Friday, April 26, 2019

Looking Back on the April 23rd Chapter Meeting 

After a good crew reset the risers and all the equipment we need for the rehearsal and meeting , we started at 7 pm with assistant director emeritus, Will Cox, doing the warm up exercise.  Our associate director, Tony Colosimo, was in Sweden judging the contest for the Society of Nordic Barbershop Singers (SNOBS).

Prior to the start of things, there was a lead rehearsal with section leader Reed Livergood and a voluntary visual coaching session with Chuck McKeever.

When director Joe Cerutti took over from Will, he asked members to respond to the survey about possibly singing at the Midwinter in Jacksonville in 2020.

Then Joe introduced our coach and friend, David Wright, from St. Louis and the Ambassadors of Harmony. David has often been our coach in preparation for contests, as well as an arranger for our chorus.

David worked with us the whole first half of the meeting on “We Kiss” – one of his arrangements that we sang at the Orlando International contest.  He, along with Joe, helped the chorus make huge improvements to an already great number.

Before the chapter meeting portion, Joe invited Mario Sengco to share his recent visit to Harmony Hall (BHS headquarters) in Nashville.  Mario is coordinator of the youth ensemble of the Washington Gay Men’s Chorus called “GenOut” and was with them on a musical tour to Nashville.  That trip included the visit to Harmony Hall where the young singers were coached by staff members Steve Scott and Donnie Rose.  The high school students were thrilled with the great musical experience. Congrats to Mario for his work with these high school singers.

Communications director Steve Murane conducted the meeting.  He reminded all that there will be another voluntary extra rehearsal with Joe on April 29th  this time at Convergence Lab space.  This is the second such session and there were comments about how helpful the first one was.

Executive director Randall Eliason did the promised drawing for the $100 gift card drawing for the guys who submitted prospective lists for Spring2ACTion. Ike Evans won!

President Shawn Tallant recapped all the many men who are on the mend for health reasons.  Everyone seems to be improving.

Secretary Chris Buechler presented membership renewal cards to Litic Murali for 5 years, Dean Sherick for 7 years, Mario Sengco for 9 years, Joe Cerutti for 18 years, and Tom Frederick for 26 years. He also reports that the following members have renewed even tho they don’t attend meeting regularly: Don Johnson for 50 years, Dick Newton for 35 years, and Jeff Taylor for 27 years.

Jack Pitzer welcomed guests for tonite: Alexa Bowe, guest of Aaron Simoneau, who had been with us at the Virtue Feed & Grain party; Tracy Mextorf, Ryan’s sister; Howard Wachspress, member of Mt. Vernon Harmony Heritage Singers; Luqman Fulmer, first time guest who is a student at George Mason in music; Tom and Nick Frederick; and Scott Beach, returning guest from Palmyra, VA.

After a break, SILVER ALERT sang for us as part of the announcement that they will be singing at the Mid Atlantic District International Prelims in Allentown, PA, this weekend.

Then it was back to work by the chorus – a quick run of “Anything Goes” so guys could make a recording to submit to their section leaders.  Then back to finish “We Kiss” with David, and  wrap up the nite with a solid work session on “I’m The Music Man” which David wrote and arranged (originally for the Dallas Vocal Majority Chorus).

Before we closed for the nite, Joe reported that our own Paul Grimes has been named a winner of a Lou Perry Scholarship to Harmony University in Nashville this summer. Paul’s arrangement was for “Let Me Sing and I’m Happy” by Irving Berlin from the 1932 movie “Mammy.”

Joe thanked David again for a great work out for the chorus and suggested the guys could thank David by joining in the fun at Ramparts for an afterglow.  It was a good crowd and fun over there.

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, April 21, 2019

Looking Back on the April 16th Chapter Meeting 

Spring has sprung so the pollen is thick and many Harmonizers are fighting it as part of their singing health.

But the chorus climbed up onto the risers for a warm up session conducted by associate director Tony Colosimo. 

The front row had worked in the cafeteria from 6-7 pm.

When director Joe Cerutti took the helm, he welcomed education director Sheryl Berlin and the chapter members applauded her work in coordinating our Youth Harmony Festival.  She offered left over YHF tee shirts for $10. 

Joe welcomed Tom and Emily Kraus and their three children – Ben, Ryan and Morgan.  Tom helped start TBD and was a front row guy before their jobs took them to Rochester NY.
Joe also welcomed Bob Wells, Sam McFarland and Mark Klostermeyer who are recovering and able to get to the chapter meeting.

He reminded all of us that our coach David Wright (who has often been the major coach at our pre-International retreats) will be with us next Tuesday nite.

The coaching session with Cy Wood for the Memorial Day weekend will be on Sunday afternoon, May 26th to continue development of the visual  plan for “Brotherhood of Man.”  He will also work with the front row that weekend, then stay in town to be at our chapter meeting on Tuesday, May 28th.

Major music work in the first half of the nite was on that same song with Bruce Roehm as visual coach (each major song for 2019 will have a specific visual coach within the chapter.) Tony was director for the song.  

As part of the evolving effort to provide small group learning opportunities, our quartet SILVER ALERT (Savage, Edison, Cox, and S. Murane) taught the chorus a tag – “I Will Dream of You Til I Die.”

Secretary Chris Buechler coordinated the collection of Social Security numbers and such for all singers who will appear on the show for the Supreme Court on June 3rd. Chris also presented a membership renewal card to Dennis Ritchey for 27 years.

This was the last chance to turn in payment for the Scotland trip to Brad Jones.

Executive director Randall Eliason reported on the Spring2ACTion effort – final count is creeping close to $20,000. Next week there will be the drawing for the gift card for anyone who turned in their prospect list to Randall. 

President Shawn Tallant asked for a volunteer to coordinate a tee shirt distribution effort for the trip to Scotland. A logo is being developed.

He also reported several items regarding our fellow members: that Steve Szyszka had heart surgery today and he had called to say he was doing great; that Ken White’s dad, Orville, died on Sunday - he and Ken sang together when Ken was a teenager; that Clyde Crusenberry is having a foot operation; that Bob Wachter is up and on the mend; that Alan Wile is recovering from his heart surgery and accepting text or email messages; that Mike Vlcej has done well after his heart surgery in PA; and that Chris Huber will be out of his foot boot soon. 

Jon Frank welcomed a guest of Gary Cregan.

After the break, Joe had the chorus sing the tag again they learned earlier in the evening.  Then he spent a chunk of time reviewing the results and information he gathered during the interviews with each of the Harmonizers. Joe shared the big realizations he gained from the interviews.  He reminded us of the importance of the Harmonizer Handshake Award that we had during the 1960s and perpetuated by Dick Hall.

Joe shared some of the “take-aways” he gained – more small group work; chances for more individual feedback; chapter business sessions too long (not a new issue with the Harmonizers!);a major split about 50-50 on drilling reps of songs vs. not drilling; and our new location is not Metro accessible and local traffic is making it lots harder to arrive by 7 pm on Tuesdays.

After this session it was back to work on music for the second half of the nite, including a good chunk of time on “Anything Goes” with Joe and Chuck McKeever.

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