Award

 (Selected by the Board of Directors).  Given to a Harmonizer for service which is above and beyond the usual service expected of members during the past year.  It is not intended as a reward for discharging a single specific duty, but for continuous service in several activities.


2013 recipient – Nick Leiserson -- A mover in the chapter from the start: show producer, TBD member, member of the Chapter leadership team, board budget “tweaker,” show planner, and board recording secretary.



Oz Newgard Memorial Award

 (Nominated by the President, VP-Music & Performance, and Musical Director; Selected by  the Board of Directors).  Presented in memory of Oz Newgard (Musical Director 1962-70).  It is given to the Harmonizer who has made a significant contribution to the musical program of the Chapter during the past year.  The awardee's contribution need not be highly visible or of a technical musical character, but it must be related directly to the musical program. It should show the intent to make the musical program superior and enjoyable for all members.  The awardee should be a dedicated Harmonizer who has endeavored to improve the Chapter image in the Society and in the Alexandria community through musical excellence.  Any Harmonizer who has been a chapter member for more than one year shall be eligible for the award.


2013 recipient – Greg Tepe -- Ever present when shows are on the horizon. Whether it’s a trip to some local, regional, or far off destination, he is there and in charge. Helps arrange performances and ensures the chorus delivers every agreed performance element. Coordinates closely with the musical leadership, is meticulous in site visits, song selection, and script preparation and successfully ensures the chorus is showcased in the best possible way. In short, he manages an incredible number of performing opportunities each year as our show producer,



Harmonizer Memorial Award

 (Selected by the Board of Directors).  Presented in memory of those men who died while members of the Chapter.  It is the highest recognition which the Chapter can bestow on a member.  It is given to the Harmonizer who, during his entire period of chapter membership, has devoted himself most unselfishly in rendering outstanding service to the Chapter.  The award is made only to a truly outstanding member who has regularly attended Chapter activities and who has contributed greatly both in volume and quality of services over a long period of time.


2013 – Martin Banks -- Has taken on a host of responsibilities of great service to the chapter, the community, the district, and the society. Characteristically sought opportunities, readily accepted and executed every assignment and met every challenge in a professional, thoughtful, and thorough way. Secured significant financial support for the chapter and represented the Harmonizers as a member and officer of the Alexandria Arts Forum. Named the Society’s Public Relations Officer of the Year by the Society’s “Public Relations Officers and Bulletin Editors” subsidiary, in which he subsequently served as an officer. Responded in typical fashion when asked to become the chapter historian early last year.


To wrap up the recognitions, Steve Murane presented the official past president’s lapel pin to Alan.  Alan responded; “ While every member contributed in making chapter life memorable for me, the following rendered significant support and were particularly helpful to me and to the chapter over the past year (each was presented a small memento): Chris Buechler, Joe Cerutti, Ken Fess, Scipio Garling, Chuck Harner, Al Herman, Brad Jones, Carl Kauffmann, Bruce Lauther, Nick Leiserson, Steve Murane, Terry Reynolds, Bob Rhome, Josh Roots, Sandy Stamps, Greg Tepe, Noah Van Gilder, Dave Welter.”


As a conclusion to the evening, our own MAYHEM (Matt Fellows, Pookie Dingle, Mike Pinto and Ken White) sang for us.  Great to have the current district champs in our chapter and to have them entertain for us.   


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 with the Alexandria Harmonizer Chapter. —YeEd.)

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Looking Back on the the Harmonizer Year 2013 In Review

We began 2013 with our traditional Alexandria Inova Hospital Holiday Sing followed by the Heat Glow at Jack and Pat Pitzer’s home.  Then later in the month, we acknowledged the great work of our fellow Harmonizers at the annual Presidents’ Awards Banquet at Durant. Alan Wile was installed as president – his fourth year to serve – along with his officer team.

Another special January event was the dinner concert with reigning BHS quartet gold medalists RINGMASTERS from Sweden.  Ken Rub organized the grand evening at the Masonic Temple.

CAPTAL FORCE, directed by Tony Colosimo, had a strong showing at the International Midwinter youth chorus festival.

The wonderful all-day coaching session with Tony DeRosa in March was a lot of work to kick-off our contest package work but we laughed and laughed with Tony teasing Joe the whole time. The M-AD International prelims contest was on a snowy March weekend in Parsippany, NJ.  Our quartet DA CAPO, (Ryan Griffith, Tony Colosimo, Joe Sawyer, Wayne Adams), qualified to go to Toronto.

In April we hosted the Southern Division Convention in Reston. We had 10 quartets in the contest with Harmonizers in them. Chuck Harner was chairman for us. Our chorus did not compete as we were headed to the International contest in July.

We also had a fantastic coaching session with choreographer extraordinaire Cindy Hansen in April and then came the pre-competition retreat with our hero David Wright at the end of May at McDaniel College in MD. Chuck McKeever was retreat chair again. After working all day Saturday, we had the joy of David giving us a mini-version of his popular Barbershop History class. The 27 members of the Class of 2013 did a great Jeopardy skit led by their president Rich Hewitt.

We held our International Convention Send-Off Performance in June at Bishop Ireton High School.  We are proud of our hard-earned third-place bronze medal at the BHS 75th International Convention. (Our chorus photo forming a 75 on the steps of the hotel made the cover of the Society’s magazine.) The 110-man chorus earned 91.7% singing the ballad “All the Things You Are” arranged by Steve Delehanty, and singing the uptune “Anything Goes” arranged by Kevin Keller. We were pleased to use choreography from our own Carlos Barillo.  Master director Joe Cerutti with his team of associate director Tony Colosimo, and assistant directors Terry Reynolds, Mike Kelly and Will Cox helped us succeed.  Tony’s weekly barbershop craft maxims made us self accountable. We had a killer front row too with Craig Kujawa as captain and great props designed by TJ Donahue.

Our chapter leaders made the Toronto trip a success too: Carl Kauffman with major help from Bob Rhome (who also makes all meeting and space reservations for the chapter) and Craig Kujawa.  Rick and Peggy Wagner hosted a great Harmo hide-away.  We had seven Special Forces (guys who live far away and made special arrangements to sing with us) on the risers. And Ian Poulin sold us scrip to use in paying our hotel bills, which netted the chapter a handsome fee for our coffers.

DA CAPO had top-ten finish in the International quartet contest in Toronto.  Phil Ashford’s candid photo of the chorus on the steps in the Fairmont Royal York Hotel made the cover of the Harmonizer magazine and Scipio Garling provided the cover story about our chapter.

In the summer prior to Toronto, we sang again for the Jefferson Awards ceremony in DC - this year at Arena Stage – Chris Wallace was emcee. Other performances included singing at John Carlyle Park in Alexandria; at the Alexandria Hospital in July; outdoors at Alexandria's historical Market Square; and a performance with MAYHEM at the wedding of our Master Director Joe and Bridgette Winter.  A huge number of us were on hand to sing for and with five other chapters performing at the "Dog Days of August" event hosted by the Prince William Chapter in Manassas.  Frequently, our a cappella ensemble called TBD sang with us on shows. Greg Tepe is our resident show producer for such events like the DC show for the Odd Fellows. In September we initiated “Let Us Entertain You – a Harmonizer Musical Outreach to Senior Living Neighborhoods.”

In October we hosted the M-AD Contest & Convention in Ocean City, MD.  Chuck Harner served as our chair with many helpers from the chapter, their families and our auxiliary FRIENDS IN HARMONY.  We also sang in order to qualify for the district contest in 2014 since we could not be at the division contest in ’14 due to our trip to Normandy France. We sang Friday night after the quartet contest. Many members made the trip up after work from the DC area. We sang the same package as we had sung in Toronto and did qualify. 

Besides the chorus, we were thrilled to have the district quartet champ from our chapter – MAYHEM (Matt Fellows, Pookie Dingle, Mike Pinto, Ken White). ACME CHORD COMPANY (Dan O’Brien, Chris Susalka, Paul Grimes, Eric Wallen) was fifth. New kids in the contest, THE MONORAIL FOUR (Kellen Hertz, Phil Ferguson, Bobby Seay, Andrew Havens) were 9th – they met while singing in our youth chorus, CAPITAL FORCE.

Several Harmonizers are board member leaders of the district, including president Bill Colosimo, secretary Keith Jones, treasurer Bob Eckman, at large member Dennis Ritchey. Other members serve on the M-AD Operations Team.  Joe Cerutti and Gary Plaag are members of the BHS board (until Joe accepted a BHS staff position) and Chris Buechler is parliamentarian. Several members of the chapter are certified judges in the BHS too – Cerutti, T. Colosimo, O’Brien, Buechler, Plaag, Devine, Harner, Santora.  Keith Jones was inducted into the M-AD Hall of Honor .

In November we sang a Veteran’s Day show for 850 kids at Oakton Elementary; and we launched a full holiday 'push' in early December by singing at the City of Alexandria Christmas Tree Lighting with Mayor Bill Euille,  then performing at three of our own dinner holiday shows December 6 & 7 at First Baptist. The show was “sold-out” in about September thanks to work by the members with leadership from Josh Roots, Scipio Garling and Ian Poulin.

A special surprise was the appearance with us on the Friday night show of The American Boychoir from Princeton, NJ.  One of their staffers, Myles Glancey (and a former Harmonizer), called about their singing with us since their concert that night in DC had been canceled. About 20 boys from 4th to 8th grades making great music, and they loved seeing the men singers having fun too.

Brad Jones launched an online auction with co-chair Randall Eliason.  That auction then became a silent auction at the show.  We netted handsomely from that.  AND we sold tickets for next year’s show and have a good percentage already sold! Some traditions continued – Roger Day and crew making the place look like Santa’s workshop, all the holiday goodies brought in by members, work and support of the FRIENDS group and traditional show characters like Santa Claus (Bruce Minnick), Jack In The Box (Terry Reynolds), Will Cox reciting “Twas  the Night Before Christmas” and the “monks” using cue cards for the words for “Hallelujah Chorus.” But also ask us about the dancing reindeer and the ice skater!

We closed out a very busy and productive year performing for an audience of children at the George Washington Masonic National Memorial on December 17; then 29 Harmonizers entertained Sunday evening Dec 22nd at the White House during the holiday public tour and finally, several chapter members sang in or helped staff the 3rd annual “No Borders Youth Chorus” concert held at Carnegie Hall.

In September the chapter membership climbed to 238. The chapter won a Harold Hill Silver Plateau Award for membership growth success. We held open auditions to bring in new members this year. Besides shows, we raised money for the chapter with our sales of White House Ornaments (Sandy Stamps, also president of FRIENDS IN HARMONY), Entertainment Books (Chuck Harner) and scrip (Ian Poulin). During the year there were recording sessions (using First Baptist choir room) toward another album.  A number of guys enjoy the afterglow on Tuesday nights at LaPortas on King Street.   And quartet promo guy, Calvin Schnure, organized our annual chapter Put Together Quartet contests that are really fun.

Two members of the Harmonizer family died this year – Dick Weick and Jon Abel.

Until next time – editorjack!

(This message wraps up the year's Looking Back columns as a historical record of the great things going on during the 65th year of the Alexandria Harmonizer Chapter. —YeEd.)