Monday, June 27, 2016

Looking Back on the June 14, 2016 Chapter Meeting


A riser crew began to assemble by 6:00 p.m. A new riser configuration was used with two sections of six risers, each, arranged at opposite ends of the hall, facing each other (one for stage left; the other for stage right), with a sizeable amount of floor space between them. As usual, Ginny Wells helped put the visitor chairs out – this time in the middle of the room, facing the open space between the risers. Chuck McKeever held a choreo review session in a separate room. Director Joe Cerutti, Choreographer Carlos Barillo, and the front row blocked some uptune moves/positions from the risers and to/in the open floor space. Carolyn and Dick Hall set up their 50-50 positions at tables on the opposite side of the room from the guest chairs. Big changes all around that created quite a stir … until explained.

Associate Director Tony Colosimo conducted the warm-ups and taught a tag in the process: “Somewhere she’s all alone without you.” After a few words by Joe, Carlos provided needed choreo instruction for segments of both the uptune and the ballad, after which Joe worked the chorus on the ballad (bubbling, single voice, duets, three part, and full chorus).

Executive Director Terry Reynolds conducted the business meeting. He announced (1) that Education Director Vickie Dennis has taken the position of musical director of the Upper Chesapeake (Sweet Adelines International) Chorus; (2) that information about upcoming special rehearsals and the chorus’ sendoff (with a German chorus) would be coming out this week; (3) that Contest Director Craig Kujawa is in need of a second member to drive the Harmo-truck to Nashville; (4) that there will be a “Togetherness Breakfast” on Friday morning, prior to our contest appearance in Nashville – that there will be no cost for Harmonizers and a $30 charge for guests; and (5) that orders for chorus photos (taken on the international stage following our contest set) are being taken by Chorus Manager Mark Klostermeyer.

Joe announced that the two Joe Ceruttis were producing a golf tournament to benefit veterans and wounded warriors on July 15th at an area resort. Volunteers are invited to pick up and contribute to housing the participants at the resort (cost: $380).

Continuing, Terry (6) highlighted a message from Chapter President Randall Eliason (currently traveling) about a proposal to have a joint hospitality room with the other competing M-AD choruses on Saturday night of the convention weekend; he asked for a show of hands of those who would support/attend such an event with/without guests and received a positive response; (7) that there would be rehearsals for our “Harvey Milk” class on Friday night of the convention weekend following the chorus results “call off” and again on Saturday morning prior to the presentation later in the day … with a song list coming soon; (8) that Ike Evans is continuing to take pictures for the Chapter picture board; and (9) that cake celebrating Steve Murane’s birthday (6/13) would be served in the lobby during the break.

Membership Director Rich Hewitt first called out the Class of 2016 to ascertain whether each member had his scarf on his person. Evidently each did. Then he introduced the current applicants and guests, asking section leaders to be prepared to attend auditions later in the evening.

Finally taking a break, while chorus members and guests enjoyed coffee, goodies, and cake (prepared by Kevin Kaiser), Don Dillingham conducted a brief HAKA rehearsal on the stage.

Following the break, Joe had the chorus sit down and listen (LISTEN) to recordings of the Westminster and Ambassador of Harmony Choruses which illustrate clean, precise, singing produced without distractions, consistent energy, melody vs. phrase singing, and micro dynamics. Asking the chorus to sing the ballad, he directed the volume levels while Tony did the same for the energy level (which should always be at a “10” regardless of the volume). He emphasized the need to avoid “flat-lining” (not a new concept but one that needs more attention).

We then did a couple of set run-throughs for recording and for videoing – be sure to check the latter out when Choreo Coach Chuck McKeever posts them!

Joe announced that we are hiring a Piano Professor from Vanderbilt University for our “Harvey Milk” program in Nashville; singing the part of Andrew Lippa (Harvey) will be the choreographer from the Voices of Gotham Chorus; and introduced Heather Krones who is “filling in” for Kristin Chenoweth. We then sang though “Leap,” followed by “San Francisco.”

Joe mentioned that his wife, Bridgette, is working at a Karaoke bar in Occoquan, VA. After Joe sang “New York, New York” a gentleman approached him, congratulated him for his fine singing, said he sang in a barbershop chorus, and suggested Joe visit. He was a bit taken aback when Joe told him he is the director of the Alexandria Harmonizers.

We understand David Jarzen receive (another) “Cappie” for his performance in West Potomac High School’s production of “Starlight Express.” Congratulations, David!! Cappie stands for “Critics and Awards Program.” David received his award at the Awards Gala, June 12th, at the Kennedy Center.

Although Mike Gilmore will be competing with us in Nashville and we’ll see him several times between now and then, I believe tonight was his last regular chapter meeting as a local resident. He and Gigi are moving to Ohio.

It was good to see Bede Bender back from his new home in Vero Beach, FL for a visit.

The George Washington Middle School Choir put on a wonderful program on Monday night – the first “Clash of the Chords” by members of eleven groups of singers in grades 6, 7, and 8. The students picked their own songs, developed their own choreography, and selected their own props … and performed without a care in the world. Well done Casey Belzer, GWMS Choral Director!

Carl Kauffmann directed “Keep The Whole World Singing,” as he took home the “50-50” prize money.

One other thing. Please note the brand new gate installed at the entrance to the back door – installed to facilitate load-in/-out. The Durant Staff (principally Center Director Cheryl Anne Colton) is very pleased with this addition.


Until next time – Alan Wile (subbing for 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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