Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Looking Back on the July 2nd and July 9th Chapter Meetings
(Thanks to Jerry Jayjohn for taking notes at the July 2nd meeting while YeEd was in Salt Lake City.  YeEd)

Even though director Joe Cerutti and associate director  Tony Colosimo  and a few other members were at International in Salt Lake City, we had a great turn out of guys for the July 2ns meeting.

We opened with a warm up from Will Cox, running the guys through their paces both up and down the scale. Then a tag warm up lead by Jason Lee.

Assistant director Chuck Hunter took the chorus through the first four songs for the nite. After the run- through we talked about what could have been better about each and what we should be working on when we break into sectionals.

There were sectionals for about 15-20 minutes, and we came back and sang through the parts we had talked about prior to breaking into smaller groups.

We then went into the chapter business meeting where we talked about our upcoming trip to England/Scotland, and some things we need to get ready for our trip.

Membership director Calvin Schnure introduced our guests for the night who were two of Carl Kauffmann’s grandsons, both singing in the lead section.

After break we reconvened and sang four more songs, and Chuck discussed where things could be better and areas we need to work on in our sectionals.  The guys once again went into sectionals and worked on suggested areas given by Chuck

The guys came back and reviewed the songs again and listened to the improvement that sectionals had made.  The 50/50 was drawn and to close out the evening, we strayed from singing our typical “Keep the Whole World Singing,” for a section of one of the songs we had worked on during sectionals.

Our July 9th chapter meeting was a busy one with lots of guest singers and coach Cy Wood helping Joe review our fall show package.  

Tony did the vocal warm ups and got the riser full of singers ready to perform. 

When Joe took the reins, he spoke some about the convention week in SLC and invited members to share stories or experiences.  Jack Pitzer reported meeting a young singer who shared he had sung with us on a holiday show with the American Boy Choir.  Samuel Rausch was so excited about singing with us and meeting members of the chapter, that when he returned home he followed up and found the Northwest Sound Chorus.  And he sang on stage with them in SLC.  As Joe pointed out – you never know when you will change a singer’s life.  Samuel just graduated from high school and is headed to Hungary for a three-year music study program. 

Joe also thanked Chuck Hunter and section leaders for conducting the helpful meeting last week. Joe announced that next week, the chorus going to Scotland will work on the risers.  The rest of us singers will meet in other rooms to work on the music.  All these songs will be used at shows in Europe and on our major fall show on Sept. 14th at Schlesinger Hall.

We all welcomed Cy back from his busy week in SLC including his appearance at the Saturday Nite Spectacular with a mixed quartet HALF AND HALF.  He and Joe had a plan then – the chorus sang all the songs for the show with all soloists and emcees.  It was great to get a sense of the flow and the theme of the show about family and sharing – The Circle of Life.  It was also great to hear the soloists who have been working outside chapter meeting with Tony and the emcees who have been working with Ben Roberts.

Again these songs will be used in Europe for shows there and then in Sept.  For that fall show, we will welcome gold medal quartet INSTANT CLASSIC as well as GQ QUARTET from Sweet Adelines.

When the chapter does a show with the Cottontown Chorus in UK, we will also sing “I’m The Music Man.” 

Communication director Steve Murane conducted the chapter meeting session beginning with the good news that Dean Sherick has tickets for the fall show that members can take on consignment to sell.  Get started now.

Conventions manager Craig Kujawa launched plans for our trip to Rochester NY and our appearance at the Seneca Land District convention the weekend of Sept 27-29.  Craig will be sending instructions on how Alexandria members can register for that contest (at a special rate). Also he will be sending us details on how to make hotel reservations for yourself and a significant other or fellow Harmonizer.  Take action when you get the messages from Craig.

He also reported that he is being mobilized as a Naval officer to Africa at the end of the year, and thus, he is searching for someone to step up as the next conventions manager.  Speak to him directly to find out what the job entails.

President Shawn Tallant reported that treasurer Al Herman fell going for a low tennis shot - hit various portions of left side of body - 17 stitches in hand, black eye, but no breaks!

Shawn asks for more guys to respond to the survey about our 2020 summer event such as the trip to Hawaii or to Harmony U.  

Finally, Shawn welcomed Luqman Fulmer our newest member approved by the board!

Ben Watsky welcomed our guests this week: three Air Force men from Ft. Meade – Alex, Matt and Callan; Frederik,  a member of Sweden’s Zero 8 Chorus who just won third place medals in SLC (he is vacationing in DC, NYC and Boston); and Vera who directs the Greater Richmond women’s chorus. 

After a break, it was back to work on the show songs “fixing” points that Cy offered to make the performances succeed in entertaining and “reaching” our audiences
There was a big crowd of guys at Rampart’s for the afterglow this week. Everyone is welcome every week.

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

Looking Back on the 2019 International Contest and Convention, Salt Lake City

Amazing numbers of current and former members of the Alexandria Chapter were at the 81st  annual Barbershop Harmony Society (BHS) International Convention and Contest in Salt Lake City, UT, June 30-July 7, 2019. The headquarters hotel was Little America where our chapter has stayed before. This year’s Alexandria crowd was there to compete, work and volunteer, attend meetings, cheer for our friends from our M-AD, meet old friends and hang out with each other. Our chorus did not compete at this contest as they will be going to Europe later this summer.

The Harmo family began arriving on Sunday and Monday since the first contest sessions were on Tuesday again this year.  Several folks were there early for meetings such as Bob Eckman who attending meetings as our district president.  John Santora is BHS treasurer and was at the BHS board meeting.  Other attendees at that meeting included Alan Lamson, past BHS president, along with Keith Jones, John Rettenmeyer, Jack Pitzer, and Dixie Kennett. Chris Buechler attended several meetings of the Contest and Judging Committee and was appointed to a new position as administrator for that committee.

One current member sang in a quartet in the quarter final round of the quartet contest: Rasmus Krigstrum with RAWSUNDAH quartet. He arranged our 2018 uptune. Several former members sang in that round too: Sean Devine in THROWBACK, Ed Schubel in PRATT STREET POWER, and Dave Ellis in THE HEMIDEMISEMIQUAVER 4.

The final results saw SIGNATURE taking the gold at 93.8.  This Sunshine District quartet has been close to our chapter having been with us to spread word to schools in the DC Metro area about our Youth Harmony Festival. The quartet earned the top score in all three rounds of the contest including having earned a 95.6 on “Danced with My Father Again” in the first round.

THROWBACK took second at 93.0 percentage. QUORUM took third place at 92.3. ROOFTOP RECORDS took fourth at 90.7. And a new quartet on the scene, from our M-AD and the NYC area, MIDTOWN, captured fifth with 90.1.   They won the International DEALER’S CHOICE Award as recognition for a first-time quartet in the contest.

M-AD had seven representatives in the contest.  The two other quartets in the top ten with MIDTOWN were PRATT STREET POWER that took eighth and ‘ROUND MIDNIGHT that took ninth. M-AD quartets in the semi final round were STUDIO 4 that took 13th and GIMME FOUR that placed 14th. PRIME TIME placed 25th. FORECAST placed 52nd.  Rasmus’s quartet placed 16th.

There were several Harmonizers on the official judging panel this year for both the quartet and chorus contests – Joe Cerutti, Tony Colosimo, Chris Buechler, and former members Jay Butterfield and Richard Lewellen.

The Westminster Chorus from CA won the chorus contest with a record high score of 97.9 percentage singing a song from The Greatest Showman. They sang with 100 men on the risers. Second place was captured by Ambassadors of Harmony and Jay Sorenson sang with them having moved there not long ago.  Jay had a featured role as Hardy in Laurel and Hardy so Jay was center stage several times in a “Chaplin Medley” arranged by our friend David Wright. The Ambassadors had 125 singers on the risers.

Rasmus directed Zero 8 Chorus from Sweden and they placed third. Central Standard chorus from the Kansas City area placed fourth. Our friends from Toronto Northern Lights placed fifth with former member Lou Bergner on the risers.

TJ Donahue and Kevin Kaiser sang with the Denver Sound of the Rockies chorus that placed sixth. Paul Wietlesbach sang with Nashville that placed seventh. Our coach Cy Wood sang with Southern Gateway who took tenth. Jack Stevens sang with The Marcsmen from Texas who took 11th.  Kenny Potter directed the Northwest Sound chorus from WA and they placed 12th. Spencer Wight sang with the only M-AD chorus, Voices of Gotham, who placed 16th.  Bill Conway sang with Palmetto, SC, Vocal Project, who placed 25th, and Doug White sang with the Pathfinder, NE, chorus who placed 26th.

Salt Lake City offered some interesting aspects for the contest – the quarterfinals was held in the famous Tabernacle and the rest of the contest was held at the LDS conference center that reportedly holds 20,000.  There is a free above-ground train called TRAX that we could ride from all the major convention hotels to Temple Square for those two venues.

There was a Next Generation Youth quartet contest on Wednesday afternoon.  Joe Cerutti manages that event and was the emcee for the 20 quartet contest.  One of our arrangers, Steve Tramack, was a judge for this event.

Several of our members taught a Harmony University class during the week including Terry Reynolds, Alan Lamson,  and Cy Wood.  

The Saturday nite Spectacular Show featured examples of how barbershop singing is a “family” community for all singers.  Rick Taylor set the tone with a witness as how his Dad had brought him to a chapter meeting as a young boy and that started this life in the hobby. Volunteer singers from all over the world formed a group called “The Everyone in Harmony Chorus” to kick off the show’s music.  Cy Wood sang in it as did BHS CEO Marty Monson.  Cy also sang bass in a mixed quartet called HALF AND HALF on that show that preceded the quartet finals contest. 

There were several from the  Harmonizers family who we saw during the week and are not mentioned earlier in this article (here’s hoping we got everyone’s name!).    The list includes Darryl Flinn, Tom Gannon, Ross Johnson, Dan Cook, Bruce Minnick, Ray Johnson, Father Joe Witmer, Jay Carter. Ken Rub, Craig Kujawa, Sam McFarland, Bob Hirsh, and Glenn Williamson.

Thanks to Dixie Kennett and Keith Jones, for contributing additional info for this report and for Dixie’s work on our Harmo convention handbook.

Next year’s convention will be in Los Angeles June 28-July 5, 2020.

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 during the70th year of the Alexandria Harmonizer Chapter. —YeEd.)

Monday, July 8, 2019

Looking Back on the June 29th Open Mic Night

The open mic night and karaoke event on Sat. eve June 29th at Convergence Lab was great fun!
About 50 folks attended from the Alexandria Singers and/or the Harmonizers. It was a fun location and there was plenty of food and drink for all singers and family members.  Thanks to Catherine Colosimo from the Singers and Joe Sr. and Janet Cerutti from the Harmonizers who did the leg work to make it happen.

Lots of our guys sang – several did country songs, and a couple did songs the chorus sings. 
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