Thursday, October 22, 2015

Looking Back on the Retreat Oct. 17th and the Oct 20th Chapter Meeting

The chorus had an all-day retreat on Sat. Oct. 17th at John Calvin Presbyterian Church on Columbia Pike from 9 -5.  Cindy Hansen was with us for the day to help us prepare for the fall chorus contest.  It was great to have her help us grow and improve even more and to add to what Carlos and the rest of the music team have been teaching us.

The chapter provided coffee and donuts for the early arrivals. Thanks to Steve White, Jack Pitzer and Kevin Kaiser for getting this organized.  As usual, Bob Blair and crew helped get the risers, sound equipment and stage props moved to the church early that day too.

The music team worked with Cindy to help make the day profitable. Great to have so many special forces guys with us for the retreat too.

President Terry Reynolds took time after lunch to review the results of the recent chapter member survey created by him and membership vp Rich Hewitt.  Response numbers were strong – 122 guys gave input.  The results were not too surprising but reinforced areas of improvement for chapter leaders in both admin and music.

We had fun learning the tag to “Mary Had a Baby” too which will we will sing on the holiday show.

On Tuesday nite, we worked hard and it was extra warm in the building!!  Something about the heat turned on. Luckily we own a bunch of fans that help a little.

Reed Livergood did the warm ups this week and got us ready for director Joe Cerutti to get right to work. We started on three of the new holiday songs after more time on the tag of “Mary Had a Baby.”

Then we worked on the contest package.  Choreographer Carlos Barillo and associate director Tony Colosimo helped Joe coach and encourage the chorus as we prepare for the fall contest.

Before our meeting started, Carlos and Chuck McKeever several new guys who will be singing on Saturday.

 Operations vp Todd Ryktarsyk conducted the business session as usual.

Fall convention coordinator Shawn Tallant reminded us to check the contest weekend handbook previously issued electronically.  Key points:  riser crew early 8 am, then front row at 8:30 and chorus at 9 am at the Holy Savior Catholic Church on 17th Street; and bring two uniforms – the steam punk outfits from Pittsburgh and the black suit with special shirt, tie and stuffer from Toronto. Also bring your most recent medal. Bring water bottles to church.  Chorus will be released at 11 to go change and eat and get to the convention center.

Note that tickets can be picked up at a will call desk.  Friday nite’s        quartet contest starts at 5:30 pm.

YeEd suggests you should wear any Harmo gear on Friday nite while we cheer on the quartet guys from our chapter – Mike Wallen, Dan Cook, Pookie Dingle and the BRAVADO guys Doug White, Kevin McKenzie, Chris Odell and Todd Ryktarsyk.

Music vp Steve White reminded us of the Nov. 7 all-sections rehearsal at First Baptist on King Street at 9 am.  Josh Roots spoke about the Tag-a-Thon that will follow that rehearsal.  Joe plugged this idea as he wrapped up the rehearsal tonite.  Josh  mentioned there will be prizes for the most tags sung, the most money raised and such.

Steve also alerted us that the Nov. 10th meeting will be a recording session at First Baptist.  Members are asked to bring chunks of carpet and packing blankets to use on the floor to swallow sound.

Ike Evans is taking mug shots of new guys for the Harmo picture board (and also offering to take pixs of guys who want theirs updated).

Bob Wells invited our support of The Singing Capital Chorus by attending their “Harvest of Harmony” on Saturday, November 7 at 3:00 and 7:30 in the Greenberg Theatre in Washington. Here is the live link to our web page with ALL the information, including a ticket purchase link:

The show will feature the “reunion performance” of LAST KIDS PICKED coming out of a six-year “retirement” exclusively for this special event! In addition, it will feature HALF & HALF, MAD’s new “Mixed Quartet Champions” with their special blend of great singing and fun!

President Terry Reynolds alerted the board of their meeting on Wednesday nite.  The new and old boards for 2015 and 2016 are having the annual board retreat Oct. 31st.

After a good break, we worked more on holiday music.  Then back to contest work.

In other news, the Fairfax Chapter held its annual golf tournament on Thursday Oct. 15 2015.. The Harmonizers were well represented. A team of Vince Cazenas; Glenn Williamson, former Harmonizer; Norm Richards and Bruce Stephens won the tournament at the Osprey Golf Course, with 10 under par. Fairfax and the Heritage singers shot even par. Vince says, “They mentioned that they were not inviting us back for next year! They were just joking!” Congrats to our team.

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, October 19, 2015

Looking Back on the Oct 13th Chapter Meeting

This week was a work session indeed.  Director Joe Cerutti and choreographer Carlos Barillo were in Nashville at BHS headquarters for a staff meeting.  That left associate director Tony Colosimo in charge along with assistant directors Terry Reynolds and Mike Kelly.  And we worked hard.

Tony did the warm up session after the set up crews worked hard and front row did reviews on the stage with Peelee Clark coaching them.

Tony took a minute to explain the work he is doing to create and implement the Certified Singer Program (CSP).  About 20 guys have been taken thru the assessment and self-improvement phases.  All have made progress.  The musical leaders are pleased to discover how the program helps them prepare for their musical leadership too. Tony thanked Dean Rust for his terrific attention to detail and coordination to make it work so well. 

While Tony left the main hall to work on the CSP, Terry and Mike helped work on some of the great new holiday arrangements.

Tony returned up front and we concentrated on the contest package. We incorporated the notes Carlos had sent to all the members before he left for Nashville.  And we incorporated the points that Joe and Tony wanted reviewed too.

This was also the week for the annual meeting of the Alexandria Chapter of BHS and current president Terry Reynolds called the meeting to order.  Nominating committee chairman Alan Wile reported the slate that had been sent to all members well in advance.  Secretary Buechler declared no other nominations had been received.  The chapter voted in acclamation to elect the 2016 slate: Randall Eliason, president; Terry Reynolds immediate past president; Chris Buechler, secretary; Al Herman, treasurer; and Mike Edison, Kevin McKenzie and Steve White as at-large members for  membership, marketing and music.

Terry reported that Alexandria Harmonizers Inc. board met last week and elected Ken Fess as president and Clyde Crusenberry as vice president of the new 501©3 board.

Operations vp Todd Ryktarsyk conducted the business meeting portion of our weekly meeting. Josh Roots plugged participation and sign-up for pledges for the Tag-A-Thon that will be held on Nov7th following the all sectionals rehearsal at First Baptist Church that day.

Shawn Tallant invited questions regarding fall contest arrangements for the members.  He mentioned that there was still a room or two at our hotel.

Mike Edison invited Harmonizers to come to the Germantown chapter show on Sat nite Oct. 17th. He has tickets.

Secretary Chris presented membership renewal cards to Matt Doniger for 3 years; Antony Takahaski for 13 years; Josh Roots for 17 years; Randall Eliason for 20 years (plus a lapel pin); Phil Ashford for 38 years; and John Santora for 39 years.

President Terry Reynolds reports that Jean Wachter is back in the hospital fighting an infection. Gary Mankin is home from the hospital.

Bruce Lauther reports on several members of the Harmonizer family who have faced health challenges lately.  He visited with Terry Jordan and delivered one of the large cards Bruce had the chapter sign recently. Terry still suffers from his fractured foot but hopes he can make it to the M-AD District Convention.

Ross Johnson is rebounding from his wellness issues. He and Susan enjoyed another of the cards signed by the Harmonizers. Burt Stueve will be extended at Fairfax Rehab Center with a recent discovery of pneumonia complications. Austin and Sue Cotton continue pretty much as before. Clyde Crusenberry is rebounding nicely from his serious leg infection and enjoyed his card from the chapter.

Terry also reports hearing from Alan Kousen who has been working in New England recently, “I'll be in New England until November. Also singing with a new quartet at NED contest in two weeks - NEW ENGLAND CHORD COMPANY.”

And Terry helped us all shout out congratulations to Reed Livergood who is just back from his honeymoon!!!

Big news for all who plan ahead – the fall M-AD contest will be Sept 16-17 in 2016 in Lancaster, PA.  Mark your’16 calendar to reflect that recently announced change.

Terry and membership vp Rich Hewitt also thanked all those who responded to the membership survey conducted recently. Good response rates will provide better information for the chapter leadership.

Rich welcomed a line of guests and prospective members.

We all know it is time for the 2015 Mid-Atlantic Fall District Contests., Fri Oct 23 & Sat Oct 24 at Ocean City MD Convention Center.


In the flurry over the chorus contest on Saturday, don't forget to support these Alexandria quartets at the quartet semi finals on Friday afternoon starting at 5:27 pm:  YOUTH RECLAMATION PROJECT with Mike Wallen, Roger Tarpey, Hardman Jones, Vic Owen singing 5th; HERSHEY TRANSIT COMPANY with Bill Keet, Pookie Dingle, Frank Resek, Steven Matuszewski singing 9th; BRAVADO with Doug White, Kevin McKenzie, Chris Odell, Todd Ryktarsyk singing 13th;  and FORECAST with Mike Fitch, Tyler Rackley, Travis Murray, Dan Cook singing 20th.


And on Saturday night at the Show of Champions, LAST MEN STANDING with TJ Barranger. Drew Feyrer, Ed Bell, Mike Kelly will sing their swan song as the outgoing M-AD Champion.


Also joining in the crowning of the new M-AD quartet champion will be the M-AD Association of Quartet Champions (MADAQC) chorus with many Harmonizers representing the 19 quartet champs from our chapter (see page 35 of the chapter directory).


The chorus took a break and consumed a lot of goodies. Thanks for those who have brought extra goodies lately.  Keep em coming. And thanks to those to chipped in some cash in the can to help cover costs for break food.  Amazing how many guys have to come to chorus right after work and don’t get dinner.  So good to have things to share. (BTW – if you are in Alexandria early, a lot of guys go get some dinner at Hard Times CafĂ© over on King Street.  They park at Durant and walk over to eat.)


After the break, it was back on to the risers to fire ourselves up on the contest package. Kudos to the front row, the specialforces who have been coming to rehearsals to help us in Ocean City, and to Tony for pushing us all.


Music vp Steve White reminded all to plan to get to the chorus retreat at 8:30 am on Sat. Oct. 17 at John Calvin Presbyterian Church, 6531 Columbia Pike, Annandale, VA 22003. Coffee and donuts promised.  Be on the risers ready to go at 9 am.  Cindy Hansen will be coaching for the day-long event. Check out Steve’s email to us suggesting how lucky we are to have such a powerful coach to work with us.


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.