Saturday, January 17, 2015

Looking Back on the January 13th Chapter Meeting

There was a lot going on at Durant last nite right from about 5:30 pm – folks digging thru a pile of costume pieces offered by Peelee Clark; a set up crew at work, FRIENDS IN HARMONY assembling to go to their annual first-of-the-year dinner, Chuck McKeever teaching a large crowd of guys the first part of the visual package for “Thriller” on the stage. Lots of guests were checking in at the kiosk. And still no baby for associate director Tony Colosimo and his wife.

He conducted the warm ups and welcomed director Joe Cerutti up front for the chorus. Right away, we embarked on musical work on the new uptune. We did some sectional work, some combined sectionals and then back to the risers. There were so many great suggestions from Joe and Tony – each guy just has to have a pencil and his music with him to make notes.

After the uptune we worked on “Thriller” as far as possible.

Tony did more barbershop craft regarding breathing techniques as compared to the example he offered on the screen from the Ambassadors in Harmony.

Operations vp Todd Ryktarsyk announced that NEXT WEEK’S MEETING WILL BE AT FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH.

Secretary Chris Buechler presented membership renewal cards to Michael Vlcej for 7 years; Lew Klinge for 13 years; Kris Zinkevich for 15 years; Brian Miller for 18 years; Rick Savage for 41 years. Drew Fuller received his card and a 25 year pin.

Honcho for our Pittsburgh trip, Craig Kujawa, reminded everyone that tonite is the deadline to get a convention registration at the “early bird” rate and be in the “Harmo seating Block” . See Ian Poulin.

President Terry Reynolds acknowledged Rick Wager was with us tonite, and asked members to sign up to attend the Presidents’ Banquet on Saturday, Feb. 7th, at Ft. Meyer. See Howard Nestlerode. He needs the name of all attendees for check in at the security gate on Post.

Membership vp Rich Hewitt welcomed some guys we have not seen for a while – Phil Ashford, Eric Wallen and Michael Vlcej. He also asked if anyone has an Ipad they don’t use and could let him use at the membership kiosk. Rich welcomed our guests.

We took a break – thanks to all those who brought in goodies to share (or to get out of the house so you can keep your New Year’s resolution).

After break, we were seated for a State of the Chapter report by the president and musical director. Some highlights from Terry: a quick review of the fantastic 2014 year; and the status of the current board including welcoming our newest board community board members Liz Birnbaum, Paul Dolinsky, John Roots and Steve Sutton. Terry shared results of the survey we took with the members at a fall retreat and offered some of the input of members as to what the chapter could do to make it easier to be a member. There were many good ideas. The survey showed that the highest quality our members liked about the Harmonizers is the desire for quality singing and the importance of fellowship.

Joe spoke about musical matters with the major thrust being we will be doing more music and using new techniques to help the singers succeed with some new musical leaders. Section leaders will serve for two-three year terms. Joe recognized long-serving section leaders Rick Savage, tenors, for 15 years; Tony Colosimo, leads, for 7 years; Ken Ives, baris, for 15 years; and Mike Kelly, basses, for 5 years. The new section leader team with be Rick Savage again for tenors, Josh DesPortes for leads, Reed Livergood for baris; and Andrew Havens and Jim Lake for basses.

Tony will continue as associate director, Terry will continue as assistant director, Mike Kelly will continue as assistant director and fill a new position for technology. Ken Ives will work to track musical changes in all mediums. Carlos Barrilo will continue as choreographer.

There will not be a long repertoire with lots of songs for show producers to choose from. We will likely not ever have 2-hours shows where we need to dig up songs to fill the time. Instead we will have a holiday repertoire, a patriotic repertoire, and show season repertoire (likely the songs for the major show that year such as the Icon Show coming in Sept 2015). We will have an annual Armed Forces Day show.

Terry passed out handy pocket-sized cards with the important dates of events in 2015. Everyone was asked to mark their family and personal calendars.

Sat. Jan 31 – retreat with Brandon Guyton coaching

Sat. Feb 7 – Presidents’ Award Banquet

Sun. Mar 8 – SingStrong show

Sat. Mar 21 – AcaChallenge

Sat. April 18 – Our Annual Youth Festival

Sat. May 16 – Armed Forces Day Show

Sat. Sun. May 30-31 – Contest Retreat in Western MD (many of us go on Fri nite)

Thurs. June 11 and 25 – extra contest rehearsals

Tues, June 23 – sendoff performance before going to Pittsburgh

June 30-Jul 3 – International convention and contest in Pittsburgh

Sat. Sept 19 – American Icon Show

Fri. Sat. Oct 23-24 – M-AD Fall District Contest and Convention

Our coaching staff has been lined up for ’15 also starting with Brandon on Jan.31st, Cindy Hansen on Tues. May 19 and June 16; and Brandon and David Wright for the weekend in Western Maryland.

Joe and Terry took several good questions from the members before we moved on to work on another icon show song.

Here are more details about the Presidents’ Award Banquet coming up Feb. 7th. This is the event each year we when gather together as the Harmonizer family to install our Board of Directors, acknowledge the successes of the previous year and the achievements of key individuals who made it a success, and socialize as friends.


We have a very special addition to this year's program. Barbershop Harmony Society (BHS) CEO Marty Monson will be joining us. In addition to installing our 2015 Board of Directors, Marty will speak to us about his vision for the future of BHS.


This year we are shifting back to a little more formal setting. This year's Presidents' Award Banquet will be held Saturday, Feb 7 at the Spates Club and Conference Center at Ft. Myers in Arlington, VA from 7:00 - 10:00 PM


214 McNair Rd

Bldg #407

Fort Myer, VA 22211


Detailed directions will be provided closer to the event, but note that we WILL need to provide the names of all attendees in advance to the Ft. Myer gate.


Dress is business casual (no jeans). Those that wish to dress up more are welcome to do so.


Tickets are $30 per person. Dinner will be a buffet including Chicken Marsala, Beef Stroganoff, and Baked Cod Fish.


Please indicate that you plan to attend by signing up at rehearsal Tuesday Jan 20. We would prefer that you provide payment in advance as well, but if you don't have the cash or check please go ahead and signup. We need the final count of attendees by Tues night Jan 20. Checks should be made out to the Alexandria Harmonizers. Remember if you are bringing a significant other or friend, we need their name as well. If you can’t be at the Jan 20 meeting, email Terry.


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.


Thursday, January 15, 2015

Looking Back on Harmonizer News from the BHS Mid Winter in New Orleansthe January 13th  Chapter Meeting

The Barbershop Harmony Society’s midwinter convention last week in New Orleans was fun, as always, if a bit on the cold side weatherize. Flights were an issue for those flying out last Tuesday with it snowing. Southwest cancelled flights out of Reagan National, as did other airlines. And folks leaving from Dulles had a several-hour delay. There were quite a number of Harmonizers there and many had leadership positions for the events.  (Thanks to Dixie Kennett for providing this wrap up report from the event.)


One of the highlights at the convention was a keynote address by our coach and friend, David Wright, on “The Future History of Barbershop.” This talk was recorded and will be transcribed for a future issue of the Harmonizer magazine.


The District President’s Council met on Tuesday night and all day on Wednesday before sitting in on Thursday’s BHS board meeting. M-AD District IPP Bill Colosimo and Ex VP Dennis Ritchey attended these meetings. Chris Buechler attended an all-day a Society Contest and Judging Committee meeting on Thursday (some of it in conjunction with the board meeting). John Santora was installed as a Society board member, beginning a three-year term.


Friday featured 17 youth choruses singing in the youth festival. Joe Cerutti, in his role as BHS staff Outreach Director, ran this event. Chris Buechler was the contest administrator. Friday evening’s show included performances by the Association of International Seniors Quartet Champs chorus with John Adams performing (John was part of the 1995 seniors champion quartet REMINISCE). The senior quartet contest was Saturday, where SATURDAY EVENING POST achieved the gold medal. Mike Wallen’s quartet, YOUTH RECLAMATION PROEJCT placed 21st.


Sunday morning, while lots of attendees were on their way out of town, Chuck Harner was attending a Harmony Foundation Board of Trustees meeting, where he serves as Secretary. Mike Kelly was working throughout the weekend videoing the youth activities.


Also attending the convention from the chapter were: Darryl Flinn, Tom Gannon, John Hohl, Chuck Hunter, Ross Johnson, Keith Jones, Sam McFarland, Alan Wile, and Ellen Dellert of FRIENDS IN HARMONY  also attended.


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

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Looking Back on the January 6th  Chapter Meeting and Other Holiday News

(Many thanks to Peter Hubbard for preparing this Looking Back report for the Jan. 6 meeting and for Sandy Stamps and Kevin Kaiser for making the coffee while YeEd was on travel in CO.)

Amid all the usual preparations for rehearsal on this first Tuesday of 2015, there was a palpable excitement for the New Year and the new program that we are beginning. President Terry Reynolds started us off by playing Thriller as our opening song. Promptly at 7pm, choreographer  Carlos Barillo began the rehearsal with a run-through of some visual exercises to help loosen us up and focus on always being in character. Associate Director (and soon-to-be dad) Tony Colosimo concluded the warm-up with a number of vocal exercises. It’s worth noting that warm-up was excellent!  It was clear that each Harmonizer had come to rehearsal to get some work done!


Director Joe Cerutti then took the reins and welcomed us with a few thoughts. In the New Year, he emphasized how important it is to have the responsibility to master our music. “We’ve always been hard workers. Now we have to work smarter.” In addition, he asked us to look at the calendar, where nearly every 2015 performance is posted, and commit to everything we are able to do.


We then broke into sectionals to run through the first two pages of “Me Ol’ Bamboo.” Sectionals then merged, with the baritones joining the leads in one room and the basses and tenors combining forces in the main room. When everyone had re-assembled, standing in sections, we ran through “Me Ol’ Bamboo” and began learning the nuances and contours of our contest up-tune. Then Carlos led the chorus through the chilling choreography to “Thriller.”


At break, this year’s operations vp Todd Ryktarsyk conducted the announcements side of things. President Terry Reynolds mentioned that the Presidents’ Dinner will be held this year on February 7 at Fort Myer rather than at Durant. Sing Strong show will be on Sunday, March 8 and will include “Thriller.” Finally, Terry mentioned an upcoming email to solicit ideas for what we can do individually to make the Harmonizers the best it can be in 2015.


Calvin Schnure made an announcement about the Atlantic Harmony Brigade (August 14-16) – anyone interested in quarteting at this fun event should speak with him. Craig Kujawa took questions on Pittsburgh.


Drew Fuller mentioned that he and three others (Drew, tenor; Bob Blair, lead; Ken Rub, baritone; Bruce Minnick, bass;) rose to the occasion to sing at Al Harmon’s retirement – and grabbed a $500 check for the Harmonizers for their effort. Thank you gentlemen!


Finally, this year’s membership vp Rich Hewitt introduced all our guests. Rich mentioned that we currently have 119 currently committed to sing in Pittsburgh, but now is the time to invite guests and get new folks on the risers!


After the break, Tony had us all listen to a clip of the Ambassadors of Harmony, then a clip of the Alexandria Harmonizers, to compare how well each chorus lives up to “Awesome Breath Equals Awesome Tone.” We spent some time exercising this craft maxim and drilling it into our routine. And remember: A good breath gives a good tone, and a great breath gives a great tone. But only an awesome breath gives awesome tone!


To wrap up rehearsal, we ran through Billy Joel’s “Lullaby” then revisited an important theme from the night. Namely, with triple the music to learn this year, we absolutely must make progress each week. It is everyone’s duty to carve out the time to ingrain each rehearsal into our brains so that we can move forward each week. Always ask yourself: what am I doing to make the Harmonizers the best chorus it can be?


In other holiday news, some Harmonizers went over to Glen Burnie on Tues. Dec. 30th for the annual Blast party and quartet contest, hosted by the Dundalk Chapter.  It is always a tag singer’s paradise with a fun put-together-on-the-fly quartet contest.



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.