Friday, November 6, 2015

Looking Back on the 2015 Fall District Contest in Ocean City Oct 23-24

This year’s fall contest weekend was back in Ocean City MD. The Harmonizers were well prepared and won their 26th M-AD chorus championship with a great 90.9 score.

We had 97 men on the risers and we sang “Someone Like You” arranged by Steve Tramack and “Me Ol’ Bamboo” arranged by Clay Hine. The music team had prepared us well and we had all worked hard to achieve these high marks – Joe Cerutti, director; Tony Colosimo, associate director; Carlos Barillo, choreographer; Chuck McKeever, riser coach; and Steve White, music and performance vp. Plus there are the assistant directors, visual team members, and section leaders.

We also had four Alexandria quartets in the semi finals on Friday nite:  FORECAST with Mike Fitch, Tyler Rackley, Travis Murray, Dan Cook ranked 4th; HERSHEY TRANSIT COMPANY with Bill Keet, Pookie Dingle, Frank Resek, Steven Matuszewski ranked 8th; YOUTH RECLAMATION PROJECT with Mike Wallen, Roger Tarpey, Hardman Jones, Vic Owen ranked 9th; and BRAVADO with Doug White, Kevin McKenzie, Chris Odell, Todd Ryktarsyk ranked 17th. And on Saturday night at the Show of Champions, LAST MEN STANDING with TJ Barranger. Drew Feyrer, Ed Bell, Mike Kelly sang their swan song as the outgoing M-AD Champion.

This year’s quartet champ features former Harmonizer, Scott Disney, in ROUTE 1.

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 Harmonizers appeared on the Saturday nite Jamboree as new district champs and presented songs from our American Icon CD - “America” and “Lullaby.”  We actually wore the contest attire for the show. Joe spoke to the audience about our pride to represent the district at International.  He saluted the other top choruses who will be joining us.  And he spoke of former director John Hohl and announced that we wished to dedicate “Lullaby” to John.

Sales for the CDs went great at our booth in the lobby all weekend. Several guys chipped in and helped sell. The ad on the jumbotron was good too.  And we had a great ad in the printed program about our 2015 holiday show.  

A special surprise on Saturday during the chorus contest was the induction of two more Harmonizers into the M-AD Hall of Honor – Terry Reynolds and Mike Kelly.  They join 20 other chapter members in this group.


The chorus championship entitles us to go to the International contest in Nashville in July 2016. Hell’s Kitchen, NY, Voices of Gotham, ranked 2nd in the chorus contest. The new Hershey, PA, Parkside Harmony, directed by former Harmonizers Jay Butterfield and Sean Devine, ranked 3rd. The Hamilton Square, NJ, The Brothers in Harmony, ranked 4th.

As usual the chapter was well organized for the weekend.  Most men and many families and friends drove up on Friday and everyone seemed to manage the huge traffic delay when an accident closed the Bay Bridge for a few hours.  We had our first gathering on Saturday morning at a Holy Savior Catholic Church, which we have used in other years when in OC.  Our great front row met early there to button down their routines.  The chorus arrived at 9. Then Tony, Carlos and Joe worked hard to get us in the groove.

The chorus contest actually started at 8:30 am but our FRIENDS IN HARMONY came to the church to cheer for us and presented each man on the risers with a memento. Robyn Murane came with us to the ready room with her trusty needle and thread to fix or adjust uniforms as needed.

As is our tradition, Joe asked to see the hands of the guys who are singing with us for their first district contest – YeEd thinks there were five.

Shawn Tallant gets a large thank you from the chapter members for finding us a hotel that would open up on this weekend.  The Harmo truck drivers got everything to OC including the props we used as part of the contest package.

Actually there were a lot of non-singing current members at the convention – several sang with other choruses on Saturday or directed other choruses. As usual we had many guys in leadership and operations positions to run the district and the convention. Dennis Ritchey was emcee for the Friday nite contest session and is the executive vice president for M-AD. Special forces guys for this contest were Mike Geipel, Mike Fasano and Bill Conway.

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.)


Looking Back on the Oct 27th Chapter Meeting

(Thanks to Don Harrington for taking notes and preparing Looking Back for Oct 27 . And to Walt Page and Jeff Burkey for coffee detail. // YeEd)

Thanks to the work of the early arriving volunteers, the risers, tables, chairs and displays were in place as Harmonizers began making their way to the risers Tuesday night. Featured prominently on the front table was the Mid Atlantic District Chorus championship trophy, already engraved with the chapter’s name by Ship’s Hatch, Inc., as a congratulatory token of our having won the chorus champion title for the 26th time. At 7 pm, associate director Tony Colosimo did the warm up, then took a few minutes to congratulate the chorus on the awesome performance that earned us the district championship. Our score was our second highest district score since 1997, and represented the greatest increase in average scores from international to district contest. He told us how proud he was of the chorus and gave special congratulations to the initial group of singers enrolled in the certified singers program.

Tony then taught us the first half of a new tag for Rejoice a.k.a. “Emanuel Shall Come to Thee.” Director Joe Cerutti asked us to be ready to sing the whole tag next week and later sent out the chart by email. Joe also praised the work ethic and quality improvements in the rehearsals leading up to the contest, especially the all day Saturday rehearsal.

Feedback from the judges was every helpful, and Joe singled out one common message: the chorus must take more individual responsibility to achieve unity in sound and visual presentation. He promised more work in quartets and duets to lock in 100% accuracy on notes and words. He challenged us to hold ourselves to a higher standard, starting with the holiday music, followed in quick succession by the special spring performance and the international contest. He us led through sections of the new songs for the holiday show.

Todd Ryktarsyk conducted the business meeting. Steve White called Mike Kelly to the front to be recognized as one of three new members inducted into the Mid-Atlantic District Hall of Fame. Congratulations to Mike and to Terry Reynolds, another Hall of Fame inductee who was recognized at a chapter gathering in Ocean City.

Don Dillingham announced plans for this year’s Silent Auction. With our new venue, more limited space, and two shows instead of three, we are having a somewhat scaled-down effort this year. For starters, we will not be doing the on-line auction, only the live auction at the actual shows. We are also trying to focus on quality, rather than quantity. In particular, we want to focus on getting things like gift cards and gift certificates from restaurants, jewelers, and other merchants who are interested in supporting us. These are extremely easy to sell and frequently bring in bids close to their face value. Certificates for other high-end items are also great, and artwork is usually good as well. But given our space constraints, we will steer away from very large items that take up a lot of room, and from used, personal household items that are not as easy to sell (the "garage sale" stuff). Time for us to go out and get gift cards from merchants that we frequent. Or send an email to your favorite jeweler, restaurant, hair salon, spa, or any other business that you (or your significant other) think might be willing to support us. Donations can be given to Don Dillingham or Randall Eliason on any Tuesday night.

Josh Roots, Calvin Schnure and Liz Birnbaum showed us how important, how easy and how much fun we will have getting pledges and singing tags at the TAG-A-THON on November 7 from 1-3 PM, immediately following the All-Sectional rehearsal. Now is the time to ask friends, neighbors, coworkers, and family for a donation. Lots of prizes will be offered, so pick up a pledge form and clear your calendar.

Clyde Crusenberry reminded guys of the November 8 performance at the Old Dominion Boat Club in support of the Wounded Warriors. We are in need of 10-15 more guys for this performance. Since no guests were present, MVP Rich Hewitt welcomed Tim Cash (bass) and Art Medici (Lead) to the risers for the first time as chapter members!

We were called back to the risers after break with the video of our district championship performance. Mike Kelly explained how each of us can download and enjoy this and previous district performances by going to, clicking on Members Login, entering our BHS member number and password, then clicking on the link named “Download your contest videos here”, and downloading and saving it to our computer. Do not try to play it directly from the website because the file is too big.

The rest of the rehearsal was devoted to holiday show music. These songs are already sounding great. What a great show this promises to be. At 10 pm, Carl Kaufman directed “Keep the Whole World Singing” and several guys went to LaPortas after returning the hall to the condition we found it in. REMEMBER, next Tuesday, rehearsal will be at First Baptist church, because of the election.

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.