Sunday, November 17, 2019

Looking Back on the Nov. 12th Chapter Meeting and Nov. 11th Veterans Day Event

A good-sized chorus was on the risers on a really cold nite in Virginia.  Associate director Tony Colosimo did vocal warm ups for the singers.  The usual crew of folks had set up the sound and other meeting paraphernalia in advance. The chapter BHS board met at 6 pm.

Everyone was ready to sing with gusto on the songs for the holiday shows. They are sounding terrific – our audiences will be so happy.

Tony thanked all the men who sang on Monday for the Veterans Day ceremony. (See story below.)
He also pointed out that next week there is a rehearsal on Tuesday and on Thursday . For those  who have asked, there is not a rehearsal the nite before the Strathmore performance.

Tony asked for a round of applause to thank  Steve Szyszka for all of his work to help get the learning materials out to the chorus for “Twelve Days of Christmas” during various changes and additions. Later in the evening Steve shared some musical history regarding his beloved Ukraine  with a story about the composer of “Carol of the Bells.” 

And Tony helped us all congratulate Tessa Walker who is a frequent guest at our meetings for her recent win at the Harmony Incorporated contest as Harmony Queen with HOT PURSUIT Quartet. She proudly wore her crown for all of us to share her success.  Her quartet has been part of our youth harmony faculty before and is scheduled to do so again this coming spring.  Our congrats to her! 

Show announcements included requests for some props and ugly sweaters for the shows, and reminders about uniform parts for the performances.  Chorus uniform guru Robyn Murane worked with all the new members to get new uniform parts
President Shawn Tallant announced that Bob Wachter was taken to Fairfax Hospital with pneumonia this evening. 

Shawn also reported other related news from the Harmony Inc. convention that was in Ohio over the weekend.  The 4th place quartet, SWING THEORY, included our previous chorus coach Mo Field.  The local Harmony Inc. chorus, Bella NOVA, under the direction of our former musical director Richard Lewellen placed 7th.  Steve White’s wife Jerri and her sister Debbie sang in MYSTIC CHICKS quartet and placed 16th

Next Shawn saluted out-going conventions coordinator for the chapter, Craig Kujawa, and recognized Nick Murane who will step into that position when Craig moves to his next military assignment.

Finally Shawn recognized Bruce Roehm for his having completed an Ironman Triathlon this past weekend.

Chapter secretary Chris Buechler spoke to the chorus about the need to pay dues on time (and therefore save money). He presented membership renewal cards to Aaron Simoneau for 6 years, Clark Chesser for 10 years, Shawn Tallant for 13 years, Bob Blair for 20 years, Bob Mattes for 21 years, Mike Schwartz for 25 years, and Don Harrington for 40 years!  The milestone year men also get a BHS lapel pin signifying the year from the chapter. 

Ben Watsky introduced two guests with us for this week including JoYo on the risers and Peggy, Peter Kempf’s mom, from St. Louis. 

After the break, Jacob Broude conducted a session on learning from watching and listening to other performances and comparing our work with other choruses.

Congratulations to the two quartets from our chapter that recently got word they had made the cut and will be competing in the International Seniors Quartet contest at the midwinter BHS convention in Jacksonville, FL, in January 2010 - SILVER ALERT (with Rick Savage, Mike Edison, Will Cox, Steve Murane) and  PERSUASION (with Mike Kelly). 

Again a reminder about buying gift cards for the holiday season.  Review the recent email from Craig Kujawa who coordinates the chapter’s scrip sales efforts (and helps earn a sizable chunk of cash for the  chapter).  Speak to Craig or e-mail him at scrip@harmonizers org if you need help setting up your personal account at This is the time to order gift cards to send to relatives, to use in paying for a holiday trip, to use as surprise gifts for your office team or employees, or to have on hand to use to cover special holiday purchases for hams, turkeys, trees, or egg nog.
Important Dates for holiday orders:
Plastic Card orders placed by 11/13 will be delivered at rehearsal 11/19.
Plastic Card orders placed by 11/27 will be delivered at rehearsal 12/3.
Plastic Card orders placed by 12/11 will be delivered at rehearsal 12/17.
ScripNow and ReloadNow purchases can be done at any time (no physical delivery required).
Lastly, if you are looking for a rewarding way to take on more responsibility in the chapter, contact Craig privately if you would like to coordinate this program starting in 2020 (when he leaves for Djibouti).

For Veterans Day, about 30 of us sang for the Nov. 11th event as part of the city of Alexandria Recreation, Parks and Cultural Affairs Department and the “Friends of Rocky Versace” 18th Annual Veterans Day Ceremony in Alexandria at 1:00 PM. The approximately 1-hour Ceremony honored not only the 68 Alexandrians who died or remain Missing in Action (MIA) during the Vietnam War, but all veterans.  The Program will include patriotic songs (sung by the Alexandria Harmonizers), reading the names of Alexandria's 68 Vietnam War Fallen Heroes, recognition of all veterans in attendance, a tribute to Captain "Rocky" Versace, acknowledgment of Gold Star family members in the audience, a wreath laying by Captain Versace's USMA 1959 Classmates and the singing of "God Bless America."  

Additionally, Vietnam War era veterans at the event were given the Department of Defense Vietnam Veteran Lapel Pin.  The Vietnam era is defined by DOD as Nov. 1, 1955 to May 15, 1975. Ten Harmonizers went forward to receive the lapel pin – Jack Cameron, Clyde Crusenberry, Chris Huber, Bob Rhome, Carl Kauffmann, Shawn Tallant, Bob Blair, Howard Nestlerode, Don Thompson, and Jack Pitzer.
Tony was director and sang the “Bring Him Home” solo with Chuck Hunter directing. President Shawn welcomed attendees to stand during their military branch song while we sang the “Armed Forces Medley.” It was great to see our friends from the Mayor’s office in the front row for this event.

Dean Rust gets credit for suggesting to chapter leadership that we do this gig in Alexandria.

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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