Saturday, November 14, 2015

Looking Back on the Nov. 10th Chapter Meeting; Tag-a-Thon; Veterans’ Day

First – a report about the Tag-a-Thon that was held on Saturday, Nov. 7th at First Baptist Church following our all-sectionals rehearsal in the morning.  Calvin Schnure coordinated the event and here is his report: 

Seventeen Harmonizers joined their voices in song on Saturday at the First Annual Harmonizer Tag-a-Thon. Singing in literally dozens of quartet combinations, the men mixed it up on all voice parts (including at least one mixed voice quartet) and performed dozens of tags, for fun and prizes. Participating: Andrew Havens, Tom Jackson, Tim Buell, Scipio Garling, Todd Ryktarsyk, Elizabeth Ryktarsyk, Josh Roots, Rick Savage, Joel Golden, Kevin Kaiser, Clyde Crusenberry, Jack Pitzer, Tony Colosimo, Bill Colosimo, Eric Wallen, Mike Wallen, Steve White, Mick Stamps. (Tony, who was warming up in DC for a matinee quartet gig, participated remotely by singing a tag with Eric, Mike and Bill.)


Award winners included:

Most Different Tags Performed: Tom Jackson (24 different tags, at least)


Most Tags Performed on All Four Voice Parts: Tim Buell (five tags on all four parts). Runner up, Calvin Schnure (four tags on all four parts)


Most Men Performed With: Scipio Garling


Fundraising winners will be announced after all pledges and donations are collected. There's still time to participate--get your pledges and turn them in. Fundraising categories to be awarded are Highest total donations collected and Most donors pledging to the Tag-a-Thon. Please turn donations collected into Calvin.

The sectional rehearsal on Sat. morning Nov. 7 also at First Baptist was a useful one for singers preparing for the holiday show.  Associate director Tony Colosimo started the work session with warm ups and work on “Mary Had a Baby.”  The section leaders met with their men then til noon in the various rehearsal rooms in the music suite in the church.

The singout on Sunday at the foot of King Street at the Yacht Club was a success and fun.  About 25 guys were there to sing a couple times for those folks present to help raise money for a Wounded Warrior project.  Chorus members actually paid to enter but we got food and some time to relax between appearances.  We sang for lots of military men and their friends.  They were an enthusiastic audience.  Hopefully there will be pay off as they come hear us or hire us.  Terry did the warm ups and was emcee; and Tony directed both shows. Community service guy, Clyde Crusenberry, coordinated the gig.  AHI board member Liz Birnbaum met with the new mayor of Alexandria who was present.

The two Veterans’ Day events were great too.  The first one, at Oakton Elementary, was for over 850 students and all their military guests. About 25 singers were there. Assistant director Terry did the warm ups and was our maestro. Greg Tepe was there to coordinate details with the school staff.  We had a shock during our performance when Bob Blair suffered a seizure or something that took him to the floor.  The staff in the school, several medical folks in the audience, and the quick-to-arrive rescue squad handled our brother well.  And after a stop in Inova Fairfax hospital, he was home that nite to rest and prepare to see his doctor next week!! Thanks to all the men who stepped up to load the truck and get it back to its parking spot.

Several of us did take advantage of the Veterans’ Day free lunch at Applebee’s in Falls Church.

The evening performance was at George Washington Middle School on Mount Vernon Avenue in Alexandria. Our own Casey Belzer is the director of music and he invited us to sing on their school Veterans’ Day Concert as a surprise guest.  His various choruses sang well and were enthusiastic.  Then we appeared at the end of the show singing “Lullaby” and “Sweet Caroline.” The students went wild!  And so did their folks and families.  About 25 guys made it to this show too.  Terry was our director again. Thanks to him for his long day’s work.

The Tuesday, Nov. 10th chapter meeting was a busy one in preparation for the holiday show – on the music, on new show uniform sweatshirts and scarves, on sign-ups for holiday special appearances and on the usual chapter nite matters such as getting your picture taken by Ike Evans for the member photo board and getting White House Ornaments from Sandy Stamps to sell.

Tony did the warm ups and was our director for the nite. During the chapter meeting period, we learned that TBD is appearing on the “Word of Mouth” invitational a cappella event.

Tom Jackson reported on the successful open heart surgery for Jim Clancy this week.

If you want to buy a Harmonizer CD, email Steve or Robyn Murane in advance of a chapter meeting and they will bring them to you. He email is

Congrats to Steve Szyszke for his participation in the Ukrainian Bandvrist Chorus at Lisner over the past weekend.  It was great to see Gary Mankin in the hall – and he renewed his membership!

President Terry asked if anyone knows what happened to the nice table cover we used for display events.

Secretary Chris Buechler recognized the following membership renewals: Reed Livergood for 5 years; Shawn Tallant for 9 years; Chris Yates for 16 years; and Drew Fuller for 26 years.

Thanks to those who have remembered to chip in for the coffee break goodies – and for those who have brought contributions of goodies too. Always great to get them.

Dick Hall shared this story on Tuesday, the eve of Veteran’s Day, after he used a bell to get the guys back to the risers after break:  I called the Harmonizers back to the risers after the break tonite by ringing a bell.  When I was chapter program vp (formerly the title for ops vp), I used a bell like it to call the guys to the risers before rehearsal and at break.  Not the bell I used tonight, but this bell has a story behind it.  This is the story:

When my mom was 12 years old, she and her Grandpa (my great-grandpa) were in the field pulling corn.  When grandma came running out of the house ringing her dinner bell, and hollering ‘Pa come on in, come on in – the War is over.’ Grandpa unhitched the mules and took them to the barn, hitched the horse to the buggy, and went in and cleaned up and changed clothes.  They all got in the buggy and went to town to celebrate the end of the war.  That was  Nov. 11, 1918, the end of the First World War.  This is my great grandma’s dinner bell – it is well over 100 years old.”

Musically our work included time on pronunciation for the Italian passage in “Kyrie” and quartets and octets for “White Christmas.”

In other news, Terry Reynolds, John Santora and Chris Buechler have served as trainers for chapter officers from other chapters in our M-AD.  Chuck Harner is coordinator of the district’s leadership academy programs that are held in the fall and early winter in the northern, southern and central parts of the district. 

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.


Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Looking Back on the Nov. 3rd Chapter Meeting

(Thanks again to Don Harrington for taking notes for this week’s report! YeEd)

Bob Blair and his crew had the risers in place and the hall set up at the First Baptist Church before the riser call came and Reed Livergood started the warm-up.  Director Joe Cerutti went right to work on holiday songs the chorus has not sung since last year, and then split the chorus into two groups for sectional work on “Kyrie” and “This Little Light.”

Todd Ryktarsyk kept the business meeting moving, making sure the important issues were discussed and announcements made.

Randall Eliason put a plug in for the Silent Auction, explained the items needed and encouraged everyone to get out and ask for gift certificates from restaurants, movies, and other local businesses.  PresidentTerry Reynolds brought greetings from Chuck Hunter, who is enjoying his assignment in Istanbul, but looking forward to a move next year that might bring him back to our area. 

Clyde Crusenberry reminded the chorus of the opportunity this Sunday, November 8 to help the Old Dominion Boat Club raise funds for the Wounded Warriors.  More singers are needed at this great venue in our backyard.  Look for more details in a separate email. 

Also, plan on being a part of this year’s Veteran’s Day tribute at the Oakton Elementary School on the morning of Wednesday, November 11, always a rewarding experience.  Also on November 11, in the evening, we have a performance in Alexandria at the George Washington Middle School.  New Harmonizer Casey Belzer, a music teacher there, has organized a Veterans Day program within the school auditorium and he has asked for Harmonizer help.

Membership vp Rich Hewitt gave an update on Jack Stonesifer and applicant Larry Dennis, who have both been under doctor’s care, but are hoping to be back with us soon.  Steve Spar was introduced as the newest member of the bass section. 

After break, we came together for more work on the holiday songs.  We made great progress on these songs, but imagine how they will sound after our sectional rehearsal this Saturday, November 8 at the First Baptist Church!  It’s not too late to get those pledges and plan for an hour or two of tag singing, while helping the chapter on Saturday, immediately after the rehearsal, at our first Tag-A-Thon.

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.