Saturday, July 15, 2017

Looking Back on the July 11th Chapter Meeting
Fresh back from the International convention and after a break with no meeting on July 4th, this week’s meeting and rehearsal was a busy one.
Associate director Tony Colosimo did the warm ups and then director Joe Cerutti took over and briefed the chorus on some of the highlights from the Las Vegas contest. He congratulated our friends in Hershey for earning their first medal in the chorus contest.  And he was wearing his new #EveryoneInHarmony t-shirt.
He reviewed the four-point goals for members of the chorus and launched work right away then on the three contest songs we will be using for our coaching sessions at Harmony University in Nashville soon.
Executive director Terry Reynolds conducted the chapter meeting and welcomed Greg Tepe, who will be leaving for Ireland in a couple weeks for a two-year tour of duty.
As part of the possible change in meeting location from Durant, we will NOT meet at Durant on Aug 22nd, but instead try out the meeting space at Arlington Forest Methodist Church on Wednesday Aug. 23rd.  The change to Wednesday is a possibility for the future.
Terry announced that the rehearsals in Aug. and Sept. will be mandatory.  Sign up on groupanizer – especially note the extra Thursday rehearsals.
Hint for those flying to HU – be sure to sign up for the return trip bus to the airport.  Chuck McKeever will be video recording the highlights of the coaching sessions for all to review from HU.
President Randall Eliason welcomed Dave Kohls who has agreed to take over the membership director position recently vacated by Rich HewittDave will be forming a membership team and welcome volunteers.
Chris Huber reported on a recent phone conversation with Ms. Peggy Harris in France – the lady we sang too as part of our Normandy Trip.  She is now 94, still sings in her church choir, and says she sees our chorus picture from that wonderful day hanging on her wall every day.
New membership guy Dave welcomed five guests and we sang our welcome song to them. Great to have singers come visit us.
Before the end of the nite, we worked on the “Chicago” medley and the spiritual songs we have learned.
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
Looking Back on the 2017 International Contest and Convention, Las Vegas

Amazing numbers of current and former members of the Alexandria Chapter were at the 79th annual BHS International Convention and Contest in Las Vegas NV, July 2-9, 2016. Although the Harmonizers did not compete this year, and none of our quartets were able to compete, the Alexandria crowd was there to sing, work and volunteer, attend meetings, cheer for our friends from M-AD, meet old friends and hang out with each other.

Early arrivals volunteered at the convention such as Alan Wile and Keith Jones. Some folks came on to Vegas from a convention trip such as Jack Pitzer and Bruce Roehm.  And some guys came later in the week to join in the fun such as Craig Kujawa and Ken Rub.

The quartet gold was won by MAIN STREET with one of our chapter’s great coaches, Tony DeRosa, as their lead.  SIGNATURE quartet from FL who has been here in Alexandria a couple times to help us promote singing for youth was second. Third was AFTER HOURS from Bloomington, IL, who had won a collegiate contest some years ago.  Fourth was THROWBACK with former Harmonizer Sean Devine as lead.

The chorus gold was won by the Masters of Harmony, having scored 96.4% over the Dallas Vocal Majority who scored 96.2%. Central Standard was third. Toronto Northern Lights was fourth.  And our fellow M-AD friends from Hershey PA, Parkside chorus, won the fifth place medal with a 92% and Hell’s Kitchen from M-AD placed tenth with a score of 87.8%.

The contest venue was the Axis Theater in Planet Hollywood where Britney Spears appears.    .  It was a great place for the contest audience members. Attendees were mostly staying in Planet Hollywood, Bally’s and Paris hotels as the three are all connected.  The temperatures outside were over 110 degrees every day, so folks were glad to be inside.   A major water main inside Planet Hollywood burst on Saturday just before the grand spectacular and finals session.  It closed many paths to the venue and to the stage but it all worked out.  YeEd saw Sam McFarland leading some of the group singing as we waited for permission to go into the venue after security had to close parts of the place.

The contest judging panel included former coach Steve Tramack and our former director Richard Lewellen who was named head of the singing category of judges during meetings at the convention.  His wife, Christina, was present to represent Harmony Inc. as she is their president.

The contest and judging committee honored former member David Binetti for his work on new scoring software and our chapter secretary Chris Buechler was given an award of excellence by the C&J Committee for his career-long support and dedicated service on behalf of the judging program.  It is the highest award given by that committee.

Several former members sang in competing quartets in the contest: Scott Disney in ROUTE 1; David Ellis in THE HEMIDEMISEMIQUAVER 4; Sean Devine in THROWBACK; and Mark Rodda in ZERO HOUR.

Several current members and many former members sang with one of the 30 competing choruses. Two current members sang in Hershey Parkside Chorus – Michael Vlcej and Pookie
Dingle along with former members Sean Devine, Jay Butterfield, Scott Disney, Ed Schubel, Kenny Toula and Fred Womer. Members Sam McFarland and John Adams sang with the Carolina Vocal Express chorus and former member Mark Rodda did also. The following former members sang in the chorus contest: Michael Gilmore sang with the Alliance chorus from OH; Joe Kane and Lynn Hineman sang with the Harolds of Harmony from FL; TJ Donohue and Kevin Kaiser sang with the Colorado Sound of the Rockies (Kevin was even in the front row!); Lou Bergner sang with Toronto Northern Lights; Ray Johnson and Jim Haggerty sang with the Masters of Harmony;  Ben Luttge sang with the Men of Independence from IN;  Ken Potter was director of the Northwest Sound from WA; Spencer Wight sang with the Voices of Gotham; and Jack Stevens sang with the chorus mic testers The Marcsmen from TX.

Former member Jay Butterfield served on the judging panel for the Youth Quartet contest (formerly called the Collegiate Quartet Contest). John Santora was contest administrator for that event.  As part of the convention (actually mic testers for the second half of the chorus contest), a reunion chorus of youth quartet participants sang and former Harmonizers Joe Eckert and Ed Schubel  were on the risers. Ed, who sang with last year’s youth champ quartet PRATT STREET POWER from M-AD, also competed in the main quartet contest and placed 18th. One of Joe Cerutti’s major duties at the convention as a BHS staffer was the youth program and he sang with the reunion chorus as a former collegiate quartet contestant.  

The Saturday nite spectacular, which preceded the quartet finals, was awesome and featured a 350-man chorus of Ambassadors of Harmony and Dallas Vocal Majority, with quartet appearances with them in combined music from SPECTRUM and CROSSROADS, plus GQ, a popular SAI quartet from our area.

A major announcement at this convention was the roll-out of the new strategic vision – EVERYONE IN HARMONY.  You can access a video and details about it at It is exciting to see how well current efforts by our chapter fit into this new direction.

The BHS board meetings held early in the week saw our own John Santora elected as incoming treasurer. Several of our former members were at the convention as past BHS presidents including Daryl Flinn and Alan Lamson.

Terry Reynolds, John Santora and Jay Butterfield taught classes during the week as part of the Harmony University sessions during the convention. 

Gary Smith was present to receive his 50-year membership pin at a breakfast function hosted by Rick Taylor as emcee (and part of his duties as Harmony Foundation staff).  Mike Everard and Alan Kousen also were announced as 50-year members and Alan Wile accepted on their behalf.

Chapter president Randall Eliason attended the convention as did former presidents Dwain Chambers and Gary Plaag. Other current members in Vegas for the convention included Chuck Hunter, Ross Johnson, Tom Gannon, Jordan Haedtler, Eric Wallen and Mike Wallen.  Former members present included Jim Lake, Larry Silva, Steve Matuszewski, Dan Cook and Bob Hirsh. Associate members Ellen Dellert and Dixie Kennett attended too. Dixie was also a volunteer and helped with judges hospitality.

Thanks to Dixie and Alan for helping collect names of current and former members at the convention.

It is Great to Be a Harmonizer!

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 during the 70th year of the Alexandria Harmonizer Chapter. —YeEd.)

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Looking Back on the June 27th Chapter Meeting
(Thanks again to Don Harrington for reporting on this meeting while YeEd is in Alaska.)
After a great warm -up, we jumped right into our newest song, "Blow, Gabriel, Blow." Good thing the All Sections rehearsal last Saturday was well attended, because the pace is accelerating and the excitement is building. Next, we worked on "The More I See You."
Special guest was Doug Carnes, director of the BHS Great Northern Union chapter, in town to join Joe, the PRATT STREE POWER quartet and others to promote singing at several venues, including the U.S. Congress this week. We enjoyed singing with other guests, including two first time guests.
Chapter Secretary Chris Buechler delivered membership renewal cards to Ike Evans (30 years), Ian Poulin (17 years) and Steve Szyszka. Last week, Stan Quick received his card for 6 years.
EDITOR NOTE:Â The following bulleted announcements were also distributed by Stan Quick through groupanizer.
· No rehearsal/ chapter meeting next Tuesday (July 4)
· If you are going to HU, be sure you have signed up for classes. Lots of information is being sent out by email from the various instructors and coaches to help you prepare.
· Watch your email Thursday - the BHS is preparing to send a big announcement.
· Operations Director, Mike Edison, is trying to find a new, permanent rehearsal space instead of Durant. Please contact Mike if you have an idea.
· A group of 8-10 alumni of Vickie Dennis's private vocal instruction (PVI) got together to do a brief progress & feedback session with Vickie. She ended by having the group sing 30 seconds in their old way, then had them sing using the suggestions she had given each guy individually. The result was a much improved unit sound. If you're wondering if a PVI session may help our chorus, the answer is a resounding "yes".
Congratulations to Josh DesPortes who was back on the risers after his recent wedding. Bob Rhome was the lucky winner of 50-50. Thanks, Alan Wile and Walt Page. You are doing s superb job collecting contributions! Thanks to also to Jeff Burkey, Sandy Stamps, Kellen Hertz and others who stepped up to provide refreshments in Jack Pitzer's absence, and thanks to Jack, who takes the lead on this week after week.
After substantial work on 'I Was Here" and the Chicago medley, which will be performed, but not rehearsed, at Harmony University, Â the meeting ended with the guests being called to the front and treated to a performance of "There Must Be a City."

In other news - Alan Wile reports these Harmonizers and former Harmonizers were at this year’s Harmony College East, held for the first time on campus at McDaniel College in Westminster MD, June 16-17: Steve Guy, Joe Cerutti, Gary Plaag, Mike Louque, John Santora, Drew Fuller, Dean Sherrick, Mike Fasano, Mike Kelly, Bob Hirsh, Bob Eckman, Gary Bibens, Bill Colosimo, Dennis Ritchey and of course Alan.
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

Monday, July 10, 2017

Looking Back on the June 20th Chapter Meeting
(Thanks to Don Harrington for reporting on this meeting while YeEd is in Alaska.)

Heavy traffic notwithstanding, the weekly rehearsal started on time with Director Joe Cerutti teaching us a couple of tags and then helping us improve "A Place on the Risers for You," the beautiful, bittersweet song composed and arranged by the late John Hohl and words by another Harmonizer, Bob Bates, that we sing to departing members.
Standing in the center, Joe placed the chorus in various configurations without risers involving circles, marching, clapping, humming, and listening to introduce and begin working on our new up tune, "Blow, Gabriel, Blow."   Next, we worked on the Chicago medley, which we will debut in Nashville in July at Harmony University. 
Executive Director Terry Reynolds thanked the eight guys who represented the chapter at a singing gig at the Masonic temple in honor of the 300th anniversary of the founding of the Masonic Lodge.  In attendance were many notables including the Duke of Kent, who congratulated the group for its rendering of "God Save the Queen."  In a related note, Harmonizer supporter Paul Dolinsky presented the chapter with a check for $3,000 on behalf of the Masonic Lodge. 
Terry announced that Rich Hewitt is stepping down as Membership Director, after having served in this position and similar ones for many years.  Rich was honored with a round of applause and members were encouraged to consider serving as Rich's replacement. 
Terry announced that the Harmonizers will continue meeting at the Durant Center while continuing to pursue other options.  Give your suggestions to Mike Edison.  At least one alternative under consideration would require us to move weekly meetings to another day of the week.  A show of hands indicated that Wednesdays would be workable for most members present.
President Randall Eliason echoed thanks for Rich's service, then shared a note received last week from Marty Monson, BHS Executive Director.  Responding to last week's Weekly Notes reporting on the Harmonizer's 69th birthday celebration, Marty said how great it is that the Harmonizers celebrate our history.  Kudos to Jack Pitzer!
It was great to welcome several guests, including at least two returnees.
After break, we split into sections, including one for men who had committed to learn "I Was Here" by today, then returned to rehearse with everyone on both new potential contest songs.  Ike Evans, the lucky 50/50 winner, directed us in "Keep the Whole World Singing" to finish the night.
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