Monday, March 23, 2015

Looking Back on the March 21st Aca Challenge Event

The Harmonizers hosted its second Aca Challenge at Lincoln Theater on U Street in DC (This theater was once part of Black Broadway and is a landmark.) on Saturday, March 21st at 8 pm.


The chapter invited DC area a cappella groups to audition – about 30 submitted materials and 6 were chosen to compete. The competitors this year are

  • The Virginia Sil’hooettes, the University of Virginia’s most award-winning female group;
  • Vox Pop, a mixed vocal band based in DC for the past ten years;
  • The Allnighters, an all-male group based at Johns Hopkins University that has competed numerous times in the International Collegiate Championship of A Cappella;
  • The District, DC’s newest all-female vocal band;
  • The GW Vibes, a mixed group from George Washington University that has performed at notable venues throughout DC; and,
  • Tomorrow’s Harmony, a new all male group based in Northern Virginia that showcases a wide variety of repertoire.

The chapter offered a $1000 first prize.  Judges for the event were Amanda Cornaglia of Clear Harmonies, Danny Ozment of Emerald City Productions and Judy Fontana director of Stiletta and the DC Single Singers. Also the audience was invited to vote via text during the contest for their favorite.


First place winner was Vox Pop.  They received their “big” check presented by last year’s winners Word of Mouth, who have also appeared with the Harmonizers during the year.


Second place was The District; third place was GW Vibes; and the audience favorite was UVA Sil'hooettes.


Emcee for the night was Jonathan Minkoff who was emcee for the recent SingStrong show event where the chorus sang.


Shows vp Nick Leiserson, shows producer Greg Tepe  and Aca Challenge show producer Todd Ryktarsyk assembled a team of chapter members to make the event a success including an all-important crew from the FRIENDS IN HARMONY  who worked back stage and in the lobby and auditorium.  As usual there was a hard-working riser crew that got the truck there and unloaded.  The chorus chipped in too. The tech crew of Mike Kelly and Dennis Ritchey made the show come alive including some broadcasting to others fans. The music team of director Joe Cerutti, associate director Tony Colosimo and choreographer Carlos Barillo helped the chorus prepare for the chorus presentation of “Thriller,” “Lullaby,” “Stars and Stripes Forever,” and “Sweet Caroline.”


The song package was a huge success with this mostly young a cappella-fan-crowd that filled the auditorium and balcony. They particularly reacted to our “Thriller” package with the smog on the stage when the curtain opened, and when the front row guys crawled off the stage into the front row of the audience – almost. (We had fun outside during warm ups with onlookers and a group of young folks on the roof of a nearby apartment building who cheered and tired to get us to sing a song request!) The audience also cheered wildly for our own TBD modern a cappella group with their new mics and enlarged group. Great to have Tom Kraus on hand with them.


The 80-man chorus assembled about 5:30 pm and did most of our prep outside in the parking lot except for the sound check and stage check time we had.  Our uniform was the black suit, hidden button white shirt, black/red/gray tie and pocket stuffer, dress black shoes, black sox and belt. No medals.


Just before going onstage, Joe paid tribute to Skip Coburn, a 26-year member of the Harmonizers, who died unexpectedly while fighting pneumonia on Thursday, March 19th, at Howard University Hospital. Skip had not sung with us in recent years, but was a major salesman of White House ornaments, was remembered for helping us shoot off a confetti cannon in a contest package at International in the past, often organized theater parties for the Harmo family, and was instrumental in the beginning stages of providing learning materials for each member when he would reproduced cassette tapes for guys singing each part. He was an Air Force officer and currently serving as executive director of the DC Nightlife Association. He was 70.


There was a fun and successful afterglow across the street from the theater at the Ulah Bistro.  (Thanks to Ken Rub for locating this venue.)


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 67th year of the Alexandria Harmonizer Chapter. —YeEd.


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