Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Looking Back on the Sept. 17th Appearance at Carnegie Hall
The bus loads of Harmonizers stopped outside of Carnegie Hall in New York City late Sunday morning, Sept. 17th after driving several hours from Reading, PA, and their contest and convention weekend.

The chorus was hired to appear on the 10th annual Circle Wind Concert – a Japan-U.S. Chorus Festival at Carnegie scheduled for 5 pm.  These concerts help raise funds for world tragedies such as 9/11 in NYC, the Tsunami in Japan also in 2011, and now the Hurricanes in Texas and Florida in the US.  The chorus appeared on this festival one other time right after the Tsunami.

This year’s concert featured a group from Spain, Japan Choral Harmony; a Circle Wind Boys and Girls Choir;  a Japanese girls’ choir; Tohoku University mixed chorus and the university male chorus; and the Harmonizers, who sang last.  The Alexandria chorus sang Neil Diamond’s “America,” “There Must Be a City” spiritual from THE FAIRFIELD FOUR, “I’ll Be Seeing You,” “All You Need Is Love” and “Blow, Gabriel, Blow.” When the cheering audience and other performers called for an encore, the Harmonizers performed “New York, New York” as we had done on the 2011 show.

The concert began will all countries represented on the stage and each country’s singers sang their National Anthem.

The busses had left Reading at 7:15 am with a stop for lunch en route. After a solid rehearsal in a sixth floor rehearsal room in Carnegie, there was a break for dinner and changing into the black suits with tie.

Terry Reynolds and director Joe Cerutti spoke during the Harmonizer segment of the show.  The entire show lasted about two and a half hours. We also all sang a song in Japanese (which we had learned on the busses en route.) that was the finale of the show.

There were a number of Japanese folks that had been with us the first time and so those musical friendships continued.

After the successful show, guys changed back into casual travel gear and many loaded the first bus to head back to Maryland and Virginia. The remaining 30 or so singers and family members went to Applebee’s for an afterglow with other performers.  There was a lot of singing –each group taking turns singing another song.  Since nearly no one could communicate in words, we sang to each other.  When we sang “New York, New York” again, our new friends came and did the chorus kick line too! We sang part of the “Chicago” medley and that really got the young Japanese singers excited, as they knew the songs from Chicago! When we sang “Keep The Whole World Singing,” there were no dry eyes - the essence of the song with singers from around the world. We had to rush to our bus parked outside! A fond farewell to all.

The afterglow gang got back to Virginia about 3 am.

This event was certainly one more “Breathless Moment” for Harmonizers and especially for the many men who had not been on the Carnegie stage before.  Twelve year old Micky Robertson certainly had a milestone moment.  He was interviewed by Japanese media.

Luckily we did not have to do risers, sound or such in this famous theater. YeEd hears from members that the venue was beautifully renovated since our last appearance there.

Shawn Tallant deserves much credit for the success of this event having worked for months as our primary contact with the Japanese organizers of the concert, plus working on all communications, organizing, arranging busses and coordinating hotel payments for our singers.

Also credit is due to Bob Rhome who did amazing work in helping the members prep for packing, bus departures and scheduling. His bus co-captains were Steve Murane, Clyde Crusenberry and Rob Barnovsky. Craig Kujawa collected for the afterglow. Certainly director Joe Cerutti and associate director Tony Colosimo and choreographer Carlos Barillo helped get the chorus up to their peak after a long bus ride! Chorus manager Mark Klostermeyer helped get the large chorus from point A to point B on time. 

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 70th year of the Alexandria Harmonizer Chapter. —YeEd

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