Friday, February 1, 2019

Looking Back on Harmonizer Activities at the Jan BHS Midwinter in Nashville
It’s no surprise that there were a lot of Harmonizers present at the 2019 Midwinter Convention in Nashville, Jan 22-27. Our chapter members served as administrators, musical leaders, staff, performers, and coaches

(These notes about members came from reporter Keith Jones with input from Bob Eckman, Alan Wile, and Chuck McKeever. Dixie Kennett provided a general wrap up of the convention.  Thanks to all – YeEd. Former Harmonizers are indicated with *)

As you would expect current and former Harmonizers were busy providing service for all sorts of aspects of the convention.

Judging Panel--Richard Lewellen*; Jay Butterfield*; Mike Louque*; John Santora; and Chris Buechler.  

Meetings--John Santora, as BHS Treasurer, participated in the Society Board meetings and the Strategic Planning Committee Meeting; Chris Buechler attended the Society Contest and Judging Committee (SCJC) meetings; Terry Reynolds presented Harmony Education classes during the convention; Chuck McKeever had a personal vocal coaching session with recent Harmonizer coach Steve Scott; Gary Plaag* is chairman, Harmony Foundation International (HFI) Board of Trustees.

Competitors--John Adams (Carolina Statesmen senior chorus-2nd place); Paul Wietlsbach* (Dixie Senior Chorus--winners).   John Adams also performed with the Association of International Senior Quartet Champs (AISQC) chorus.

Next Generation Junior Chorus Sponsors--Darryl and Meredith Flinn; Ross Johnson and Susan Williams.

Staff--BHS Director of Outreach--Joe Cerutti, Jr.; HFI staff members--Rick Taylor, and Sean Devine*.

District Presidents Council--Bob Eckman

Junior Chorus Festival Plateau AA Winner with Outstanding Rating--A CAPPELLA! mixed harmony chorus, James Hubert Blake High School, Silver Spring, MD--directed by Sandra (Mrs. Kris) Zinkievich!  Her students have attended many Alexandria Youth in Harmony camps.

The following current or former Harmonizers were at the convention too: Sheryl Berlin, (Chapter Education Director), Bill Colosimo, Randall Eliason, Tom Gannon, (with wife Marilyn), Bob Hirsh, (with wife Dena)*, Sam McFarland, Alan Lamson, Jim Lucey, (with wife Ruthanne), and John Rettenmeyer.

The first event of the convention, other than meetings, was the keynote address, presented this year by Theo Hicks.  Theo is the lead of the 2017 Quartet Champs, INSTANT CLASSIC, and a middle school educator.  He kept the audience enthralled with both humorous and tear-inspiring stories — all backing up his mantra that “your voice matters.”   His quartet will be guests on our fall 2019 show!

Joe was so much more than a BHS staffer making sure his programs ran properly.  The first contest event on the schedule was the Junior Quartet contest for those 18 years of age and younger.  This was held in a huge hotel ballroom that was packed with both youth and regular attendees.  His enthusiasm as the MC for the NextGen Junior Quartet contest had the audience cheering and on their feet!  He used what he often uses with the Harmonizers:  “Are you ready for the next contestant?” and then urged the audience to scream “Yes!”  They did not disappoint.  The Mid-Atlantic District was represented by a couple of quartets — one made up of three elementary school students and one who is in high school and the winning quartet, the QUIN-TONES.  VINTAGE MIX quartet (three sisters and a brother who appeared as a guest quartet on a Harmonizer holiday show a couple of years ago), placed third.

The Seniors Quartet contest was held on Saturday.  Unfortunately, YOUTH RECLAMATIOIN PROJECT (with member Mike Wallen) had to withdraw following the death of their bass Vic Owens.  There were no other M-AD quartets.  The winner was DOUBLEDOUBLE from the Ontario District (singing parodies).  The silver medalist quartet was LET’S SING from the Carolinas district.

The venue for the NextGen and Seniors chorus contest, as well as the Seniors Quartet contest was the Grand Ole Opry, a 10-12 minute walk from the Opryland Hotel which was convention headquarters.  It is a beautiful space with wonderful acoustics and great seating.  The backstage area, not seen by most attendees unless they were performing, was gorgeous.   The front-of-house area was large and had a concession stand and a bar, both of which were open during the entire time we were there.  It made getting a snack easy.  

The Thursday evening show was a Heritage of Harmony show with the FAIRFIELD FOUR and the FISK JUBILEE SINGERS. A female quartet, HALO, from Bella Nova, the Harmony Inc. chorus directed by Richard Lewellen* in the Fairfax area, was announced as the first recipients of the New York Redcaps Quartet scholarship to Harmony University.  

The Saturday evening show featured the men's, women's and combined youth choruses and current medalists THROWBACK (Dan Rubin is their new tenor, replacing Paul Saca who now sings with SIGNATURE), SIGNATURE, and AFTER HOURS who won the gold last summer.

This was the first event for incoming Society President, Dick Powell, who sings in a M-AD chapter and lives in Crofton, MD.
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