Friday, August 28, 2015

Looking Back on the Aug 25th Dog Days Event in Manassas; Passing of John Hohl

According to the hosts from the Prince William County Chapter, last night's annual gathering of BHS chapters to sing for each other during the August summer Dog Days was the best attended ever!  According to reporter Keith Jones, the hall was full.  The hosts actually had to set up additional chairs.  The refreshment table was full tho and everyone enjoyed that.


The Harmonizers brought our risers which the hosts helped set up and we brought our sound equipment which Doug White, Mike Kelly and Dennis Ritchey managed for the nite.


The evening started with a warm up act of Dick Dangel playing his accordion for a sing-along. Those of us who came from the Alexandria area fought some tough traffic delays but a good crowd made it.


The opening chorus was the Harmony Heritage singers with Drew Fuller as director.  Several Harmonizers sang with them too – Chuck Harner, JT Price, Paul Greiner, Lou Manfre.


The Blue and Gray chorus from the Inwood WV Chapter was invited to participate this year.  They had 18 guys.


Next the Chorus of the Old Dominion from Loudon County sang, with John David Maybury as their new director.  He has been a recent guest at Durant. Brian Ammerman and Matt Doniger sang with two other Loudon guys in the MISFIRE quartet who earlier this year was named Southern Division novice champions. Matt sings with Loudon too plus is one of the newest Harmonizers.  This was his first time to sing a show with us.


The Loudon chorus shared their time slot so a chorus of guys from the Frederick Chapter could also sing.


Keith reports: “Fairfax Chorus sang next with Sam McFarland and Harold Weinberger singing on the risers with them. Sam’s quartet AIN’T MISBEHAVING sang. The host chapter sang next and Bruce Lauther sang in a quartet with some of those guys.


 “There were about 65 Harmonizers there to sing. Associate director Tony Colosimo did the warm ups for us and then director Joe Cerutti did some quick reviews in preparation for our appearance. The Icon songs went over well with the audience. The chorus performed "Thriller," "America," "Happy," (Josh DesPortes was the featured performer), and "Sweet Caroline." Terry told the audience about John Hohl's illness (we didn't know yet that he had passed last evening – see below) and the chorus sang "A Place on the Risers" in tribute--not many dry eyes in the house after that one.”


Shows manager Greg Tepe and choreographer Carlos Barillo were there to help us prepare for the show too. There were about a half dozen other Harmonizers there who did not sing, a large number of former members and several of the recent guests or current applicants attended too. Many of the newer Harmonizers brought their families out to hear the chapter and enjoy the fellowship. 

Thanks to Al Litchfield, president of Prince William chapter, the Bull Run Troubadours, for hosting another great event. They sang just before us. Joe Cerutti directed an overflowing risers in singing “Keep The Whole World Singing” as a finale for the nite.


Just about the time the Harmonizers sang their tribute to John Hohl is just about the time he passed.  This message was sent to all members first thing on Wednesday morning by president Terry Reynolds: “It is with great sadness that I must tell you that John Hohl passed away peacefully Tuesday evening at Holy Cross Hospital, in Fort Lauderdale, FL, at the age of 71. His nephew Rick and friend Charlie were at his bedside when he passed.

Per John's wishes he will be cremated. A memorial service is being planned for late September, in Ft. Lauderdale. Terry will forward the details when they are announced.


John has been fighting cancer for over two years. After removal of a kidney and both adrenal glands the cancer then spread to his liver and one lung. Chemo treatments over the past many months seemed to be keeping the liver and lung cancer in check, but shortly after Pittsburgh, John learned that the cancer had spread to his brain. Two weeks of radiation treatments on the brain were not successful and he was moved into Hospice late last week.


John was the first associate director of the Harmonizers from 1976-1979 and our sixth director from 1980-1983. He led the chorus to a third place bronze medal in 1982 with two songs that he arranged. He received the chapter's Oz Newgard Award in 1979 and the Harmonizer Memorial Award in 2009.


John sang in many quartets over the years most notably THE NOVA CHORDS with two medals and VAUDEVILLE with five medals, including a silver medal in 1985. He was a prolific arranger for quartets and choruses across the society. John literally arranged dozens of songs for the Harmonizers over the years including the "Harmonizer Welcome Song" that we sing to our guests each week, "A Place On The Risers," our 1989 gold medal ballad "Oh How I Miss You Tonight," as well as "A Gift of Music," "Director's Lament,, "A Chorus Line Medley," and many many more.


He had served as a M-AD District Vice-President and on the Society Chorus Director Development Committee. He was a member of the M-AD Hall of Honor and the Honor Chapter DELASUSQUEHUDMAC.  We miss you John.  Terry


(More information about John Hohl’s years as a Harmonizer are recorded in the 50 Year Harmonizer History book, “Breathless Moments,” on pages 77 and 111 particularly.)


In other important chapter news, here is the official announcement from president Terry Reynolds about upcoming chapter elections.  “At least once a year we have to have a formal general meeting of the Chapter members to elect the Chapter Board. This year we will be having two general meetings. Both will be held during the business meeting of Tuesday night chapter meetings. On Tuesday, Sept 1 we will vote to elect the Incorporating members of the new Alexandria Harmonizers, Inc. organization; and we will vote on adjusting the structure of our BHS Chapter Board (from 15 to 7 members, as presented in July).  Then on Tuesday, Oct 13

we will vote to elect the Chapter board for 2016.


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.