Monday, February 3, 2014

Looking Back on the January 28th Chapter Meeting      

This week’s chapter meeting was awesome.  The cold weather was tough for travel this week, but in the end, the risers were full!  Chuck McKeever was under-the-weather with a bad cold and could  not conduct his early-bird visual review session, so some early arrivals had a chance to just visit and get a coffee, work on their music.


As usual the set-up guys were at work getting the hall ready. No small task.  Carolyn Hall was at her station as sentinel at the door letting guys in from the back parking lot at Durant.


At 7 pm, the welcome-to-the-risers music recording was the gold-medal champs, BLUEGRASS STUDENT UNION.  Assistant director Will Cox did the warm up session and then turned things over to director Joe Cerutti.


Joe was eager to see everyone, congratulated those honored last Saturday nite at the awards banquet, thanked again those who have participated in events during the snow and bad weather of late, and reported about his visit with barbershoppers in Germany, “They all send their regards and are eager to sing for us, and with us, during our trip there in June.”


Joe also welcomed his fellow Master Director, Jay Butterfield from Lancaster, PA, who is one of the many Special Forces who are going to Europe with us next summer. [Jay and Joe are among the 10 or so Master Directors in the BHS, according to music vp Steve White.] YeEd will report soon a list of other Special Forces members who have already joined the chapter or have come back to Tuesday nite sessions. 


And then we were singing and working on the risers.  First off was a review of “Anything Goes” to include some refresher work by choreographer Carlos Barillo for those who needed it and to help the many new members of the chorus since Toronto to get a start on the visuals.


There were a number of new faces on the risers as a result of the Open Audition on Monday evening at Durant.  Four men came to audition and three were invited to join us on Tuesday. Great to have these new singers, as well as the many new members of late.  Congrats and thanks to the membership crew who conducted the audition event – associate director Tony Colosimo and assistant director Mike Kelly and Carlos conducted the auditions, Rich Hewitt and Jeremy Richardson welcome prospects and handled the admin details.


Next we jumped right into “Something About a Soldier” and director Joe was ecstatic with the chorus progress in this brand new song arranged by Jay Giallombardo.  The chorus had fun singing it for Joe and even more so after some interp work with him on the number.


Operations vp Bob Blair conducted the weekly chapter meeting starting off with a plea for all members to wear their name tags!  This is important when we have so many guests and new guys with us on Tuesday nites. This was to have been the nite for a Put-Together-Quartet-Contest, but has been postponed til another time.


Bob thanked again Steve Murane and Robyn McQueen for their work in organizing the awards banquet on Saturday nite.   He also offered copies of the Readers’ Digest version of the Harmonizer updated history that was on tables at the banquet. If you’d like a copy, contact YeEd.


Ken Fess spoke about some details regarding our trip to France in June.  Payment reminders were  big item on his list. If you cancel after Feb. 1st, there is a penalty. Next week we can start buying tickets for non-singers who will want to go to our barbershop show in Koln, Germany. And payments will be due for extended trips to Paris, for those signed up. If you want the group insurance for the trip, give your name to Ken Fess. Finally, people can still sign up to go with us until March 1st.  Of the 220 travelers for the trip, 102 are singers.


Here is important uniform information for Normandy singers: show producer Greg Tepe has suggested we consider getting a second white (hidden button that we wore in Toronto) and a second black camp shirt with the logo for the trip.  There will be a lot of shows and not much time to get laundry done in hotels.  Tom Kern, uniform store honcho, wants us to place our orders now vs. later.  White shirt is $20 and the black shirt is $45.  The new tie we will be issued for Normandy, red/white/blue striped, will cost $7.  New members and/or Special Forces for Normandy will also need to speak with Tom about the black suit, red/gray tie, red/gray pocket stuffer, and belt.


Music and performance vp Steve White had a lot of info for the us for the months ahead: 


Musical leaders in the chapter have scheduled a special Saturday morning 3-hour, all-parts sectional, on February 15 from 9:00 to noon in the music suite at the First Baptist Church of Alexandria (where we do our recording sessions – 2932 King St. Alexandria 22302). This is in response to a need for more time to learn all the new music coming at us.  We’ll work as individual sections, duet sections, and put it all together at the end. To make the most of this opportunity, please add the date on your calendar and get a kitchen pass if needed. Our music team encourages maximum attendance which will greatly benefit the chorus.


The Harmonizer-sponsored, A CA CHALLENGE, will be in one of Washington, D.C.'s most famous venues, the historic Lincoln Theater.  This competition for modern a cappella groups will be March 22, 2014, at 7 pm. Fifteen groups applied and six have been chosen as contestants: The George Washington University Vibes, The University of Mary Washington Symfonics, The Noctonals, the Chromatics, Capital Blend, and Word of Mouth.


The chorus and our own modern a cappella subgroup, TBD, will also perform while the judges' scores are being tabulated. Steve reports that we will debut “Glenn Miller Medley” with stage presence, as well as “Tribute to World Peace.”


The contest will be judged by three local figures in a cappellaarranger Danny Ozment, recording guru Amanda Cornaglia, and a representative from DA CAPO (our own top ten BHS quartet that also won the national Harmony Sweepstakes a cappella competition in 2011).


We are awarding a first prize of $1000, second prize is $500, and third prize is $250 (with each other contestant group getting $100 for participating). Ken Rub is coordinating this outreach activity to promote a cappella singing and to introduce other singers to our art form.  Tickets for audience attendees are available now through the Lincoln Theater. The theater is at 1215 U St. NW in DC.  The Harmonizers are expected to help promote and sell tickets.


Marketing vp Noah Van Gilder asked chapter members to give some extra effort to promote the A CA CHALLENGE.  He has issued a flyer for our use, and urges all social-media users to promote the event.  In response to a question from the risers, tickets are available from Lincoln Theater’s website. 

Steve asked all of us to be sure we have gotten on the chapter’s Groupanizer site ( and have indicated our attendance plans. For those who have indicated “maybe” or “no”, your brothers on the risers would love for you to change that to “yes”. We have a large active performing chorus, so even at moderate participation levels we should always have 80+ men in a performance and even more for the major gigs such as the Sing Strong A Cappella Festival on Sunday, February 23 in Reston;  the American Society of  Public Administration Show, Saturday, March 15 at the Mayflower hotel in DC;  the A CA CHALLENGE on Saturday, March 22 at the Lincoln Theater in DC; the  Youth Harmony Festival, April 5th at Durant; and the Mega Show – CRESCENDO  with the Ambassadors of Harmony, plus gold-medal quartets from their chapter, VOCAL SPECTRUM  and CROSSROADS, on Saturday, June 21 at George Mason.

Steve also thanked all the men who supported the Youth Harmony Workshop last Saturday, Jan 25th (the same day as our awards banquet), for music students and music educators at Edison High School.  About 30 or our singers attended and helped demonstrate a cappella singing and entertaining, and what barbershop harmony truly is.  Joe Cerutti and Tony Colosimo, both music educators, conducted the sessions using multimedia to show and demonstrate, as well as having the Harmonizers perform.  The reaction of the 100-plus students was huge – especially after the chorus opened with “I’m The Music Man.”  Before the afternoon session ended, the chorus taught the students a tag and they loved it. This event was in response to a request from Melodie Henderson, the music educator at the school.

Continuing the chapter meeting, president Terry Reynolds introduced the recipients of the major memorial awards presented at the banquet on the 25th: New Note Award – Carlos Barillo; Spirit of Harmony Award – Steve White; Ibbianne & Wilbur Sparks Award – Robyn McQueen and Steve Murane; Harmonizer Honor Award – Nick Leiserson; Oz Newgard Music Award – Greg Tepe; and Harmonizer Memorial Award – Martin Banks.  Terry suggests these folks are another example of why “It’s Great to Be a Harmonizer!”


Membership vp Jeremy Richardson presented membership renewal cards to Ross Felker for 3 years; Joe Cerutti Sr. for 3 years; Jeremy Knobel for 7 years; Doug White for 7 years; Lew Klinge for 12 years; Kris Zinkievich for 14 years; Brian Ammerman for 20 years; Mark Klostermeyer for 33 years; Don Harrington for 34 years; Keith Jones for 36 years; and Rick Savage for 40 years.


Jeremy also announced that the next Open Audition event will be April 9th so we could help future guests plan ahead (and so guys who learn about us at some of the major shows in the months ahead can move into membership sooner). Rich Hewitt welcomed guests present and introduced them to the chorus.


After coffee break time, we worked on the new tag for the “Armed Forces Medley” which Dan O’Brien created.  It is a welcome improvement to a piece the chorus has sung for years. A teaching quartet helped us learn this first-look at the tag. 


Next we worked on “World Peace” which we will actually sing with Ambassadors of Harmony at our Mega Show on June 21st.  We also reviewed moves Carlos taught us for “Miller Medley” too.  No doubt Chuck McKeever’s pre-meeting session next Tuesday nite will give a refresher too.


In other news related to the chapter:  YeEd reports that Doug White will be gone all of February but back to sing with us after this new job training! Some noticed that TJ Jones was in the hall this week with bandages and an arm braces – he fell recently in his home and is on the mend!  Great to see Martin Banks at events recently after getting a new pacemaker this winter!


Mike Everard reports a quartet reunion in December with guys who sang in FRIENDSHIP FIRE COMPANY. Seems this is an annual pre-Christmas event when Mike Riordan and Mike and Doug Smith get together for lunch.  Their tenor, Steve Martin, visited by cell phone.  Their quartet entertained with us on a lot of shows in their heyday!


Great to see the story about American Boychoir singing on our holiday show on page 28 of the Jan-Feb 2014 Harmonizer magazine.  Plus good to see our MAYHEM guys in the district quartet champs article, along with former Harmonizers George Azzam in Seneca Land district and Mark Rodda in Carolinas district.


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.)