Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Looking Back on the June 30th International Send Off for 2016

The venue at Providence Presbyterian Church was packed with a huge crowd of fans which included many non-competing members, former members and family friends and our guests from Barbershop in Germany (BING). There was excitement in the air!

The 103-chorus singers arrived in their contest outfits and were on the risers at 7 pm for a good warm up session with associate director Tony Colosimo. Great to have the Class of 2016 on the risers - tenors: Jay Sorenson, Masahasa Takahashi; leads: Casey Belzer, Jason Lee, Art Medici; baris: Jeff Burkey, Jim Kirkland, Antony Takahashi; basses: Tim Cash, Matt Doniger, Tom Jackson, Steve Spar.

The singers from BING mostly all had just arrived at Dulles and came to the venue with their Harmo hosts. They warmed up in a separate room.  The chorus is called Heavy Medal and are all medalist quartet singers in their organization.  Their chorus will rehearse in Alexandria on Friday in preparation to sing on shows in Nashville.

Director Joe Cerutti took over the Harmonizers in prep for tonite’s demo of the contest package.  He first welcomed everyone, thanked our friends from Germany for coming, and set the stage for how the nite would unfold. He particularly thanked the chorus men and their families for the dedication to the package in the last couple months. After he finished his warm up time, the chorus took a break to regroup uniforms and all.  AND since the crowd for the send off had grown so large, more chairs were brought in after the warm up.

Soon executive director Terry Reynolds announced the start of the contest send off demo.  He encouraged cheering and welcoming the chorus to the risers.  The Harmonizers performed their set – “Yesterday” and “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” both arranged by David Harrington.

After the first run-thru, Joe invited Heavy Medal to sing for us.  Their singing stimulated a couple standing ovations!

President Randall Eliason thanked all those who came to support us, thanked the riser and set up crews and thanked Robyn Murane and her uniform crew. He also explained that the Harmonizers will honor director emeritus Scott Werner as part of their contest package where he will appear as part of the Sgt. Pepper number and even direct a part of the song.  Scott is an icon in the BHS world having directed the Alexandria Chapter to earn its four gold medals.

Soon it was time to cheer again and the chorus performed the contest set again.

To wrap up the nite, the two choruses combined and sang “Tribute to World Peace” as a fitting conclusion to the great nite of barbershop harmony.

Two Harmonizers have had to cancel their participation in Nashville – Jack Pitzer is recovering from gall bladder surgery and Phil Ashford is recovering from a serious car accident.  Both made it out to cheer on their chorus pals.

Other reporters (Dixie Kennett and Keith Jones) kept track of the many other non-competing Harmonizers in the hall for the send off (of course they have their fingers crossed that no one was missed!).  That list includes Martin Banks, Geoff Berman, Chris Buechler, Larry Dennis, Len Dornberger, Mike Everard, Paul Greiner, Dick Hall, Al Hanenbaum, Don Harrington, Al Herman, Troy Hillier, Ross Johnson, Terry Jordan, Matt Kahn, Dave Kohls, Lew Klinge, Walt Page, Rich Payton, Ron Precup, Dave Reyno, Ben Roberts, John Smith, Bob Sutton, Greg Tepe, Bob Wachter and Joe Wagovich. Some former member spotted in the hall included Chuck Botts, Sean Devine, Dave Ermick, Bob Hoffman and Dean Schienbein. Mark Medrik, one of the “milkmen” was also with us. Great to have their support on this important nite.

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 68th year of the Alexandria Harmonizer Chapter. —YeEd