Friday, April 1, 2016

Looking Back on the March 26th Aca Challenge Event

The Harmonizers hosted its third Aca Challenge at Lincoln Theater on U Street in DC (This theater was once part of Black Broadway and is a landmark.) on Saturday, March 26th at 8 pm. This was our largest audience for Aca Challenge with over 700 tickets sold.


The chapter invited DC area a cappella groups to audition – many submitted materials and 6 were chosen to compete. The competitors this year were

  • The District, an all-female Washington-based vocal ensemble who were in the Challenge last year;
  • The JMU Overtones, founded in 1997, from Virginia’s James Madison University, have just released their eighth album, Synesthesia;
  • All Natural, formed from alums of several University of Maryland a cappella groups:
  • S#arp Attitude, founded in 2011 at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and will make an appearance on the reality TV show Sing It On!;
  • The Oberlin Overtones, founded in 1984, the only all-male a cappella group at one of America’s major music schools; and
  • Catch 22, formed in 2012, North Carolina vocal band were the audience favorite at SingStrong’s 2015 Aca-Idol.

The chapter offered a $1000 first prize, $500 for second, $250 for third, and $100 for all others.  Judges for the event were Catherine Lewis, musical arts writer; Rolando Sanz, executive producer at Strathmore; and Tom Kraus founder of TBD. Also the audience was invited to vote via text during the contest for their favorite.


First place winner was All Natural.  They received their “big” check presented by last year’s winners Vox Pox. Second place was S#arp Attitude and third place was Catch 22. Emcee for the night was Tony Colosimo.


Here is a recap from producer Reed Livergood:  “The complete list of volunteers who were helpful in making the 2016 ACA Challenge is too long to mention here, but a sincere "Thank you!" to everyone who helped in some capacity for creating such a wonderful musical experience! I would like to extend, however, a special thanks to our judges (Catherine Lewis, Tom Kraus, Rolando Sanz), our own Tony Colosimo as Emcee, and the Lincoln Theater staff. Also, our production crew of Nick Leiserson (Associate Producer), Todd Ryktarsyk (Associate Producer), Scipio Garling (Talent Scout, Communications, Marketing, Program design, Script), Robyn Murane (House Manager), Greg Tepe (Stage Manager), Mike Kelly (Technical Coordinator), Ken Rub (Harmonizer venues, VIPs), Terry Reynolds (Harmonizer Executive Dir), Josh Roots (voting manager), and our dedicated riser crew staff who always willing and able to come early / leave late. Thank you all of making this year's edition of the ACA Challenge successful in every way!”


The song package (“America,” “Stars and Stripes Forever,” “Yesterday,” and “Friday Night in the Castro”) was a huge success with this mostly young a cappella-fan-crowd that filled the auditorium and balcony. They particularly reacted to our presentation of “Friday Night in The Castro” from “I Am Harvey Milk” with the front row “club dancers” and the fun music.  Rolando Sanz did the solo for us on this number.


 The audience also cheered wildly for our own TBD modern a cappella group with their new mics and enlarged group. Currently the group includes Scipio Garling, Noah Van Gilder, Jeremy Richardson, Josh Roots, Nick Leiserson, Terry Reynolds, Kellen Herz, Troy Hillier, Todd Ryktarsyk, Joshua Desportes, Clark Chesser and Jeff Burkey. Reed Livergood is the musical leader of the group.


The chorus assembled about 5 pm and did warm ups with Tony outside and some prep outside in the parking lot. We did our sound check and stage check time and then went to the Walker Memorial Baptist Church around the corner on 13th for a long practice time with director Joe Cerutti.  Our uniform was the black suit, hidden button white shirt, red tie, dress black shoes, black sox and belt – and our bronze medals.


There was a fun and successful afterglow down the street from the theater at the Saloon upstairs.  (Thanks to Ken Rub for locating this venue.)


Robyn sent a thank you to the following who helped her with the house:


“- Connie Lauther, Peggy Wagner, Sandi Ulibarri, Judi Kern, Martha Moncibaiz, and Ginny Wells, for ushering and welcoming our guests so graciously!

- Lydia Golden, who in addition to ushering, stocked the judge's room with treats!

- Amy Roots for timing the contestants!

- Saundra Deltac for wrangling our guests out in front of the theater, getting them into the correct line ... Tickets-in-Hand, Will Call or Groupon!

- Brigit Gilvary and Ninamarie Maragioglio for helping backstage, keeping all of the moving parts moving in the right direction!

- Keith Jones for escorting and supporting the judges!

- Carol Dangel for sitting by that open door with the brisk breeze and selling CDs! (not to mention the motorcycle noise and skunk fragrance!)

- And Christina Ammerman and Ellen Delert for processing 300 Groupon tickets, seating groups together and making it look easy!


You are a great team, and the Lincoln Theater staff was so impressed by your professionalism, and dedication.”


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


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