Thursday, March 5, 2015

Looking Back on the March 3rd Chapter Meeting

The set up crew was at First Baptist early this week to get risers up and lots of recording equipment in place for the evening’s session.  A number of men brought pieces of carpeting to put on the floor – we used the middle section (under the balcony where the quartet sings Five Golden Rings for the holiday show) with the divider walls up.  The FRIENDS IN HARMONY  staffed the guest set up in the first hall once the recording session was underway.


Mike Kelly, Doug White, Dennis Ritchey and Jack Cameron worked with the sound set up and the sound engineer who came to help.  Many hands worked for all the other setup. Bob Blair kept his handy WD40 spray can at the ready as squeaks were discovered in the risers – even after an early evening effort to prevent the noises.


Carlos Barillo and Rich Hewitt did the warm ups this week.


Director Joe Cerutti and associate director Tony Colosimo worked with the chorus and recording session on “Thriller,” “Lullaby,” and “Someone Like You” for the nite.


Chapter learned that Steve White’s brother died unexpectedly this week and that Alan Kousen’s son was in an accident.


The combined sectionals last Saturday were a profitable time for the chorus. They were held at
Convergence Church on Quaker Lane.


Operations vp Todd Ryktarsyk conducted the chapter meeting. He reminded all that next week’s meeting is back at Durant and coach Brandon Guyton will be with the chorus again.


This weekend’s gig is with SingStrong.  Chorus call is at noon at South Lakes High School, 11400 South Lakes Drive, Reston. Uniform is black casual logo shirt and blue jeans, comfortable black shoes. No medals and no visible t-shirts.  NOTE:  Sunday is also time change date for DST!!


Ken Rub plugged Aca Challenge advertising sales for the printed program. Contact him if you personally or have a business contact that might want to purchase a half-page ad.  Price sounded pretty reasonable.


Sandy Stamps invited members to invite their wives or significant others to attend a meeting of the FRIENDS IN HARMONY next Tuesday nite at 7:01 pm at Durant.


Pittsburgh International convention coordinator for us, Craig Kujawa, will be issuing another newsletter with details about an economical chapter travel opportunity to Pittsburgh. Also he AGAIN reminded guys to make housing reservations in the chapter hotel block.


Membership vp Rich Hewitt introduced guests – several as a result of our Open Auditions.


After the meeting, we stopped recording and worked on the performance plans for the shows for the SingStrong show on Sunday including “Sweet Caroline.”



Christina Ammerman and the FRIENDS IN HARMONY remind us of buying scrip cards this time of year.. If you wish to purchase gift cards, please order by 10 AM on this Friday, March 6. Your cards will be available at the March 10 rehearsal; please be prepared to pay that evening or send a check ahead of time. Great uses for scrip include purchases you make anyway, such as groceries, Honey baked ham or turkey for religious holidays, gas, restaurants, travel, and gifts. (You can give the scrip as gifts or use it to buy the gifts.) The full list of merchants is available alphabetically or by category on the home page of This is also a great time to think about your upcoming spring projects. For example, Home Depot and Lowe's both offer scrip.


YeEd was at lunch with Craig Kujawa this week and watched him buy a scrip card at the restaurant, and use it to get the Harmonizers a good rebate for his purchases. He used his cell phone to make the transaction. Pretty cool.  He has a number of scrip cards he uses routinely.  Ask him for more details.


A good crowd made it over to the afterglow this week too!!


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.


Looking Back on the February 24th Chapter Meeting

It was cold outside, but the Harmonizers turned out, ready to get to work on the music and stage presence for our performances.


A huge riser swap was orchestrated to change the old risers and the new risers in the truck vs storage.  Good to see so many guys helping.


The front row worked from 6 pm with choreographer Carlos Barillo and the rest of the chorus worked with Chuck McKeever – all to drill stage routines.


Carlos did some visual warm ups; baritone section leader Reed Livergood did vocal warm ups and turned the chorus over to associate director Tony Colosimo.  Director Joe Cerutti was on travel. 


Tony revamped chorus riser positions while the chorus worked on the performance package for “Thriller” which we sing in a couple weeks for the SingStrong event Sun. March 8.  Assistant director Terry Reynolds will direct this number and do the voice over during the vamp section.


Carlos alerted us to a new Performance Standard document or set of guidelines for each singer’s personal work.  It will come out electronically. This standard will become part of the visual self-evaluation form.  It gives emphasis to three major areas for the performer – Character Development, Communications, Choreography.


After the riser reshuffle, we worked on two of our other new songs – “Lullaby” and “Sweet Caroline.”


Operations vp Todd Ryktarsyk conducted the chapter meeting. He reminded everyone that next week’s meeting and rehearsal will be at First Baptist, 2932 King St. where we will do a recording session.  Chapter technology coordinator Mike Kelly asks guys to bring large pieces of carpet to place on the floor to help manage the sound.  And Bob Blair asked for a crew to come early to help use WD40 on the risers to cut down on the extra noises.


Secretary Chris Buechler presented membership renewal cards to Clyde Crusenberry for 5 years, Bob Rhome for 14 years, Tom Kerns for 17 years, Mike Fasano for 19 years, TJ Jones for 24 years and Dean Rust was presented his 35 year pin and membership card.


Our Pittsburgh chairman, Craig Kujawa, prompted everyone to make their room reservations immediately in order to use up our block.  Bob Rhome who is working with Craig on housing offers to help anyone who needs the link to the hotel or has questions.


President Terry Reynolds reminded everyone about Aca Challenge coming up on Mar. 21 at Lincoln Theater.  The chorus needs to push ticket sales so the house is full for the contestants and for our appearance there.


Terry announced the Jean Wachter is in recovery from her heart surgery at Inova Hospital and is making progress thru these tough days.  Lew Manfre had a heart event earlier this week and is in the process of doctor visits and such to take care of the situation.


Terry then recapped the annual awards ceremony and presented two more awards to men who could not attend the banquet.  A complete report of that event was sent to all members last nite after the chapter meeting. 


Membership vp Rich Hewitt reported on the successful Open Auditions last week and then introduced a number of guests with us after that event, plus other guests who found us (both are former barbershop singers from the Far Western District who are now working in the area).


Rich asks guys to follow up and join the online “Meet Up” group.


After the break, we worked on the uptune with Tony and with Carlos teaching the visual plan for the first part of the song.  Before we adjourned the front row joined us to add their part of the plan.


Harmonizers, especially new members, might wish to consider attending Harmony College East (HCE). For those who are not familiar with this weekend event (and even if you’ve attended in the past), here are the basics and some of the details:

HCE is held in our backyard, on the campus of Salisbury University. It is on the weekend of June 18-21 (Thursday evening through Saturday night ... with departure normally early Sunday morning). Attendees stay in the dorms, eat all meals in the large cafeteria, take classes on various subjects such as music theory, vocal training, performance skills, directing, chorus voice coaching, planning a great chapter meeting, components of a great chapter show, repertoire arrangements from BHS, etc. Also included will be a mass sing prior to the Friday night show, a master class given by a top international quartet prior to the Saturday night show, and a room reserved for informal quartetting (with copies of lots of tags available).  There are shows on Friday and Saturday nights

The cost is $215 per person for three nights (double occupancy), six meals, individualized and group instruction, and all sorts of opportunities to meet district barbershoppers and sing, sing, sing. For all the details about classes, schedule, etc., check out this link:

In other news, Jane Arberg, widow of our famous former chorus director, Bud Arberg, died Feb. 20.  She was 96 and still lived in Arlington, VA.  There will be a service in the future at Arlington Cemetery. Bud was our director from 1951-62 in the early years of our chapter.  He earned a reputation as the originator of the term barbershop craft in the Barbershop Harmony Society, and worked for the US Army as an arranger of songs for service men to sing.  Check out that story in the chapter’s Breathless Moments history book.   (Sunshine chairman - Jack Pitzer)

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.


Sunday, March 1, 2015

Looking Back on the Chapter Award Banquet and Installation of 2015 Officers

This year’s Presidents’ Award Banquet was at Ft. Myer on Saturday nite, Feb. 7th.  This was our 41st banquet event and a return to the club at Ft. Myer.  Over 100 of the Harmonizer family attended the buffet banquet.  Keynote speaker for this year was Marty Monson, CEO of the Barbershop Harmony Society.


Our 2014 chapter president Terry Reynolds served as master of ceremonies for the event.  Social hour and was from 7 to 7:45, then Terry invited folks to find their seats at the tables which had been decorated by the FRIENDS IN HARMONY.  One of the tables up front was the table purchased at the silent auction at our holiday show that allowed the purchaser to be seated with our director and guest speaker.  Terry then invited tables to enjoy the buffet and desserts (which included the huge chocolate birthday cake in honor of Harold Weinberger).


After the meal, Terry began the formal program with thanks to the FRIENDS and their president Christina Ammerman; Steve Murane and Alan Wile – his most recent past presidents; and Scipio Garling, his administrative assistant.


Each year this event is hosted by the past presidents of the chapter – thus the name Presidents’ banquet.  There were 11 presidents attending this year: Steve Murane, 2011-12; Brad Jones, 2009; Mick Stamps, 2008; Rick Wagner, 2005; Ken Fess, 2004; Bob Wells, 1996; Chris Buechler, 1995; Terry Jordan, 1984-85; Chuck Harner, 1979-80; Alan Wile, 2013-2007-1997-98; and Jack Pitzer, 1976 (the first Presidents’ Ball was during his term – some years the event has been even more formal and other years it has been a potluck). To continue a tradition begun at the first banquet, each man presented a rose to his wife or significant other as we sang “Let Me Call You Sweetheart.”


Terry shared he “felt like a high school class leader inviting the president of the United States to speak at graduation” when he invited Marty Monson, the fairly new CEO of the BHS to speak at our banquet. When Marty said yes, it was great news.  Marty has been in office about 2 years and has proven he is not afraid to shake things up and challenge the old ways of doing things.  No wonder he was such a good fit for our chapter.  Marty was a major leader of the Hilltop chapter in MN for many years.


When he was introduced there was a little banter about his hiring Harmonizers for the BHS staff as way to take the Alexandria chapter out of the running in the chorus competition.  But everyone knew it was in the spirit of fun from one-great-chapter-to-another.


His remarks about challenges for the BHS and for chapters like ours were on target.


After his spoke, Marty installed the officers and board members for 2015:


President – Terry Reynolds

VP - Chapter Development (Membership) – Rich Hewitt

VP - Music & Performance – Steve White

VP - Operations – Todd Ryktarsyk
VP - Shows – Nick Leiserson
VP - Marketing & PR – Dave Branstetter

Secretary – Chris Buechler
Treasurer – Carl Kauffmann
2014-2015 Members at Large – Ross Felker, Mike Gilmore, who continue from last year

And our first community representatives, 2015-2016 Members at Large

Liz Birnhaum (likely the first female board member of any BHS chapter and currently serving as chair of the chapter’s governance committee)

Paul Dolinsky (our connection with the Masonic Lodge at the George Washington Memorial in Alexandria where we have sung and held events)

John Roots (a leadership and board operation consultant for our board)

Steve Sutton (member of the chapter’s new development committee and brainchild for the successful holiday show fundraiser)

Immediate Past President – Alan Wile


Officers of our FRIENDS IN HARMONY for 2015 are Christina Ammerman, president; Sandra Stamps, immediate past president; Sandi Ulibarri, secretary; and Ellen Dellert, treasurer.


Continuing the award nite, Terry recognized his 2014 board that served with him and provided chapter leadership for a great year!  (See the recent 2014 In Review “Looking Back” column).


The board for 2014 was


President – Terry Reynolds

VP - Chapter Development (Membership) – Jeremy Richardson

VP - Music & Performance – Steve White

VP - Operations – Bob Blair
VP - Shows – Nick Leiserson
VP - Marketing & PR – Noah Van Gilder

Secretary – Chris Buechler
Treasurer – Dave Welter
Member at Large – Ross Felker, Mike Gilmore, and Josh Roots, Greg Tepe

Immediate Past President – Alan Wile


Moving on, Terry introduced the many “riser rats” who continually execute the hard work to set up the risers, sound equipment, refreshments, guest chairs, admin table, screen and av equipment, membership sign-in kiosk and member picture board.


Dean Rust

Dean Sherick

Shawn Tallant

Brian Ammerman

Clyde Crusenberry

Carl Kauffmann

Ross Felker

Howard Nestlerode

Calvin Schnure

Chris Yates

Ken Rub

Reid Livergood

Joel Golden

Don Harrington

Peter Hubbard

Stan Quick

Jeremy Richardson

Bob Rhome

Alan Wile

Bob Blair

Don Dillingham

Mike Edison

Gary Fuller

Craig Kujawa

Craig Odell

Todd Ryktarsyk

Doug White


Terry also acknowledged the musical team of director Joe Cerutti and the assistant directors, section leaders and visual team of row leaders, coach Chuck McKeever and choreographer Carlos Barillo.


Terry used his presidential prerogative to present three Meritorious Service Awards for exceptional service to the chapter. 


The first recipient was Al Herman who has been a member for over 30 years and is one of the rare members that after no longer singing on the risers still makes a major contribution. Al has been a longtime finance committee chair (including budget management).


The second recipient was Rick Savage who has been the tenor section leader for many many years and continues today. He has been instrumental in chorus uniform selection, a front row guy and a champion quartet singer.


The third recipient was Scipio Garling who has provided leadership when it was needed for the board and chapter operations in new areas such as the research for expanding our community relations and board expansion.  He helped prepare the proposal for the BHS to allow us to elect community board members and has assisted the Society in rolling out this program.


And then we honored these recipients of the six chapter memorial awards given each year with a description of the award.


New Note of the Year Award

 (Nominated by the President, VP-Membership/Chapter Development, and VP-Operations; selected by the Board of Directors).  Given to a Harmonizer who has contributed outstanding service to the Chapter in his first year of membership.  All new members for the previous 18 months prior to October 31 of the current year will be considered.  Attendance, attitude, and accomplishments of duties, both volunteer and assigned, shall be considered.


2014 recipient – Todd RyktarsykIt is hard to realize Todd is a new member.  He has integrated himself into work and leadership roles in the chapter. He is in the front row, sings in TBD, helps with sound operations, produced a show and is an officer for the coming year.


Spirit of Harmony Award

 (Selected by the Board of Directors).  Presented to the Harmonizer who during the past year best exemplified the fundamental Society membership qualities of congeniality and good character and worked hardest to encourage participation in vocal harmony by Chapter visitors and members.  The awardee must reflect the spirit and ideals of O.C. Cash (Society founder) by his enthusiasm for good fellowship and good harmony and by his unselfish dedication to and obvious joy in barbershopping.

2014 recipient – Chris Huber – Chris is an unfailing booster of that we do and his enthusiastic spirit was instrumental in getting the Armed Forces Day concert to happen; and was the kingpin behind the tribute for Billie D. Harris and recognition for his widow, Peggy, during our trip to Normandy, France.


Ibbianne and Wilbur Sparks Award

 (Selected by the Board of Directors).  Given to recognize the important contribution of Harmonizer family teams to the success and well-being of the Chapter.  The award will be made only to a truly outstanding team which has contributed greatly both in volume and quality of services over a period of time.  The team can be a Harmonizer and any family member or significant other.

2014 recipient – Christina and Brian Ammerman Christina and Brian have contributed to show productions back stage, with props, and general helpfulness.  They also have helped forge a new and broader identity for our booster club, FRIENDS IN HARMONY, including her election as their president.  She has become manager of our scrip fundraiser program.


Harmonizer Honor Award

 (Selected by the Board of Directors).  Given to a Harmonizer for service which is above and beyond the usual service expected of members during the past year.  It is not intended as a reward for discharging a single specific duty, but for continuous service in several activities.


2014 recipient – Randall ElliasonRandall came to us after years of barbershop experience in other chapters, but he jumped right in and became a part of our chapter as a leader who gets things done.  He helped with visuals, was co-chair of the successful silent auction in December, and organizer of the Armed Forces Day concert before we left for Normandy.


Oz Newgard Memorial Award

 (Nominated by the President, VP-Music & Performance, and Musical Director; Selected by  the Board of Directors).  Presented in memory of Oz Newgard (Musical Director 1962-70).  It is given to the Harmonizer who has made a significant contribution to the musical program of the Chapter during the past year.  The awardee's contribution need not be highly visible or of a technical musical character, but it must be related directly to the musical program. It should show the intent to make the musical program superior and enjoyable for all members.  The awardee should be a dedicated Harmonizer who has endeavored to improve the Chapter image in the Society and in the Alexandria community through musical excellence.  Any Harmonizer who has been a chapter member for more than one year shall be eligible for the award.


2014 recipient – Carlos Barillo Carlos joined as a singer but soon offered to help us in other performance matters to a point where he has become our visual coach, choreographer and teacher.  His skills and talents expand our performances as well as those of other chapters in the BHS.


Harmonizer Memorial Award

 (Selected by the Board of Directors).  Presented in memory of those men who died while members of the Chapter.  It is the highest recognition which the Chapter can bestow on a member.  It is given to the Harmonizer who, during his entire period of chapter membership, has devoted himself most unselfishly in rendering outstanding service to the Chapter.  The award is made only to a truly outstanding member who has regularly attended Chapter activities and who has contributed greatly both in volume and quality of services over a long period of time.

2014 – Brad Jones Brad  has distinguished himself as a contributor in performance leadership, serving as a row captain and quadrant leader for the visual team, and as a music vice president of great accomplishment.  His legal and organizational expertise has helped in a score of positions and a hundred projects.  He’s led us as our chapter president, and has been at the forefront of many of our greatest innovations, including the Youth Harmony Festival, which he’s organized for many years; the Silent Auction, which under his hand has earned the chapter tens of thousands of dollars; and our recent trip to China, which not only gave us a wonderful experience as individuals but has helped change the chapter’s view of itself as a world-class organization and vastly broadened our horizons


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.