Thursday, August 6, 2015

Looking Back on the July 28th Hospital Sing and Aug 4th Chapter Meeting

On Tuesday July 28th, we continued a many-year tradition of singing at Alexandria Hospital in July – usually right after International convention or when many men in the musical leadership team are out of town for Harmony University.  Because all the directors were gone, assistant director emeritus Will Cox did the honors.  Men wore some kind of Harmo logo shirts for the occasion.  According to Alan Wile, reporter, “We began to gather in the lobby at 6:30 p.m. Will warmed us up. With Community VP Clyde Crusenberry in the lead, we were on our way through the wards by 7:10. We sang at the nursing stations. Songs included “Sweet and Lovely,” “Sweet Caroline,”  “Stars & Stripes Forever,”  “Lullaby,”  “Let Me Call You Sweetheart,” “Heart of My Heart,”  and even “Jingle Bells.” We were done by 8:20 and dispersed. There were 24 of us.


Tuesday, Aug. 4 it was back to our normal routine.  Many hands were at work for set up, getting refreshments ready (including left overs from the picnic when we hosted the German ladies’ chorus recently – who by-the-way thanked the chapter during their show appearance at Harmony U last week), and welcoming many guests and helping applicants work on their audition songs.

The risers were full and director Joe Cerutti was in good spirits after taking over from bari section leader, Reed Livergood,  who did the vocal warm ups.

 Joe shared that his voice was worn and he was tired from his week away at Harmony University.  Joe (who was a dean of part of the school; associate director Tony Colosimo who taught and coached; tech advisor Mike Kelly who helped the HU staff; president Terry Reynolds who taught/coached leadership for choruses; and choreographer Carlos Barillo who coached choruses and quartets enrolled for the school were all on the staff of  the week-long BHS school held at Belmont College in Nashville. Four members of the chapter attended the school (YeEd heard that all enrolled in the director’s college aspect of the week) – three of our section leaders: Andrew Havens, Josh DesPortes, Reed Livergood; and Chris Buechler.

Joe also shared the successful efforts for the BHS to invite non-barbershopper music educators to HU – there were 100 attending this year from 14 countries. 

Joe shared the good news that had come out earlier in the day from Rick and Peggy Wagner that Rick was declared cancer free!!!  You can bet that brought about a huge cheer of congratulations.

Our first singing for the nite was to sing one of the tag’s Joe taught us during our prep for the Pittsburgh contest.  It was written by Gene Cokeroft, a giant in the BHS, who died just prior to HU. 

Then we went right to work on the songs for the Market Square show at Market Square in Old Town Alexandria. The show is at 7:30.  Chorus call is 6:30 with riser crew at 6. Uniform is black chorus shirt, jeans with black accessories. Plus your medal. Stay tuned for final word from chapter leadership in case of cancelation due to predicted rain that nite. New members are welcome to come sing songs they know.  Family members are urged to come too – bring chairs to sit on.  Park under the Square. If you park on the street, be sure to prepare to feed the meter late into the evening!

Shows vp Nick Leiserson announced tickets for our fall show went on sale, online on Aug. 2nd.  "AMERICAN ICON", is our concert tribute to some of America's greatest male popular singers (including Nat King Cole, Billy Joel, Frank Sinatra, Bruno Mars, Johnny Cash, Pharrell Williams, and Michael Jackson). The shows are Saturday, September 19 at Schlesinger Concert Hall and Arts Center, 4916 East Campus Dr., Alexandria, VA 22311.) at 2 pm and 8 pm. Tickets prices range from $20 to $32 with box seats at $50. Parking is available onsite. For more information, go to

Bruce Lauther offered one more week for guys to get their Pittsburgh medals engraved. $8 paid when you turn in the medal to him.

Ken Fess offered free CDs he had collected during his years of membership – free to any takers.  The chapter history team got first-look to get a complete set of the CDs that our chapter produced.  Thanks Ken.

President Terry Reynolds shared that Steve Szyszka was to appear on TV Wednesday morning early where he is singing in a choir that is appearing at the Knights of Columbus convention in Philadelphia.

Terry reported a number of health situations for our members:  John Pence is facing a move to Hospice care now and is eager to hear from his brother Harmonizers; Ross Johnson fell and broke his leg; and Darryl Flinn who just was 80 recently is battling a serious bacterial infection. When Jeremy Richardson arrived Joe noticed the sling – Jeremy had some major shoulder surgery and is doing therapy now.

Calendar reminders: all sectionals Sat. Aug 15 at First Baptist at 9 am.

And Aug 25th is our annual trip down to Manassas to sing for all of the other barbershop chapters in the area at the event called “Dog Days” – an extra event during these hot summer days when many chapter take the nite off.  The event is hosted by the Manassas Chapter who provides refreshments too.  We sing last so more of our guys can get on down there after work.  Watch for exact details. Guys who can’t sing should plan to come too – it is fun to share the nite with our buddies from nearby chapters.  Families are welcome to attend this event too. Good chance for family and friends of the many new members to hear the chapter in performance.

President Terry reports that the chapter board did in fact vote to form a 501(c)3 organization, Alexandria Harmonizers, Inc., at the board meeting recently. Related to that - Terry proudly shared that the BHS had invited major chorus/chapter groups to send representatives to a pre-HU think tank session.  Our leaders, which YeEd heard included community board member Liz Birnbaum, met with reps from the Vocal Majority, Great Northern Union, Toronto Northern Lights, Ambassadors of Harmony, Sound of the Rockies.  One of things they learned is that we are just one chapter who is forming a related not-for-profit organization.

After break we worked more on songs for the Icon show coming up Sept. 19th.

In other news, YeEd got this nice note from Peggy and Rick Wagner after they visited the widow of past Harmo president Jack Shields: Rick, April, and I just had a wonderful visit with Ginny Shields and daughter Marrianne and son-in-law Rob Henry in Irvine, CA. Ginny is now living with Marianne, and she is enjoying the wonderful weather in California. Even though she is in a wheelchair due to leg weakness and pain, she is doing very well and gets along nicely. She enjoys exercise, meditation, and ukulele classes. She said to tell all of the Harmonizers hi, and she misses everybody back in VA. We talked a lot about Jack and reminisced about the "good ole days" with the chorus and at Massanutten. By the way, she is selling the Massanutten house if anyone is interested. We had a great time!! And she sends her congratulations to everyone! – Peggy

Kudos to the fine coverage in the recent district newsletter, Mid ‘L Antics, by our marketing guys Dave Branstetter.

Another good sized crowd of members and guests came to the afterglow at LaPortas at 1600 Duke Street where there is lots of good tag singing for those who want to join in.  And there is plenty of fellowship and food 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.