Friday, March 7, 2014

Looking Back on the March 4th Chapter Meeting

Guys were ready to get to work and many arrived early at Durant to set up (honestly, Todd Ryktarsyk had lots of the risers up by himself by 6pm), to drill stage presence with Chuck on the stage (a large crowd of 30+ guys including some front row men who have to know the riser moves too for parts of the “Miller Medley”), floor dancers in the foyer to work with Carlos and adding Doug White to the mix – great to have him back after his work duty took him away for a month), and everyone to help welcome a good crew of singer-guests.

During the evening, candidates for emcee work with the chorus were auditioned; and quartets and soloists for “World Peace” met with associate director Tony Colosimo.

Assistant director Will Cox did the warm ups and then gave the ready chorus to director Joe Cerutti.  Joe was excited and ready too and shared with us a package of thank you notes/cards/hand drawn cartoons from the students at Oakton Elementary school who were appreciative of our singing at their school on Veteran’s Day in November.

The music and visual team helped us expand our confidence for the many new songs for the shows coming up and in France at Normandy.  We did take time to clean up “Stars and Stripes” and get it to the level of our other songs. The staging of “Miller Medley” is coming along as we will be singing it in a couple weeks for the A CA CHALLENGE show at Lincoln Theater on March 22nd. (Ken Rub had tickets for the audience members and family members for that show.)

Bob Rhome was filling in for operations vp Bob Blair and he conducted the chapter meeting.  He ran down the list of events on the front burner: 

Early Friday morning, March 7th, a mini-chorus will help Joe demonstrate barbershop harmony for the boys chorus at Francis Scott Key Middle School.

Our own MAYHEM is singing  in the 2014 Mid Atlantic Harmony Sweeps  A Cappella Festival at The Birchmere in Alexandria on March 8th at 7:30 pm.  Let’s get a good crowd there to support them – besides it is a fun place for a Harmo social event. Birchmere is a dinner theater atmosphere, so go early to get food and a good seat.  General admission for $39.10 each. Here is a  link:

Several of our chapter quartets will be singing in the International Preliminary Quartet Contest in Reston at the Hyatt on Friday, March 14th.  This contest is how quartets earn the right to compete in the International contest this summer in Vegas.

In singing order based on current M-AD website in the first round, Friday nite at 7pm:

2. OLD TOWN SOUND - Alan Kousen, Clyde Crusenberry, Bob Mattes, Dave Welter

3. DA CAPO - Ryan Griffith, Tony Colosimo, Joe Sawyer, Wayne Adams

5. MAYHEM - Matt Fellows, Pookie Dingle, Mike Pinto, Ken White

6. THE MONORAIL FOUR - Kellen Hertz, Phil Ferguson, Bobby Seay VI, Andrew Havens

7. YOUTH RECLAMATION PROJECT - Mike Wallen, Roger Tarpey, Hardman Jones, Vic Owen, Jr.

9. BSQ - Rob Seay, Kevin King, Rick Taylor, Al Mazzoni

14. ACME CHORD COMPANY - Dan O'Brien, Chris Susalka, Paul Grimes, Eric Wallen

15. LAST MEN STANDING - TJ Barranger, Drew Feyrer, Ed Bell II, Mike Kelly

16. FORECAST - Mike Fitch, Ian Galvin, Travis Murray, Dan Cook


On Saturday morning, there is an adjudication for college and high school quartets at 11am.  The finals contest is Saturday nite at 7pm. 

The deadline to get the better rate for housing for the weekend in Reston has been extended to March 7th for rooms in the Reston Hyatt. Rate is $120. You can reserve a room by visiting and click the link under “Housing.” While you’re on the site, be sure to reserve your convention registrations, too! Or you can buy tickets at the door.

Also on Saturday March 15th, a chorus of Harmonizers will sing a paid job at the Mayflower in DC for American Society of Public Administration for their diamond jubilee gala.

HELP is needed to get more guys and girls to come to our chapter sponsored Youth Harmony Festival on Saturday, April 5th.  The numbers are extremely low, according to chairman Brad Jones. He needs responses from teachers, choir directors, youth group leaders, Scout groups hoping to earn a badge for singing, your grandkids, or your voice lesson students.  If you have prospects or a teacher wants help to register students, contact Brad at  The fee is just $15 per student which includes the festival fun, music, a t-shirt and snacks and lunch and dinner.  Registration deadline is Monday, Mar. 10th so the t-shirts can be ordered.

Reed Livergood is coordinating housing for our guest chorus, Ambassadors of Harmony [where he was a member before moving to our area], when they come to the DC area to sing with us for the Crescendo show on June 21st.  Reed got responses from 30+ Harmonizers which gets us over 25 beds available for AoH-ers to use. That said, our goal of 70-80 beds has not been met, yet. For those who have not indicated their hosting status, please take 5 minutes within the next week to indicate if you can make housing available, possibly available, or not available to host our guests in June.

Other announcements in the meeting included the plea for riser singers to bring in their gold scarves used in Toronto on March 11th! And front row to bring in their gold vests.  All for the FRIENDS IN HARMONY to begin adjusting them.

Regarding the trip to France, chairman Ken Fess asks all members to respond quickly to inquiries he sends out regarding travel and other admin matters for the trip.

Membership vp Jeremy Richardson with help from Rich Hewitt welcomed and introduced a long line of guests – several first timers including four fellow students and friends of Ben Roberts.

President Terry Reynolds offered this week’s notation of why It’s Great to Be a Harmonizer – the chance to sing with our master director Joe Cerutti!

After coffee break, we worked on more of our new music including presenting the men who will sing the quartet parts for “World Peace” with the chorus and soloists.

Interesting background info from music and performance vp Steve White explaining how the weekly schedule is developed for our Tuesday nite rehearsals, “At 5:30 each Wednesday after our Tuesday nite meeting, the chorus directors have a "hot wash" conference call to discuss the previous night's rehearsal and lay out what is needed for the coming rehearsal. Then on Thursday morning the M&P vp plans the rehearsal with the goal of getting the outline to Dave Branstetter for the weekly e-mail to the members.”

In other news, our BHS mourns the passing of Lew Sims, 66-year Society member, DELA stalwart, Hall of Honor inductee, judge, quartet singer and chorus director. Lew died peacefully on Feb. 24, at the age of 104.  He was a loyal member of the DC Chapter and was their director when they won the Society's first official International Chorus Champions in 1954. His popular quartet, FEDERAL CITY FOUR sang joyfully together for five decades.

Our chapter historian Martin Banks adds, “Sixteen choruses from 9 of the 14 districts competed in the June 1953 contest in Detroit. The contest winner, The Great Lakes Chorus, was designated as the "International Convention Chorus Champion" and was the first and last chorus so named. This unique title was chosen because the participating choruses were not selected through district competition and not all districts were represented. The Singing Capitol Chorus, directed by Lew Sims, won the Society's first "official" International Chorus Competition in 1954 in their hometown of Washington DC. The Alexandria Harmonizers represented the Mid-Atlantic District in Detroit in 1953 and would not represent the district in an International Chorus Contest again until 1978, nearly a quarter of a century later.”

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.)