Saturday, February 15, 2014

Looking Back on the February 11th Chapter Meeting

 The extreme cold on Tuesday nite did not deter attendance nor visitors and guests.  And the stage was packed for the 6 pm choreo review with Chuck McKeever (recovered from his bout with pneumonia).  And 25 or more “floor performers” worked with choreographer Carlos Barillo in the lobby at Durant on their exciting addition to “Miller Medley” package.

Many FRIENDS IN HARMONY members were in the house for their meeting.  Several early arrivals helped decorate cookies for the coffee break period.  Thanks to them for helping.


Speaking of coffee break, we could always use salty snacks like chips or pretzels if you have some to share. And how about bringing in left-over napkins from any holidays.  They always get used.


Assistant director Will Cox did the warm up vocal exercises this week and surprised assistant director Terry Reynolds with a Happy Birthday just for his day!  Associate director Tony Colosimo held a barbershop craft session for us.  Director Joe Cerutti welcomed two BHS staffers to our meeting from Nashville – both work in IT there at headquarters.  Great to have them.


Chapter leaders had a brunch meeting with BHS chief executive officer, Marty Monson, on Sunday, Feb. 9th at Theisman’s.  He was in the area after the American Choral Director’s Association convention that was in Baltimore, and took this chance to meet with a local chapter leadership team.  President Terry and other chapter leaders plus our director Joe attended


Joe had also attended the ACDA convention and got to see the American Boychoir folks again.  Their director was thrilled to see Joe and confessed how much his students wanted to see the Harmonizers again.  Some of their students were “lovin” a look at sample barbershop music in the BHS display booth at ACDA and were heard singing four-part harmony without any urging.


Joe and Tony then worked with the chorus on lots of the new songs as well as the several songs we are bringing back into an active repertoire.


Operations vp Bob Blair called this week’s meeting to order and reminded guys “to wear those name tags.”  Music and performance vp Steve White asked for more singers to sign up for the major shows coming up in a few weeks, especially the Sing Strong show Sun., Feb, 23rd.  He also announced that we would not be learning “Behold Man” as had been on the schedule.


President Terry Reynolds announced that Dick Hall had called him to wish a happy birthday and that is when Dick reported he is suffering from shingles.  (Dick has called every Harmonizer on his birthday for MANY years and continues to do so.  We all say thanks and get well, Dick.) Then Terry invited Rick Wagner to share his difficult news – that a soft tissue sarcoma was discovered in his thigh, that he will have radiation and then an operation to remove the baseball-sized area.  We are all pulling for Rick. 


Terry concluded his remarks sharing about how much our officers enjoyed telling CEO Monson about our chapter – just another example of why “It Is Great to Be a Harmonizer!”


Secretary Chris Buechler presented name tags and Harmon history books to two new members – Ed Schubel and Nathan Ritter; membership renewal cards to Steve Szyszka for two years and Jacob George for four years; and a 40-year membership lapel pin for Rick Savage.


Rich Hewitt, filling in for Jeremy Richardson, introduced all of our singing guests – several of them first timers. In other news about our own Dr. Jeremy Richardson -- he appeared on the MSNC talk show of Melissa Harris-Perry on Sunday discussing the chemical spill in the waters of WV.  The link is


After coffee break with Valentine cookies and coffee, we were back on the risers for work on more of our 2014 package show songs, including putting together the visual package for “Miller Medley” with the floor performers.  Great work by those men.


SingingValentine news was announced before we dismissed: after taking a break from it in 2013, the Alexandria Harmonizers will be performing SingingValentines for selected groups on Feb. 14th and 15th!  As a public service, we are offering them free to Alexandria-area seniors facilities, schools and businesses.

Ninamarie Maragioglio and the FRIENDS IN HARMONY auxiliary, in cooperation with quartet promotion chairman Calvin Schnure, organized the event. This is the first year of our "new" SingingValentines plans. Several quartets were lined up to wear the chorus tux outfits and make the presentations.  (All this was planned before the snow storm that hit on Feb. 13th – stay tuned as to the outcome of the day.)

In other chorus news, our uniform chairman, Tom Kern, has announced the “First and Last Annual Free / Sale / Resale / Clearance Event!”  His goal is to clear out many one-of-a-kind uniform pieces from the past Harmonizer inventory. They will be available free (first come – first served) to a good home…as long as you promise never to bring them back. Some items, mostly brand new in original packaging, will be available for a very low purchase price.


ALSO Tom has made an offer to any members who have Harmonizer logo shirts in their closet that no longer fit or are no longer worn – a table will be available for a barbershop logo shirt exchange to sell, swap, or simply donate. Attach a piece of tape with your name on it, put it on display, and see if you can find a new home for your excess.


The uniform exchange will be on the Durant stage, Tuesday, Feb. 18th  starting at 6pm before rehearsal, during break, and after rehearsal. (The choreo session will be in another room.) Items that don’t go home with a new owner will be donated to AMVETS / Goodwill for other people to love.


In conjunction with this, the chapter history team headed by Martin Banks has collected a few samples of our chorus outfits from Tom’s warehouse to add to the collection of uniforms we have for historical purposes.  (For our 50th anniversary we had them all on display.) Thanks too for the history display Martin brought to Durant this week.


Finally, there is an all-sectional rehearsal on Sat., Feb. 15 in the choir suite at First Baptist Church, 2932 King St., Alexandria 22302 from 9-noon.  There will be coffee for early arrivals. Bring your music and a pencil as per director Joe’s admonition earlier in the evening.


Birthday celebrations for Terry continued at the afterglow at LaPorta’s, 1600 Duke Street.


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.)

Looking Back on the February 4th Chapter Meeting and Recent MidWinter Convention          

Our chapter leaders had to make a call about meeting tonite based on threats of icy roads.  But it was decided to go for it, with the plan to keep an eye on the weather in case it was necessary to wrap up early.  The leaders did suggest guys who live west of Alexandria might need to leave early, tho most stayed til the last note was sung.  The risers were full again and it was a hard working nite.


Chuck McKeever’s bad cold has moved into pneumonia and so Carl Kauffmann and Chuck Powell  conducted the early-bird visual review session. Here again there was a large group of us on stage to work on the moves for “Miller Medley.”


Assistant director Will Cox did the warm ups this week.  Music and performance vp Steve White coordinated the musical part of the nite since assistant director and president Terry Reynolds was in Vegas. (He and past president Alan Wile coordinated via email and phone about meeting plans and Terry issued a late afternoon call to come to Durant.)


When director Joe Cerutti took the reins he welcomed Bruce Roehm back after a military assignment in MT.  Long-time member Jim Gammon was in the house to audition as a Special Forces guy for our Normandy trip.  Then we worked on the new tag for “Armed Services Medley” and worked on “Bring Him Home” with associate director Tony Colosimo carrying the beautiful solo.


Then Tony conducted another of his fantastic craft sessions – this one was a review of the many craft maxims we have learned in the last year or so.  He did his review because there are soooo many new members and guests with us these days.


For our work on “Miller Medley” the chorus worked on the risers and the floor dancers worked in the lobby.  When we put it all together it was working well, but we all need to keep reviewing and drilling on our own.


Operations vp Bob Blair conducted the chapter meeting portion of the nite.  On behalf of president Reynolds, Steve White introduced another new performance maxim – Sign Up – Show Up!  It is so important for each member to get onto the Groupanizer page and indicate your attendance plans for meetings and shows, as well as get your music and stage notes – at  Wear you name tag too on Tuesday nites!


As music vp, Steve was eager to report too major coaching sessions this spring: Tues. April 1st with David Wright, and Tues. April 29th with Cindy Hansen.  Mark your calendars.


Steve announced that we have received another request for a youth harmony session from the music instructor at Francis Scott Key Middle School.  Stay tuned for an email.


Finally, Steve invited all recent new members to join him for an orientation session after break tonite. 


Past president Wile presented gifts to men who did not make it to the recent Presidents’ Award banquet.


There is a change in the sale and distribution of scrip cards for the chapter.  Our FRIENDS IN HARMONY have assumed responsibility for it and Ninamarie Maragioglio spoke to us about kicking off the new sales year.  She did offer to fill requests for specific cards, if we let her know to try to get them.  As some of you know, this project can be a major source of income for the chapter. For example, if you are making home improvements, then buy Home Depot cards from the chapter to pay for things.  The chapter gets a significant percentage of profit from sale of the cards and you can use them to pay HD.


Membership vp Jeremy Richardson presented a membership renewal card to Brian Miller for 17 years.   Rich Hewitt welcomed a long line of guests – several first timers, some of our Special Forces guys, and visitors from other chapters. The membership team is using a new registration card, created by Rich, to collect info about the many guests when they arrive on Tuesday and stop by our sign-in kiosk.


After coffee break, we worked on more songs including “Jersey Boys” that we will need to sing for our A CA Challenge show.  The chorus will not do stage moves, but front row will.


Joe was thrilled about the successful rehearsal and the hard work of all of the mem on the risers. 


Before we wrapped up, there was a shout out of congrats to Mike Wallen.


Our chapter was well represented at the recent MidWinter BHS convention in Long Beach, CA, Jan. 28th-Feb.2nd.  Plus our own Mike Wallen’s quartet, YOUTH RECLAMATION PROJECT, captured a fourth place medal in the International Senior’s Quartet competition. Mike sings tenor with Roger Tarpy, lead, Hardman Jones, bari, and Vic Owens, Jr., bass.  The first place quartet was also from our district, FACES 4 RADIO.  Congrats to them as well.  They sang an arrangement of “It All Depends on You” created by our own John Hohl.


Here is Dixie Kennett’s report of the convention: The official events began on Tuesday evening with the District Presidents' Council meetings. Bill Colosimo is the moderator. Gary Plaag, Alan Lamson, and Chris Buechler (as parliamentarian) were involved in Society board activities. The keynote address was given by outgoing Society board member John Miller. [It is available online.] Doug Brown from Hell’s Kitchen NY Chapter was elected to fill a vacancy on the BHS board.

Thursday evening there was a kick-off party aboard the Queen Mary. Society past champs and medalist quartets sang as did Seniors quartet champs from past years. The weather was in the mid-sixties, liquid refreshment areas plentiful, and people were roaming, listening to entertainment throughout the evening.


The youth choruses owned the stage on Friday. Twenty choruses crossed the boards to thunderous applause. The Friday night show featured a chorus of past seniors’ quartet champs, several past championship quartets, FOREFRONT (current 5th place medalist), MAIN STREET (current 4th place medalist with our coach Tony DeRosa), and the Masters of Harmony chorus – several current and/or former Harmonizers sang with the chorus including Jim Haggerty, Ken Potter, Ray Johnson, and Bill Power.


Joe Cerutti in his role as Society Music Specialist for Youth and Chorus Director Development was instrumental in putting the youth contest together and also served as emcee for the Friday and Saturday evening shows. (Unlike prior years, he did the emcee job wearing a business suit rather than the gamut of costumes worn in previous years.) Sean Devine and Ryan Killeen were involved during the convention as staffers for the Harmony Foundation and Mike Kelly did AV work for the Foundation.  Cindy Hansen was show producer for the convention.


Reporter Alan Wile sent this word about the youth choruses:  “They were fabulous and  the audience favorite was the Mountain West Voices Chorus from the Provo, UT, Chapter and Brigham Young U (average age of 23.9) that sang and performed the Peter Pan medley. They received a rating of Superior ... and so did the chorus out of the M-AD: East Coast Sound (formally the Tri Star Chorus) from the Montclair Chapter.  David Ammirata, lead of GIMMIE FOUR (the quartet that will staff our chapter’s youth harmony festival this spring) is their director (average age of 22.7).


Dixie’s report continues: The Saturday night show began with the "audience favorite" youth chorus. Society medalist quartets including MASTERPIECE (current gold medalist) all entertained. The evening concluded with Westminster chorus singing five songs, ending with one that included all the youth participants singing from the theatre balcony with them -- very moving. And while most people were beginning to make their way home on Sunday morning, Chuck Harner was in the Harmony Foundation board of trustees meeting.


Reporters Dixie and Keith Jones, kept track of the many Harmonizers and former members who were there.  The list includes the following names not mentioned above: Terry Reynolds, John Hohl, Sam McFarland, Keith Jones, Tom Gannon, Bob Hirsh, Dwain Chambers, Ross Johnson, Darryl Flinn, Dave Ellis, Mike Geipel and John Rettenmeyer.  Richard Lewellen was a judge for the quartet and chorus contests.


In other news for the chapter:  The chapter is looking to have more emcees for our package shows. Carlos Barillo and Greg Tepe are holding open auditions on Tuesday, Feb 18th, during rehearsal, for anyone interested.

Whether you've been an emcee in the past, have done it recently, or have never done it, everyone will need to audition. Candidates will audition in small rooms at Durant one at a time,
Anyone interested should email Greg ( to indicate you would like an audition slot.


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.)