Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Looking Back on Harmony College East and Our Parade Gig in June

Barbershoppers from all over M-AD and beyond gathered at Salisbury University June 18-21 for the annual Harmony College East for a weekend of classes, coaching, good food, shows, and most important – singing! New this year was a dedicated Tag Room, complete with tag sheets.


As you can well imagine, Harmonizers were very much involved all week. Singing in quartets on the Friday and Saturday night shows were Mike Wallen in YOUTH RECLAMATION PROJECT, Mike Kelly in LAST MEN STANDING, Bruce Minnick in  SURPRISE, Rick Taylor in  BSQ, and Pookie Dingle, Mike Pinto and Ken White in MAYHEM.


The Mt. Vernon chapter chorus, Harmony Heritage Singers, also came for a weekend of coaching and appeared on the Saturday night show.  Several Harmonizers appeared with that chorus included Chris Buechler, Drew Fuller, Chuck Harner, JT Price and Bob Wachter.


The Richmond Virginians were also coached and appeared on the Saturday evening show. Mike Wallen was director and Mike Geipel and Jim McConnell who are also singing with the Harmonizers were on stage.


Also at HCE for the weekend were Martin Banks, Bill Colosimo (faculty), Bob Eckman (staff) and Alan Wile (staff). Former Harmonizers and coaches at Salisbury included Gary Plaag (youth camp director), Mike Louque (faculty), Bob Hirsh, and Steve Tramack (faculty). The fun weekend lasted long into the evenings and even an appearance by the tropical storm on Saturday didn't dampen the singers as chords rang in the courtyard well into the morning hours.  (YeEd appreciate the write up from the weekend from Bob Eckman and notes from Alan Wile.)


Also this month 48 singers sang Saturday June 13th for Marriott Corp. in the Capital Pride Parade in DC.  The afternoon temperature was in the 90s and there were huge crowds.  But the crowd loved it when we burst onto the parade route and sang and danced to “Happy”.  Our guest soloist was Mark Allen. Greg Tepe helped coordinate the appearance that day – with two contingents of us spread out on two sides of the street in the crowds!! We were sponsored by Marriott and appeared as part of their #lovetravels campaign.  We met at one of their hotel properties at Rhode Island Ave., reviewed our plan, got ideas from choreographer Carlos Barillo for our appearance,  tested singing the song to a recording and got our t-shirts and sunglasses issued as part of the Marriott campaign. Director Joe and about a dozen guys met us their too after they had done the sound check on P Street. Chorus manager Mark Klostermeyer helped Greg move men into positions on the parade route.


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.


Monday, June 22, 2015

Looking Back on the June16th Chapter Meeting

Clearly this week was a work session in preparation for Pittsburgh. BUT a traffic accident on the Woodrow Wilson Bridge and a bad one on I-395 had the streets in Alexandria and all roads leading into Alexandria at a stand-still.  Only a few guys were there at 7, but a huge crowd managed to make it eventually.  Several of the Special Forces guys were in town too.  Thanks for that extra effort from all – some guys took several hours for a 30-minute trip.


The Durant Center was busy tho with costume wranglers at work helping many guys, chorus visual drills on the stage with Chuck McKeever, front row drills with Carlos Barillo in Room 2 and a bunch of guys raiding the cookies since they had to skip dinner to get to the meeting this week.


Associate director Tony Colosimo did the vocal warm ups and then director Joe Cerutti, along with Chuck, did drills for the uptune visuals. When a good number of singers made it, we went right to work singing spots in the songs and did that all nite.  At the end we did a package run-thru.


There were a lot of guests this week and many of them are prospective members.


Operations vp Todd Ryktarsyk conducted the chapter meeting about 8 pm.  Shawn Tallant reminded guys of the Thurs June 25 rehearsal at Bolling.  And he reviewed how to get onto the base.  Thanks to Stan Quick for collecting all the proper credentials and preparing the list for the guards at the gate. We are being hosted by the US Air Force Band in their facility for this rehearsal.


Pittsburgh chairman, Craig Kujawa, reminded us of important matters to manage: registration, Togetherness breakfast tickets, chorus photos, and helping with stocking the Harmo Hideaway with Rick and Peggy Wagner. A riser crew will be needed at our hotel on Tuesday afternoon – help if you can. Don Thompson is taking orders for Pittsburgh International Competitor t-shirts.  All sizes are $14. They come in all sizes. These shirts are not a Harmonizer uniform – just a way to show your support of the convention and that you are in a contest chorus.  Guys wear them around convention week.  Many of us will wear Harmo gear most of the week to help promote our image.


Ken Fess reported that he will be reordering Normandy t-shirts. Tell him if you want some.


President Terry Reynolds asked for families to help host a BING (Barbershop in Germany) ladies group.  Stan Quick will be coordinator.


And Terry reminded us of the major event next Tuesday nite at Durant – our International Send Off. We will wear our costumes and do our package at 8 pm for guests.  Members should arrive at 7 as usual. A large crowd is expected to come see us at our best.  We will be dressing at Durant.  There will be refreshments for all.


Membership vp Rich Hewitt introduced the many guests with us for the evening.


Chapter secretary Chris Buechler presented a membership renewal card to Don Dillingham for 6 years and first-time new member materials to Ron Precup.


In other news, huge kudos for our fellow Harmonizers connected with the West Potomac High School musical “Next To Normal” they held this past weekend.  Both David Jarzen and Ben Roberts were major players in this musical/play about mental health.  Director Peelee Clark told this audience before the performance that the school had decided to bring awareness to mental health for families and especially students.  Congrats to our men for their work and great performances.


More tough news for Bob Wachter. Bob received a call that his brother was not doing well. He flew to Pittsburgh and saw him in the morning and afternoon. His brother couldn’t talk but when he opened his eyes, Bob felt there was recognition. Twenty minutes after leaving, he received a call that his brother had died. Bob’s wife, Jean, was moved back to Fairfax Hospital recently too.


This week’s meeting ended and tag singing broke out right away with the guests.  Then a huge crowd made it over to LaPorta’s for an afterglow and more tag singing and good eats.



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.