Saturday, May 6, 2017

Looking Back on the May 2nd Chapter Meeting and Sing with Alfred Street Choir on April 26th
Last week on Wed, April 26th, Harmonizers gathered with the men’s choir from Alfred Street Baptist Church in Old Town Alexandria for a sing and social nite.  The meeting was at Convergence on Quaker Lane.  Their choir warmed up in the sanctuary and we warmed up in a classroom. 
We sang first - “I’ll Be Seeing You” and “Summertime” and one of our new spirituals, “There Must Be a City.”  Joe did the warm ups and directed. Then the choir sang with Melvin Bryant directing.  Their church music program director Joyce Garrett accompanied them.
After that we all sat together and Melvin taught us “Down By the Riverside” and Joe taught the combined group “Rock My Soul.”  This will yield a combined performance at the Alexandria GospelFest next month.
After lots of singing, we shared lemonade and a cake with “Singing Together” decoration. It was a fun evening for all.
Then on Tuesday May 2nd, it was back to hard work on our music at Durant.  Director Joe Cerutti did the warm ups using “The Star Spangled Banner” as our exercise – since we will be singing it for the Armed Forces Day event soon. We also worked on “Armed Forces Medley” for that event.
Then we embarked on contest preparation for the Southern Division which is coming up during the weekend May 26-27. Joe invited assistant director Chuck Hunter to coach the package.  It was a great session and we got some solid work time in on the songs – especially to help the many new members perform these Harmonizer standbys.
At the start of the chapter meeting session, Joe explained that we would be participating in a workshop next week about “inclusion” as part of our growth and development as a chapter.  Dr. Sheila Peters from Nashville TN will be the facilitator for the session.
Executive director Terry Reynolds began the important announcements:
The chapter is co-sponsor of Alexandria’s GospelFest which will be at Durant on the weekend of May 19-20.  We will sing on the Sat session from 11-1. The FAIRFIELD FOUR will be our guests and appear both on Fri and Sat.
Later on Sat afternoon, the chapter will have our Armed Forces Tribute event also at Durant from 3-4.
As a reminder, the chorus will be singing at the Southern Division contest on Sat. May 27th.  The chapter must qualify to go to the district contest in the fall.  The division contest is in Reston.  Another reminder – each man must be paid up on his dues, and must have a contest registration/ticket. They are $42 each and can be purchased on site or in advance on the district website – Hope many of the members will go on Friday nite to cheer for the seven quartets with Harmonizers singing in them. That contest session starts at 5 pm.
For those going to Harmony U in August, you need to reply to a survey request from conventions coordinator Craig Kujawa as to your travel plans to Nashville.
There is also an opportunity for members to help Craig plan and manage our chapter’s duties in hosting the fall contest in Reading PA. Speak with him if you can help.
President Randall Eliason presented a President’s Valor Award to Clyde Crusenberry for his successful work in getting together a theater party at Little Theater of Alexandria for the chapter.  Everyone had fun and we even sang for other show patrons.
Randall reported that Bob Ulibarri was having some heart issues and in the hospital.  More details to come.
The communications committee has produced a new chapter business card that members can carry with them for prospective members or gigs
The chapter has arranged with Vickie Dennis to provide private vocal instruction sessions on Tuesday nites during chapter meeting between 7:30-9 pm. There is a small fee.  
Secretary Chris Buechler presented a membership renewal card and lapel pin to Paul Grimes in recognition of his 30 years.
A task force met with operations chairman Mike Edison regarding replacing the Harmo truck during the break.
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 69th year of the Alexandria Harmonizer Chapter. —YeEd

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Looking Back on the April 25th Chapter Meeting and Community Sing on April 19th
Last week on Wed, April 19th, over 70 Harmonizers and some family members joined in the fun community sing hosted in SE Washington DC by Dr. Ysaye Barnwell.  What fun.  Harmonizer Dave Branstetter reported the event this way: “The Community Sing was different – no written music, no precisely defined harmonies, no judges, and frankly no audience (we were ALL chorus and audience at the same time!). Taking those components out of the equation reminded us of something we might otherwise lose sight of – the pure, simple, unadulterated joy that comes from JUST SINGING! People of different backgrounds and different abilities coming together to experience the simple joy that comes from singing together.”
The Harmonizers wore their black camp shirt outfits and at the invitation of Dr. Barnwell, sang “Rock My Soul” and “I’ll Be Seeing You.” Joe was pleased and spoke briefly to the other 100 or so singers present explaining our current work project with the spiritual music.
This week’s meeting on April 25th  was a repeat of last week’s format – warm up, sitting in chairs around the keyboard with Joe working on new music.  We concentrated on the melody for “I Was There” and polished on “Roll Jordon Roll” and we worked hard on our “Chicago” medley.
Tag time at 6:50 pm was taught by Mike Kelly.  Secretary Chris Buechler presented membership renewal cards to Dean Sherick for five years and Alan Kousen for 51 years!
The chapter guys had fun talking to Dick Hall when many of them called him on his 85th birthday on Saturday.  It was a small token of thanks for his having called every member on his birthday for many, many years.

Joe also reported the news Bob Austin died unexpectedly on Monday.  He was a former baritone in the chapter and in several important chapter quartets such as CAPITOL CHORD AUTHORITY and the original COPYRIGHT ’86 with Bill Colosimo, Mike Wallen and Steve White. His wife and daughter sing with Pride of Baltimore SAI chorus.

Joe thanked all the workers and singers for a successful and high energy Youth Harmony Festival.

Joe was excited to remind the chorus of another community sign event Wednesday, April 26th at Convergence. We will join the men’s choir from Alfred Street Baptist Church in Old Town Alexandria. Thanks to Dr. Joyce Garret for the invite. We will wear black camp shirt and jeans. Warm up at 6:30.

Saturday nite many members and family friends will attend the Little Theater of Alexandria performance of “The Fabulous Lipitones” as a group and organized by Clyde Crusenberry.

Here are other events on our calendar in the weeks ahead:

- Tues. May 9th with Dr. Sheila Peters working with us on an inclusion workshop.

- Southern Division contest for quartets and choruses will be May 26-27 in Reston. Our chorus will compete Saturday afternoon.  YeEd hears that several quartets are working to enter too.

- We will co-sponsor a Gospel Fest at Durant on May 19-20.

- And in middle of that event, we will have our Armed Forces Day salute show at 3 pm on Saturday.

- June 7 we will sing at Casey Belzer’s school where he is music teacher – George Washington Middle in Alexandria. About 7 pm as part of a fund raiser event.

Operations team directors met at Durant after our meeting ended this week. Executive director Terry Reynolds encouraged each many to carefully read Craig Kujawa’s newsletter about travel to Harmony U.  Make plans and respond as needed.

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 69th year of the Alexandria Harmonizer Chapter. —YeEd
Looking Back on the April 22nd Youth Harmony Festival
This was the chapter’s 9th festival and we providing singing opportunity for about 50 students – 20  men and 30 women. The all-day event was at Durant beginning at 8:30 am.  There were students from seven schools.
Chapter director education Vickie Dennis was organizer for this year’s festival.  Joe Cerutti was dean of the school and brought opening remarks and welcome to the students, other faculty, guest quartets and school music educators. Tony Colosimo was clinician for the men and Hailey Parks was clinician for the women.  Two guest quartets came to help with the teaching, singing and working with the students: SIGNATURE from BHS coming up from FL (They have been in our area several times to help recruit students and music educators for this event and similar experiences); and CLASS RING from SAI coming from many states in this area including TN. Carlos Barillo was choreo instructor for the youth choruses.
Harmonizers helped with set up on Friday nite and many members brought in snacks, drinks, water, and dessert goodies for the students. On Saturday morning, more guys helped get things rolling, brought in ice to cool drinks, helped with registration, welcomed the students and other guests, and had the coffee on for early morning break. Members of the Vienna Falls SAI chorus also helped with morning set up and kick off.  Tony did the warm ups after the introductions and the two choruses worked on their songs for the Saturday nite show.
Just before dinner and after an exhausting day of hard work on music and choreo, the student’s energy level was getting low.  What better way to spark instant interest than a spontaneous judging event.  The student body was divided into three groups, each containing a mix of young men and women.  The music teachers attending became the judges and each group chose a name and decided what tag they had learned during the day to sing for the contest.  The three groups were vying for a guaranteed place at the front of the dinner buffet line. The competition was fierce for that prize.  After the announcement of the winning group, Joe had one more surprise to up keep up the interest level.  Each group had to meet one more time and decide three things they would do to improve their presentation and a spokesperson from each group reported the results to the audience.  After that, it was a race to get in line for the pizza feed at 6 pm.

During the dinner hour, Harmonizers began to trickle in, students gathered in the hallways to sing and go over choreo, and parents and guests arrived and got seated.  By 7 pm the hall was filled and buzzing.  Joe Cerutti was emcee for the evening’s show and welcomed the guests by describing the day’s events and the achievements the youth had made in the course of the day. 

Three guest quartets sang two songs apiece during the evening show: UP ALL NIGHT (1st place, region 14 competition, SAI) from Vienna Falls chapter; CLASS RING (5th. place SAI International); and SIGNATURE (4th. place BHS International).  The quartet presentations were interspersed with the chorus performances.  The Harmonizers sang “Rock My Soul,” “Summertime,” and “All You Need Is Love.”

The youth women’s chorus and the youth men’s chorus each sang one song for the show. The wore their YHF tee shirts for the show. Before inviting the combined youth choruses to the stage to sing together for the finale, Joe acknowledged all of the people who made the event possible, especially Vicki Dennis, the Harmonizer director of education for all her work in organizing the event.

Harmonizers pitched in to clean up and put things away after the show.  (YeEd thanks Tom Berkey for taking notes for this report).

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 69th year of the Alexandria Harmonizer Chapter. —YeEd