Thursday, February 5, 2015

Looking Back on the Jan 31st Retreat and Feb 3rd Chapter Meeting

The all-day retreat on Saturday Jan. 31st was a huge success in that 103 singers attended, our coach Brandon Guyton taught us some fantastic new skills, our musical and admin leaders were prepared to help make things go smoothly.


Early arrivals enjoyed coffee (Jack Pitzer and Kevin Kaiser), donuts (Chuck McKeever), and plenty of water bottles (also Chuck). The choir suite at First Baptist was a good work space for the day.


Assistant director Mike Kelly did the vocal warm ups.  When Brandon arrived wearing a Harmonizer logo shirt, the guys cheered.  And then he confessed, his luggage didn’t make it and so he borrowed clothes from director Joe Cerutti.


Joe welcomed some new special forces guys to the risers – Mike Fasano and Alan Lamson (who actually went with us to Normandy).


Mid-day we took time for lunch off campus and in the afternoon, we had some sectional breakouts. The morning was mostly all work on the ballad and the afternoon a dig-into-it-session on the uptune.


Good news is that Brandon will be back to work with us, along with David Wright, for our weekend retreat in Western Maryland, May 29-30.


Tuesday nite then, we continued the progress on the contest package.


First off, a large group of men came for the 6 pm training session on the stage with Chuck McKeever, and the front row guys worked in the lobby on their routines with choreographer Carlos Barillo.


To start the main meeting, Carlos did some warm up exercises and then associate director Tony Colosimo did the vocal warm ups.  Great to have Tony in the house for a couple hours this week after the recent birth of his daughter.  He thanked everyone for their wishes, support and outpouring of family support.


When director Joe Cerutti took over, he thanked Chris Huber for spearheading the tribute for retiring assistant director Will Cox.


And Joe announced that another Harmonizer is working for the BHS – Carlos will work from his home in the DC Metro area on the outreach team and on the convention organizing team. Congrats to Carlos.  Great addition to the BHS operation.


Joe expressed his excitement about the retreat with Brandon.  And jumped right into polishing what we learned.


We worked on contest songs and new songs for the American Icon show in Sept.


Before break we had out weekly chapter meeting. Operations vp Todd Ryktarsyk managed the meeting time.  Chris Huber gave more details about the Tues, Feb. 10th tribute for Will, at 8 pm during next week’s meeting.  Former members and Harmonizer family are all encouraged to attend. There will be refreshments too.


Howard Nestlerode is collecting the $30 payments for the Sat. Feb. 7 Presidents’ Award Banquet at the Spates Club and Conference Center at Ft. Myers in Arlington, VA from 7:00 - 10:00 PM. Address is 214 McNair Rd, Bldg #407, Fort Myer, VA 22211. Dress is business casual (no jeans). The buffet dinner will include Chicken Marsala, Beef Stroganoff, and Baked Cod Fish. No table assignments will be made in advance. Each table will seat eight.


Our chapter honcho for Pittsburgh, Craig Kujawa, announced that anyone wanting housing in the chapter’s assigned hotel, the Wyndam Grand, needs to make reservations by April 1st using the link provided by Craig in a previous Pittsburgh newsletter.


Secretary Chris Buechler presented membership renewal cards to Brian Ammerman for 21 years, Bob Sutton for 31 years (great to see Bob with us for this week), and Mark Klostermeyer for 34 years.


President Terry Reynolds reminded everyone about the vocal self-evaluation process and the need to submit a form.  Terry also mentioned he thought all the members would be proud to check out the chapter’s annual report on the chapter’s website.


Membership vp Rich Hewitt introduced out guests for this week, reminded us to invite guys to sign up for the Open Audition on Wed. Feb. 11th at Durant, and asked again if anyone has an old I-pad for the membership kiosk.  Rich also lead us in singing Happy Birthday for Ellen Dellert.


After the break, we worked more on our new music, we did some sectional work with all of our new section leaders in action (Rick Savage actually repeating for the tenors; Josh DesPortes for the leads; Reed Livergood for the baritones; and Andrew Havens and Jim Lake for the basses) and we had a great drill on the performance package for “Thriller” that we will be debuting soon.


Joe ended the singing with some good comments about our progress on the new uptune!!  All the guys pitched in to put equipment away, clean up the hall, get refreshment gear away, and hurry off to the afterglow.


There was a good bit of excitement in the hall before the meeting about costumes for Pittsburgh.


The FRIENDS IN HARMONY remind us that the scrip program is going to run a little differently from last year, with fewer in-person sales and more focus on pre-orders. Each month they place one big batch order with the scrip center and deliver the cards on the second Tuesday of the month. If you have questions, contact scrip sales chairman, Christina Ammerman, Her recent email message to all members explained lots of detail on how it works.


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.