Friday, October 12, 2018

Looking Back on the October 9th Chapter Meeting 

This was a busy nite to launch more of the music for the holiday show and to alert members to the busy weeks ahead for shows and sing outs.

Associate director Tony Colosimo did the warm ups and taught a great tag – “September Love” - for all to learn and enjoy.  Then director Joe Cerutti went right to work on the holiday songs with a sectional for “Gloria” and then everyone back on the risers to work on it together. He used the same format as each song came up.

And he used that same format to reinforce previous work on “From This Moment On” that we will perform for the Bark Ball on Oct. 20th.  We will actually record it on Oct. 16 and sing with the recording (the hall is so large it is the best way to make the music heard by all). The uniform will be tuxedos and anyone who has a tux is asked to come to that show – even if they have to just mouth the words.

The chapter meeting was conducted as usual by communications director Steve Murane.

For the next two weeks (Oct. 16th and Oct. 23rd) our meeting will be in the cafeteria at Scottish Rite Temple.  

The Men’s Choral Fellowship Event on Wed. Oct. 17th will be at 7pm at Alfred Street Baptist Church, 301 S. Alfred Street, in Alexandria.  Uniform will be the black camp shirt with jeans, etc. Call time is 6:30 however. We will be joined by the Men’s Choir from Alfred Street and the Metropolitan Baptist Church Men’s Chorus.  Joe will teach the groups “Irish Blessing”

The Bark Ball, Oct. 20th will be at the Washington Hilton, 1919 Connecticut Ave. NW.  Plan ahead to take Metro or pay high prices for parking. Chorus call time is 6 pm. Dressing rooms will be available. Stay tuned also for details about an afterglow near the venue as announced by shows chairman and cheerleader Joe Cerutti Sr. in his new t-shirt “I Work for Rock Stars!”

The Holiday Show is Dec. 8th at 7:30 pm at TC Williams High School on King Street. Tickets go on sale Oct. 15th thru EventBrite.  Singing with the chorus will be our own TBD a cappella group, and BETTER TOGETHER (Tony and Elizabeth Colosimo and Andrew and Heather Havens mixed quartet).  We will repeat the very fun version of the “Hallelujah Chorus” with Monks.  Friends and relatives of members may sign up to be in this group – as long as they can attend a rehearsal from 6:30-7:30 pm every Tuesday in November.

The first half of the holiday show will be toys/elves again.  So singers need to start working on their costume for this.  New guys should ask for ideas about this and also check with uniform chair Robyn Murane regarding any uniform parts.  (This goes for tux outfits too.)

Terry Reynolds reported that a quartet composed of Carl Kauffmann, Frank Fedarko, Troy Hillier and Terry) attended the recent funeral for Don O’Connor.  His family was most appreciative for their singing “I’ll Walk with God” and “I’ll Be Seeing You” for the service.

President Shawn Tallant saluted Bob Eckman who becomes president of the M-AD and was named to the district’s Hall of Honor this past weekend at the convention.  Shawn also saluted our two senior quartets that competed in the Senior International Qualifier contest –YOUTH RECLAMATION PROJECT placing first and SILVER ALERT placing third.

Shawn reported on some family health matters: Mike Geipel fell from a ladder working in his lawn and injured his right foot that has him using a crutch til things heal; and Alan Lamson had a bout with kidney stones during the convention while he was on the judging panel over the weekend, but was able to return to his home after a hospital visit.

The chapter leadership is working to schedule a possible sing out day at local nursing and senior citizen locations on Dec. 15th.  Watch for details.

Shawn announced that the chapter will take a 4-week holiday break after the pub crawl which will be on Dec. 18th.  The chapter tradition of a Holiday Heat Glow will be continued at the home of Jack and Pat Pitzer on Sat. eve, Jan. 5th.

And for those who plan ahead, the next Presidents’ Ball will be on Sat. Feb. 16, 2020.
Secretary Chris Buechler reported that Dixie Kennett is home from the hospital following her major surgery on Thursday Oct. 4th.

Chris presented membership renewals to Antony Takahashi for 16 years; Mike Schwartz for 23 years; Carl Kauffmann for 46 years, and Jack Pitzer for 53 years.

Membership chairman Calvin Schnure welcomed singing guests Tyler and Dylan, and LeAnn Snyder, a friend of Terry’s.

After a break, we sang more holiday show songs.  The whole nite we sang in a circle on the floor of the auditorium.

After the meeting, all members helped move our equipment out of the auditorium since it will be used by other groups the next two weeks.

Plus a good crew of guys went to Ramparts for an afterglow.

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, October 10, 2018

Looking Back on the October 5-6th Fall M-AD Contest and Convention

This year’s fall M-AD contest and convention was in Reading, PA, at the Santander Performing Arts Center the weekend of Oct. 5 and 6.

The quartet contest started at 5:27 pm.  There were two quartets from our chapter in the line-up – singing fourth was YOUTH RECLAMATION PROJECT with Mike Wallen, Roger Tarpey, Hardman Jones, and Vic Owen.  They place ninth in the quartet contest to name a district champ, and first in the International senior qualifier contest. They will go to the midwinter BHS convention in Nashville. SILVER ALERT with Rich Savage, Mike Edison, Will Cox, and Steve Murane sang eighteenth placed third in the senior contest.  

There were eighteen quartets in the contest including a tight race between PRATT STREET POWER who ended in second place again behind MIDTOWN. Sixth place quartet was the QUINN-TONES – young men from an elementary school in NJ.  For old time Harmonizers, one of our chorus oldies was sung by a quartet – “The Red Rose Rag.”

There were sixteen choruses in the competition on Saturday morning.  Terry Reynolds was emcee for this event. The Harmonizers did not sing since the chapter is taking a trip to Europe next summer, however several members and former members sang with other choruses on Saturday.  Sam McFarland and Art Medici sang with Fairfax directed by Richard Lewellen. Rick Taylor sang with Dundalk. Mike Fasano sang with Queen Anne’s County. Former member Chuck Botts sang with Frederick. Mike Vlcej, Sean Devine, and Jay Butterfield appeared with Hershey. Mike Geipel (with a crutch after a bad fall that messed up his foot) with Richmond, along with Mike Wallen, their director and Paul Lynch, Bob Wilson, and Jim McConnell. John Santora and Tim Buell sang with Patapsco Valley.

Hershey won the chorus contest but declined the right to go to International next summer in Salt Lake City.  So the second place chorus, Hell’s Kitchen NY, will go to SLC. 

Several other Harmonizers were in Reading for the event including Lew Klinge, Jack Pitzer, Alan Wile, Bill Colosimo, and Steve White, who organized the past district quartet champs salute to this year’s quartet winner on Saturday nite. Other Harmonizer family working for the weekend event included Mike and Kristin Kelly, Mike Fasano, and Matt Doniger all on the district events team. 

Bob Eckman, who is essentially vice president of the M-AD, was in charge this year and helped back stage and host various meetings.  President Dennis Ritchey was unable to attend. Bob was also inducted into the M-AD Hall of Honor this year.  Great to have one more of our men on that roster!

Bob saluted all chapter Barbershoppers of the Year listed in the program and/or attending which included Chuck McKeever for our chapter. Bruce Minnick was listed for the Mount Vernon Chapter. Bob organized displays from many chapters in the lobby area of the venue and our display (created by Martin Banks with show flyers on the table and with our Harmo banner hung above it from the balcony by Robyn Murane) looked great!

The mic testing chorus for Saturday was guys and gals from around the district and our three reps were the production team from our recent fall show Rob Langsdon, Rebecca Conner, and Krissi Folsom

Our coaches from the summer retreat where there this weekend – Steve Scott representing the BHS staff and emcee for the quartet finals, and David McEachern from Toronto was a performance judge. Alan Lamson was contest administrator for the judging panel and Chris Buechler was also helping with contest administration.

Several Harmonizers attended the House of Delegates meeting on Sunday at the headquarters hotel Doubletree Hilton.

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

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Looking Back on the October 6th Performance for Art on the Avenue in Alexandria

(Thanks to Don Harrington for taking notes at this event.  YeEd

On Saturday, October 6, the Alexandria Harmonizers performed for Art on the Avenue, a multi-cultural arts festival celebrating community diversity through the arts in the Del Ray neighborhood in Alexandria, Virginia. The Harmonizers enjoy performing at this annual home town festival, which provides an opportunity to give back to the community, build our brand and gain new fans.

The Harmonizers performed a varied repertoire of 10 songs to an enthusiastic audience starting at 1:00 PM at the Colonel Arnold D. Gabriel Concert Band Stage at the Mt. Vernon Recreation Center.  Sharing the directing duties were musical director Joe Cerutti, associate director Tony Colosimo, and assistant director Chuck Hunter.  Solos were performed Tony Colosimo, Frank Fedarko, Kevin McKenzie, and Clyde Crusenberry.  Master of Ceremony was president Shawn Tallant.

Over 25 other musical groups performed for some 50,000 visitors strolling down Mt. Vernon Avenue in Del Ray, Alexandria, between Bellefonte and Hume Avenues at one of 5 stages.  Other artists (jewelers, woodworkers, pottery makers, soap crafters, glass makers, unique painters, sculptures, fabric artists) and food vendors (hot dogs, BBQ, Indian, crab cakes, chocolate bananas dipped on a stick, homemade cider donuts) provided something for everyone. 

About 45 guys assembled in the meeting room of the Mt. Vernon Recreation Center at noon in our casual uniform (black camp shirt and jeans) to warm up and make last minute adjustments.  Starting at 1:00 PM, our 45 minute set was performed under cloudy skies and warm weather.  Several Harmonizer friends were in the crowd cheering us on including Liz Birnbaum and Dave Kohls, and Walt Page who "worked the crowd" and invited fans to come to our Holiday show, December 8. 

A large group of helpers made quick work of the risers with special thanks to Bob Blair and Dean Sherick who rented the trailer and drove the truck; and to the early and late riser crews who brought the risers from and returned them to the Scottish Rite temple.  Several of the guys stayed around to enjoy the festival.

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

Sunday, October 7, 2018

Looking Back on the October 2nd Chapter Meeting 

Musically we continued our work on the holiday show songs and the special song for the Bark Ball. Director Joe Cerutti was back from his travels and judging assignments.

The work time was divided with sectionals on a holiday song we had not worked on recently and then the chorus sang returned to the risers to sing it together.  We used the same technique for “From This Moment On” that we will record in a couple weeks to use at the Oct. 20 gig.

This week we also held our annual chapter meeting and elected the officers as nominated:  President – Shawn Tallant; Immediate Past President – Terry Reynolds; Secretary – Christopher Buechler; Treasurer – Alan Herman; Members at Large – David Branstetter, Clyde Crusenberry, and Matt Doniger

Communications director Steve Murane conducted the meeting and provided this quick reminder of the full schedule in Oct. for the chorus:

* fall M-AD contests in Reading PA Oct. 5-6 – chorus will not sing, but many members will be attending as administrators, fans of the quartet and ops team helpers. SILVER ALERT will compete.
* Arts on the Avenue – the chorus sings in Del Ray Sat. Oct. 6th from 1-1:45 pm.  Report time is noon.  Wear black camp shirts and sing a long list of songs. Riser crews were recruited.
* Men’s Choral Fellowship event at Alfred Street Baptist Church, Oct. 17, at 7 pm
* Bark Ball Oct. 2 in DC – uniform will be tails.
* Our holiday show at TC Williams Hi School, 7:30 pm Dec. 8th. Ticket sales will begin on Oct. 15th with Dean Sherick as ticket chairman.

Last year’s president Randall Eliason presented a 2018 presidential Award for Meritorious Service to Martin Banks – our unofficial historian and guy with the pulse of our history materials.  Martin was particularly recognized for his terrific series on FaceBook of “Throwback Thursday” articles about the chapter during our 70 years.  He posted a piece for 40 weeks during the year. Recently Martin provided much of the background materials, photos and such for the 70th anniversary show, and for this he was presented a framed show flyer from that event. The chapter members gave him a rousing standing ovation for his hard work.

President Shawn Tallant acknowledged and gave a cheer for SILVER ALERT who will be competing at the M-AD contest this weekend.

He also reported on some family matters for the chapter including the recent passing of Don O’Connor, 85,  who was a member from 1980 - 2003. He sang lead and was member of all four international championship choruses. Services for him will be Oct. 4th at Miller’s Funeral Home in Woodbridge. Some members will try to organize a quartet or octet to sing as per the family wishes. 

Jack McKendree also died this week and his service will be at 2 pm, Oct. 5, at Bruton Parish Church in Williamsburg, VA.  He was once the editor of our bulletin, The Echo, and served as treasurer in the 1970s. Jack was 85.  He sang bari in the chorus. 

President Shawn also gave a brief update on Mike Everard who is recovering at his home after his amputation surgery.  He still manages his duties as president of the Mount Vernon Harmony Heritage Singers and has a battery of in-home sessions for therapy.  Tuesday, Martin Banks, took a display over for Mike to see before we take that display to the fall M-AD contest this weekend.  Martin brought it to chapter for all to see also.

Chapter secretary Chris Buechler presented a membership renewal card to Chuck McKeever for 32 years!

Membership chair Calvin Schnure welcomed guests for this week including Tyler who has moved to DC from TN where he sang barbershop, and Susan Jayjohn, mom of Jerry, who is in town to support her son following his tonsillectomy on Wed!

Before break, chapter leaders presented a preview of the Strategic Plan for the chapter at this juncture.  Liz Birnbaum, president of our second 501 (c) 3 chapter –  AH Inc. –  started the report to the members.

She began her report with word that Kristin Kelly will be in charge of the Silent Auction at the holiday show. Every member is asked to solicit gift cards and major gift packages for that auction.

Liz then introduced Marie Muscella who was a volunteer to help chapter leaders facilitate the strategic plan work.  Marie explained how they obtained input from members throughout the process such as a survey, personal interviews with a cross section of members, and focus groups at the retreat.

Our new mission statement is “Enriching lives through vocal harmony in the greater DC area.”

The four major goals are (1) to attain the highest level of vocal quality; (2) define and expand our community impact; (3) develop and improve our brand awareness; and (4) create financial health for the chapter.
This 4-year plan has more details that surely will be distributed to the chapter members.  

After the meeting and a break, the chorus was back to work on the songs for Art on the Avenue for Sunday.

In other recent news, about 20 guys sang at the wedding for Joia  Hertz, Kellen’s sister Sat. Sept. 29th. at Church of the Nativity in Burke

A crew of guys went to Ramparts for an afterglow as usual.

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