Friday, June 15, 2018

Looking Back on the June 12th Chapter Meeting 

Seems like everyone arrived at Scottish Rite Temple in Alexandria ready to get back to work and continue the success achieved at the weekend retreat!!

Risers were left up from last week and so that made things go fast for set up.  

Steve Murane and a crew of helpers brought back all the black chorus suits to reissue to everyone for use in Orlando.  That seemed to go well – thanks to Steve and his helpers.

Associate director Tony Colosimo did the vocal warm ups and reminded the singers many of the major vocal changes taught by Steve Scott at the retreat.

Director Joe Cerutti and Tony invited all singers onto the risers for work on songs for the fall anniversary show.  We worked on reviewing the stage presence for them as well with choreographer Carlos Barillo and instructions from Craig Kujawa and Chuck McKeever.

The Joe welcomed our friend and coach Cindy Hansen Ellis to help us with our contest set.

Joe revisited some of the connection exercises from the retreat to set the mood for work on the ballad.  And certainly Cindy’s skill at adding polish and details for greater performance effectiveness were a great addition to the nite’s work.  

Steve Murane also conducted the chapter meeting reminding everyone that all meetings and rehearsals in June will be at Scottish Rite Temple – including the send off for Orlando on June 26th.  That nite the chorus will work from 7-8 pm and then guests will get to see us perform the set a couple times.  Everyone is invited to attend.

As acting uniform chairman while Robyn is out of town, Steve mentioned that all new contest chorus singers who need a black suit should send Steve their coat and pants sizes so he can help you get a black suite and such for Orlando. Don’t delay if you are one of the new guys. 

Also stay tuned for word about a new tie and pocket stuffer for the contest outfit.

Our convention coordinator, Craig Kujawa, announced that we will have a Harmo Hideaway in Orlando at the Hyatt.  He asks everyone who is staying there to let him know their room confirmation number so that he can work with the hotel to get our folks into rooms around the suite and thus avoid noise problems.

It was also announced that we WILL meet on the Tuesday nite after the International convention, July 10th.  (In past years we have not met on that Tuesday.)

Members were encouraged to consider attending the Mid-Atlantic District Harmony College East back up at McDaniel College this weekend.  Go to

Chapter president Shawn Tallant thanked Chuck McKeever for his leadership and hard work in organizing another really successful retreat. 

Shawn also confirmed the announcement that the Harmonizers are going to England and Scotland in August of 2019. All those going need to pay $200 deposit immediately to Brad Jones. About 70 singers are going.
Shawn reported the Bob Wachter is still in the hospital and that Dixie Kennett is also in the hospital but hoping to get released soon.

Finally, Shawn announced that the board of directors has officially changed the name of our Spirit of Harmony Award to the Dick Hall Spirit of Harmony Award.  Great news.

Secretary Chris Buechler presented membership renewal cards to Craig Kujawa for 15 years and Mike Edison for 27 years.  Chris also reminded the three or four guys who still need to pay their dues that they need to get that done.

Mark Klostermeyer welcomed former members Jim Gammon and Doug White; Reed Livergood’s parents and his wife and new daughter; Tim Cash who we have not seen for a while; and singing applicants Peter, John, and  Dale.

After the break it was back to work on the contest songs – especially on the uptune, making sure of continued great singing and the performance details for the song. But there was time for a bandana check for the Class of 2018.  And there were a couple without their obligatory bandanas visible – so they performed a “I’m A Little Teapot” for all to enjoy!!!

For those who did not see it, here is the great news about the chapter’s recent award from Terry Reynolds:

Wednesday night, June 6th,  was the 2018 Greater Washington DC Area Choral Excellence "Ovation" Awards, sponsored by the Choralis Foundation.   Associate Director Tony Colosimo, President Shawn Tallant, and Assistant Director Terry Reynolds attended the event representing the Harmonizers.   We were nominated in the category "Best A Cappella Ensemble" this year and when it came time for the announcement, complete with opening of an envelope and a room full of musicians hitting our tables in group drum roll, the announced winner was "The Alexandria Harmonizers."  Tony went to the podium and proudly accepted the award with a gracious and brief acceptance speech.
This year as each of the nominees was presented, a recording played of the group singing.   Joe had submitted ours with an excerpt of America and an excerpt of “Deep River.”   It sounded amazing.    The only voters for these awards are the musical / artistic directors of the Washington area choral groups. 
Earlier in the evening, five choruses celebrating major anniversaries were recognized: 20 years, 25, 30, 40, and of course, the Alexandria Harmonizers with 70 years.  There was a nice oooooooo reaction from the crowd when they announced "70 years".
Choralis has different award categories each year.   Last year we were nominated for "Outstanding Specialty or Show Chorus" (but we didn't win).

A good crowd of guys went to Ramparts for an afterglow – the new location now that we are meeting at Braddock Road.

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

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Looking Back on the June 8-9th International Retreat 

Chapter members headed up to Westminster, MD, on Friday nite June 8th to gather for the working retreat of the Harmonizers on campus at McDaniel College. This is a regular event for the chapter prior to going to an International chorus contest. Those who left DC later in the afternoon faced a lot of traffic.  The front row worked for several hours that nite with presentation coach David McEachern, from Toronto.  Some members met with Steve Scott from the BHS staff in Nashville for voice coaching and singing help.  Also several members met with Dave Kohls for focus group sessions to discuss a new strategic plan.

Many of the Friday nite attendees had dinner in downtown Westminster at the Irish Pub. 

Saturday, June 9th, the rest of the members arrived – all in time for breakfast together.  Longtime retreat organizer, Chuck McKeever, had arranged for Saturday breakfast for all. Chuck and his crew had helped guys check in Friday eve and early Saturday. His helpers were Dean Sherick; Bob Blair who drove the truck, too; Jack Cameron; Bob Wells; and Sam McFarland.  The riser crew had things ready for the chapter early Friday afternoon. 

Saturday morning’s work session started at 8:45 am with associate director Tony Colosimo doing the vocal and physical warm ups.  The members were decked out in all sorts of Harmo gear, or in the case of the Class of 2018 (Connor Goss, Jerry Jayjohn, Mario Sengco, Mickey Robertson, Rob Barnovsky, Johan Westberg, Adam Afifi, and Chris Leyen) – their blue/green bandanas. (And some guys sported CAPS gear in honor of their Stanley Cup win!)

 Then director Joe Cerutti, just back from a trip to Alaska, officially introduced our coaches for the weekend and welcomed them to go to work after some opening remarks. Joe thanked the guys who had helped with musical leadership during his trip that took him out of town, and he  proudly shared the news about the chapter winning the 2018 Greater Washington DC Area Choral Excellence “Ovation: Award sponsored by Choralis Foundation.  (We were honored as ‘best a cappella ensemble.’ President Shawn Tallant, assistant director Terry Reynolds, and Tony were there to accept the award on June 6th  and presented the trophy to Joe).

Joe invited the chorus to do the first run thru so he and the coaches could observe and listen.  Assistant director Chuck Hunter directed the ballad - “We Kiss In a Shadow” arranged by David Wright.  Tony directed the uptune – “Blow, Gabriel, Blow” arranged by Rasmus Krigstrom.

Then the judges offered lots of suggestions and ideas.  They were a strong team helping us improve all day and evening on Saturday. After lunch on Saturday, the Archbishop Curley High School men’s chorus that was also on campus for the weekend, stopped in to hear our set.  Then Joe invited them to join the chapter on the risers and taught them a tag. 

Saturday nite after dinner, we worked more and then took a break to relax.  The Class of 2018 performed their skit for us all.  Joe ranked it the second best skit ever!  We also watched videos from the 1998 contest package and a performance of “Director’s Lament.” And then we had refreshments and lots of visiting.

Sunday morning everyone turned in their keys to Chuck and we worked more on the emotion of the ballad. Then Joe thanked the coaching team again and both David and Steve gave their concluding remarks.  The chapter gave each of them a Harmonizer camp shirt. Both coaches are eager to see us again in Orlando.

We closed the weekend with the tag we sing every year – “A Lifetime Is Not Too Long to Live As Friends.”
Last minute announcements before everyone took off for home included: Tuesday nite meeting is at Scottish Rite Temple; stay tuned for a possible repeat sing at Strathmore right after our fall show; drive safely.

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