Friday, November 14, 2014

Looking Back on the November 11th Chapter Meeting

On Thursday, Nov. 6th, there was a volunteer catch-up rehearsal for holiday show music – with emphasis on the songs we sang last year.  Assistant director Terry Reynolds facilitated the rehearsal at Durant for a couple dozen members.

Tuesday was a busy day for the Harmonizers. About 30 of us sang a morning concert at Oakton Elementary School in Oakton, VA. We were part of a school program to honor Veterans and help students in grades k to 6 understand the importance of the day. About 800 children were seated on the floor in the gym – they were amazingly quiet and seemed to really love hearing us sing. There were some military folks present as guests and each class had a VIP veteran to come to the classroom after the assembly. Assistant director Terry Reynolds was in charge. This was about our 5th or 6th year for this great event. It is a moving experience for all of us singers. Thanks to the early morning riser crew and to all the guys who make plans to attend. Several of us were in uniform as active or retired military.

Then Tuesday nite the guys managed to get thru the massive DC traffic issue (there was a free concert on the Mall near the Capitol) and filled the risers when the evening’s welcome song was played by the AV crew – this week the new song we are learning, “Alleluia” by Randall Thompson.

Choreographer Carlos Barillo and associate director Tony Colosimo did the warm ups for us and welcomed director Joe Cerutti to the front. He wasted no time in getting right to work on the many songs for the Nov. 23rd show and the Dec. holiday shows. Joe did welcome home David Hood who was deployed for eight months – great to have him back safe and on the risers!!

We worked fast and furious in order to get in all the songs we needed to work on. Midway, operations vp Bob Blair conducted the chapter meeting.

Dave Reyno promoted the Calvert Co. MD show and extended an invite to guys to an afterglow at his home over there. He also has tickets for any Harmonizer family or friends who want to attend. NOTE: this show will now be at Huntingtown High School, 4125 Solomons Island Rd., Huntington, MD. The venue was changed recently to give us a better stage situation. Thanks to Bruce Lauther for flushing out these details. Everyone needs to be on the lookout for an email with call times, uniforms, song list, etc. We have sung over there in years past, so it will be great to see old friends and customers.

Shows vp Nick Leiserson made several important announcements about the busy holiday show season for the Harmonizers. There is a gig for about 35 guys on Saturday and they met after chapter meeting to settle on details.

We are singing at the Alexandria City Tree Lighting event on Friday eve, Nov. 28th at Market Square in Old Town.

Nick gave a quick overview of the week of our holiday shows: the Tues. Dec. 2 rehearsal will be at First Baptist; everyone needs to bring two wrapped boxes, the size of cases of copy paper, wrapped in bright colors without bows; Thursday Dec. 4th is a dress rehearsal at the church; each member is asked to bring three dozen holiday/decorated cookies that nite; then the shows are Friday nite and Saturday afternoon and Saturday nite. Stay tuned for emails with exact times and details.

NOTE: the committee is not distributing the tickets to customers in advance of our holiday shows, so EVERY ONE of the customers must report to will call when they come to the show. So, if you have sold a bunch of tickets to people, you will need to provide the committee the name and table number of each of your customers. These messages must go to Scipio Garling.

Also each singer must have an approved costume for the shows. Be sure to follow instructions announced by the committee.

Nick reported again on the successful Harmony on the Harbor show on Nov. 3rd. There was a particular thank you given to the riser crews for that weekend.

Carlos did a presentation about costumes for our package in Pittsburgh. Expect emails about it soon and begin to work on your costume. There will be ten “wranglers” who will assist or coach about 10 members and finally approve your plan for a costume. The deadline is to submit your idea by Dec. 9th.

President Terry Reynolds reminded everyone of the all-sectionals this Saturday at First Baptist from 9-12. He also introduced new board member Steve Sutton.

Rich Hewitt introduced this week’s guests.

There was only a short break time this week, so it was hard for everyone to get off the risers and pass thru the kitchen area, buy things and take a bathroom break. Thanks to the FRIENDS IN HARMONY for cleaning up the kitchen each week. And thanks to the folks who brought left over Halloween candy!

The FRIENDS also had a meeting this week.

Don’t forget to be thinking of buying scrip cards from the FRIENDS too—get that Honey Baked Ham, or groceries or holiday travel or gifts and use a card. The chapter gets income and you have your shopping done.

In other news, our modern a cappella subgroup, TBD, has been invited to join local a cappella favorites VOX POP and THE DISTRICT for a joint concert. The concert will be in Chinatown at the First Congregational United Church of Christ on Saturday, Dec. 12 at 8 pm. Tickets are now available for purchase online. TBD would certainly appreciate your supportive attendance at this event, which is part of the chapter's strengthening ties with the broader a cappella community.

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 Harmony on the Harbor Show with Pride of Baltimore Nov. 3rd

(Thanks to show chairman, Ken Fess, for this wrap up report from the show.  He was far too modest to suggest how many hours he and Mick Stamps had spent on getting this show off the ground!) YeEd.)

Harmony on the Harbor was a show two years in the making, beginning in the summer of 2012.

Coordination with a dozen quartets, several choruses, Sweet Adelines International, the Cornet Club and the BHS, along with trips to the SAI conventions in Denver (2012) and Hawaii (2013), culminated in the presented show.

Show day began early for the producers, Ken Fess, Mick Stamps, and Carmel Tuttle, as well as Bob Blair, Greg Tepe and Mike Kelly, setting up the curtain, risers, lights and sound system beginning at 8am. A special thanks to the riser team that brought the risers, and also got them to the SAI chorus that was renting them from us for the week.  Bob Blair noted these at our last rehearsal. Also a shout out to Bruce Lauther who helped get the buses for Ronninge chorus.  

Preparations continued into the afternoon with Mick being assisted by Jack Cameron, Carl Kaufmann, Mark Klostermeyer, Dean Rust, Chuck McKeever, Don Dillingham and members of the Pride of Baltimore, setting up the backstage rooms and food service.

At the same time Carmel was assisted by her husband Tim, Dean, Brad Jones, Brian Ammerman, Bob and Sandy Ulibarri, and a couple of POB members set up the reception area for our VIP patrons.

Dixie Kennett and Mick were also busy setting up the quartet rooms so that each was prepared to receive our special guests. Nina Krzysko helped to get the ticket operation in full swing.

Beginning at 2:30 in the afternoon, with the able assistance of Clark Chesser, Brad Jones, Sandy Stamps, Kim Fess, Adele Jones, and several other POB members, the choruses and quartets began arriving. They were ably received and escorted by Bob Rhome, Dean Rust and Joel Golden. Stan Quick assisted with making sure the buses and shuttle vans knew where to park.

For the next couple of hours the stage crew, led by Greg Tepe, ran all of our acts through sound checks and stage time to ensure all was ready for the big show.

After a short meal break, we were ready to go. The theater rapidly filled up with the over 1700 patrons for the show, including nearly 100 high school students from the Baltimore area that were experiencing a barbershop show for the first time.

The show was led off by the Pride of Baltimore Chorus, with the Harmonizers joining them for the second song. Then followed MAXX FACTOR, 2011 Queens of Harmony; GQ, the current Region 19 quartet champs; and then the CZECH! IT OUT QUARTET from Prague (actually LUNCH BREAK doing an impersonation of a female quartet).

Then the Harmonizers hit the stage, presenting their contest set they used in winning their 25th Mid-Atlantic District Chorus Championship the weekend before in Wildwood, NJ, and earning a standing O from the audience.

THE VOCALITY and SPEED OF SOUNS quartets followed, and then LUNCH BREAK returned to present more of their craziness.

After a short intermission the fabulous 1989 Queens of Harmony, GROWING GIRLS, put on a great set to the delight of the audience. Then followed SPITZER, FRENZY, LUSTRE  and the ultimately crowned 2015 Queens of Harmony, BLING!

And then, to the surprise of the crowd, LOVE NOTES, the 2014 Queens of Harmony, gave us an unscheduled set, again wowing everyone in the place. And finally, The Rönninge Show Chorus crushed us with an incredible set, clearly demonstrating why they were the 2014 Sweet Adelines Chorus Champions!

WOW! What a show! The crowd left the theater, many of them headed for the afterglow nearby, buzzing about the great singing they had just seen. There were many responsible for the success of the show, but none more so than the producers and our intrepid stage manager, Greg Tepe. Thanks belong to all who contributed, to include all of those whose donations enabled all those students to attend the performance. (Ken Fess)

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

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Looking Back on the 2014 Fall District Contest in Wildwood NJ Oct 24-25

This year’s fall contest weekend was much later than usual, so many shops and business firms were closed for the season in Wildwood, NJ by Oct. 24th and 25th. But the Harmonizers were there for business and won their 25th M-AD chorus championship with a great 90.9 score.

We had 106 men on the risers and we sang “Someone Like You” arranged by Steve Tramack and “Anything Goes” arranged by Kevin Keller. The music team had prepared us well and we had all worked hard to achieve these high marks – Joe Cerutti, director; Tony Colosimo, associate director; Carlos Barillo, choreographer; and Steve White, music and performance vp. Plus there are the assistant directors, visual team members, and section leaders.

The chapter is also proud to have another Harmonizer quartet take the district championship – LAST MEN STANDING with TJ Barranger, Drew Feyrer, Edward  Bell II, Mike Kelly.  There have been 18 before. 

We also had FORECAST with Mike Fitch, Ian Galvin, Travis Murray, Dan Cook who took fifth place; and THE MONORAIL FOUR with Kellen Hertz, Phil Ferguson, Bobby Seay VI, Andrew Havens who took sixth.  MAYHEM with Matt Fellows, Pookie Dingle, Mike Pinto, Ken White sang their swan-song as last year’s champs.

The chorus championship entitles us to go to the International contest in Pittsburgh in the June/July 2015. Currently we are ranked third based on all the other district chorus contest scores behind Westminster and Ambassadors.  Our friends and fellow district competitors Hamilton Square rank seventh and Hell’s Kitchen rank eighth.

As president Terry Reynolds wrote, “We received rave reviews from other barbershoppers and some excellent comments from the judges. It’s hard to even imagine the potential of our ballad after another eight months and a ton of coaching. It certainly feels like we’ve demonstrated we are on track to continue raising our level.”

As usual the chapter was well organized for the weekend.  Most men and any families and friends drove up on Friday.  We had our first gathering on Saturday morning at a high school we have used in other years when in Wildwood.  Our great front row met early there to button down their routines.  The chorus arrived at 9. We actually warmed up outdoors for a few while the riser crew worked.  Then Tony, Carlos and Joe worked hard to get us in the groove.

The chorus contest actually started at 9 but our FRIENDS IN HARMONY came to the school to cheer for us and presented each man on the risers with a memento. (This was Sandy Stamps last time to make the presentation as retiring FRIENDS president.)  Robyn Murane also was on hand with her trusty needle and thread to fix or adjust as needed (including getting a roll of black tape from the electricians to tape one guy’s shoe together when the sole came loose).

As is our tradition, Joe asked to see the hands of the guys who are singing with us for their first district contest – there were 16!!

Shawn Tallant gets a large thank you from the chapter members for finding us a hotel that would open up on this weekend.  It worked great and the hotel also allowed us space for a great afterglow in their lobby. YeEd knows there were many helpers including Randall Eliason.  The Harmo truck drivers got everything to Wildwood including the boxes/steps we used as part of the finale for the uptune.

Actually there were 128 current members in Wildwood – several sang with other choruses on Saturday or directed other choruses. As usual we had many guys in leadership and operations positions to run the district and the convention.

The Harmonizers appeared on the Saturday nite Jamboree and presented songs and some stories about our meaningful trip to Normandy in June as our part of the program.  They were wildly accepted by the Saturday nite audience.

Also there were a lot of Harmonizers on the stage for the presenting of the trophies to the quartet winners when all past district quartet champ members form a chorus and honor the new champs.

 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 October 28th Chapter Meeting


Chuck McKeever was on the stage early for anyone who wanted to work on the “Glenn Miller Medley” but he had few takers. 


Riser team (Ryktarsyk, Kauffmann, Gilmore, Quick, Ritchey, Tallant and one/two others) put ‘em up in the configuration we’ll be using Monday night for the Harmony on the Harbor show.  Tables and chairs for members/guests … and Harmonizer Hero books were set up.  Bob Blair and a helper picked up the end caps from storage and delivered them to Durant.  The result was a riser setup that nearly filled the length of the room.


Some members parked away from Durant to ensure the POB members would find convenient parking.


Sandy and Mick Stamps had WHOs for sale.  Christina Ammerman had scrip for sale.  Carolyn and Dick Hall had 50-50 tickets to sell.


At 7:00 p.m. members were invited to take the risers and listen to the “song of the week” which turned out to be “Someone Like You” from the just completed M-AD Fall District Contest.


All the while members of POB and, perhaps, a few from Greater Harrisburg kept arriving.  Rich Hewitt kept bringing out more chairs for our guests, and they were to the right and left of the center table.


Joe reported that Terry Jordan noted that this was our 25th District Championship, to which Terry Reynolds added that it was our 22nd consecutive championship.  Joe also announced that two current members participated in all but one of the championship choruses:  Steve White and Randy Lazear.  Members were encouraged to download and view the video of our contest set from the M-AD website.


Carlos Barillo conducted the physical warm-up; Tony Colosimo the vocal warm-up before turning the chorus over to Joe.


Off the bat, Joe had the chorus sing through “Undecided” before asking POB members to join us on the risers.  He also briefed us on arrangements for the start of the show – that after the combined choruses performed “Undecided” we’d vamp while all the quartets that would appear later in the show would be introduced and come on the stage, after which we’d repeat the last part of the song as a finale.


With Tony coaching, Joe rehearsed the following songs we’ll be singing at other upcoming shows:  “I’ll Walk With God” and “Miller Medley.”  Chuck McKeever coached us through the choreo for the latter song.  Then the women were asked to join us on the risers for our joint rehearsal of “Undecided.”


HOH Show Producer, Ken Fess, provided information on the riser setup at Meyerhoff and other show-related arrangements.  And then we were back rehearsing.


Prior to the break, POB performed “Yes Sir That’s My Baby” for us and we reciprocated with “Someone Like You.”


Bob Blair conducted the business portion of the meeting. 

·        President Terry Reynolds announced that all four of the prospective community board members would be attending the board retreat on Saturday:  Josh Roots’ father, Steve Sutton, Liz Birnbaum (Dave Kohl’s wife), and Paul Dolinsky (election to follow soon after).

·        Terry also announced that our presentation score for our contest set on Saturday was not the highest ever received – our 1997 package took that honor.

·        Terry also announced a special rehearsal Thursday, November 6th, to go over/refresh the songs for the holidays.

·        Jim Lake asked for a round of applause for Shawn Tallant’s work in arranging our hotel and afterglow accommodations.

·        Secretary Chris Buechler presented Shawn his new membership card recognizing his 8 years of membership.

·        Rich Hewitt announced our next round of “open auditions” would be November 17th and introduced Walt Page and his daughter and Steve and Nick’s mother, Pam.  After Will Cox directed us in the “Harmonizer Welcome Song,” Joe Cerutti introduced Eric Wallen’s mother, Joan, who came hoping to see Eric in action … but, alas, Joe informed her that we rarely see him.

·        Joe explained that a new song for our Holiday Show, Randall Thompson’s “Alleluia,” will present a challenge for us … but asked that we be prepared to “nail it to the wall” at the chapter meeting on November 11th.


At the break we enjoyed some of the goodies left from the afterglow.


Back on the risers following the break, we worked “Thriller,” “Fa La La,” and “Welcome Christmas.”


As new member Nathan Ritter is leaving the area to seek his fortune in Chicago, we gave him “the chair” and sang “There Will Always Be A Place On The Risers For You” to him.


50-50 was won by Jacob George … but Bob Blair asked Nathan to “take us out” with “Keep The Whole World Singing,” which he did.


All the risers, etc., were then loaded on the truck in readiness for the HOH show next Monday night.


Until next time – (Alias YeEd)