Thursday, September 5, 2019

Looking Back on the Sept. 3rd Chapter Meeting

The riser crew got off easy this week – the chorus rehearsal was unique and fun for all and no risers were needed.  The singers were formed into five smaller groups of about 20 and worked with five different music team members on small segments of songs for the fall show.  Team members who rotated between the five groups included Reed Livergood, Jason Lee, Terry Reynolds, Tony Colosimo, and Joe Cerutti

There was a lot of positive feedback to Joe and openly offered among the men that this was fun and beneficial for self improvement. (YeEd observed that the music team members were well prepared and had a teaching plan for each song they worked on.)

Before the meeting there was a lot of excitement when Sandy and Mick Stamps arrived after many weeks of being home for health issues.  Lots of hugs and storytelling for sure.  And in addition to those two Harmonizer friends, Peggy Wagner was with them – she has been here in VA from her home in Hawaii to visit Sandy and Mick. She reports that Rick is singing with the Aloha Chapter and already is in charge of their chorus travel to Far Western District contest in CA!

Director Joe kicked off the evening with some remarks about things in general – first thanking Ben Roberts for his work with the speakers for the Scotland show package.  

Joe explained that this fall there are several gigs that only require a smaller chorus and so the music team will issue an invite to find out who is available and form a chorus from those available for each of the events such as Arts on the Avenue on Oct. 5, a sing for the Manassas Chorale on Oct. 12,  a Veteran’s Day event on Nov. 11,  and a holiday party for a group in mid Dec. 

He then explained the plan for this week’s meeting with the small groups – for both halves of the evening.  But before the groups were dispersed throughout the Scottish Rite Temple space, there was a fun FaceBook Live piece shot to promote the fall show.

The chapter meeting period was conducted by communications chairman Steve Murane.  

Lots of details were mentioned regarding the show weekend.   First of all – TICKETS!  Keep selling!  All consignment ticket or the money must be turned in to Dean Sherick next Tuesday! Tell your customers we are performing at the Rachel Schelsinger Concert Hall on the campus of NoVA Community College in Alexandria, just off of Beauregard Street. There is plenty of free parking and no bad seats in the hall! We are selling $35 general admission seats and some $100 premium seats who get into the show early and get to meet the quartets and show principals.

It is exciting to have such terrific guest quartets to sing with us that weekend.  – INSTANT CLASSIC is the Barbershop Harmony Society’s 2015 International Quartet Champion.   The quartet is comprised of  David Zimmerman (tenor), Theo Hicks (lead), Kohl Kitzmiller (baritone), and Kyle Kitzmiller (bass). 

Plus GQ from the Baltimore area who were the 2013 First Place Rising Star Quartet  from Sweet Adelines.  The quartet members are Amanda Sandroni (tenor), Ali Hauger (lead), Katie Gillis (baritone), and Katie Macdonald (bass).

“The Circle of Life” is the theme for our presentation of Broadway show songs and it will be great fun for all ages. Some special production numbers in true Harmonizer tradition will be a treat too.

The schedule for the weekend – a tech rehearsal will be held on Wed. Sept 11th for those who are required to be there at 5 pm at Schlesinger. There is, however,  a need for a few able bodied members to be there at 5 to help with some set up and then they will be finished early.

Then all singers should attend the “dress” rehearsal at 7 pm on Thurs. Sept. 12th (from 7-10 pm) but they are not required to wear their blue suits that nite.
On Saturday Sept. 14th, the chorus call is at 11 am and that includes volunteers who will be working with Robyn Murane in the lobby or where ever else she assigns folks.  Any Harmonizer family members are welcome to volunteer (and earn a free show ticket!), so contact Robyn (
Reminder: the uniform is the new blue suit with vest, orange tie and pocket stuffer, black shoes etc., and hidden button white shirt.

Chapter members should bring some food for themselves as there won’t be time for the singers to be released to go get food.  There will be waters and cookies in the dressing room.

There will be an afterglow after the show too!  Our show sponsor, Chadwicks, will open their top floor for our show afterglow.  Those who wish dinner should consider eating on the first floor where there will be table service (and you can use the back of your show ticket for a special deal). Those upstairs can order drinks or food items from the bar and take it to their tables.

Another major business item this week was going over details about our chapter’s visit and participation in the Seneca Land District fall contest and convention in Rochester, NY. Those who have not paid for the bus or the hotel room should make contact with Craig Kujawa ASAP. 

According to director Joe, there is a lot of excitement around the Society about our time there. Should be fun. 

There will be some options about early or later bus departures and return times. So stay tuned.
Also you need to respond to Craig about your housing plans – roommate and such. For sure, take action right away.

Chapter executive director Randall Eliason had everyone get out their cell phones and sign on to the chapter’s group texting system – with so many things going on in the next few weeks it is likely there will be a need to quick communication with the members.

Next Joe announced some big plans for the chapter in 2020 – to attend Harmony University in Nashville as a chorus from July 26-August 2, 2020.  The music team will require an 80-man chorus.  Joe asks members to check their calendars and family plans (including any hardships you might have that could prevent you from attending) and report those hardships to him or Tony.  There are ways to work around some of them including the angel fund from the chapte for cost issues.  For those who attended with the chorus a couple years ago, Joe pledges we will be more considerate about how full we make our days and coaching sessions during the week – even to allow those who might want to attend as a commuter student and bring your family to the Nashville area for some vacation. 

Clearly this is a ramp up to get a chorus ready for our competing at the BHS convention in Cleveland in 2021.  Joe hints that one of the contest songs is already in house. 

Harmonizers will be asked to respond on Groupanizer very soon regarding this 2020 event.

President Shawn Tallant extended an invite from the Harmony Heritage Singers (Mount Vernon Chapter) to join them is celebrating Bob Wachter’s 90th birthday.  The social event will be from 12-1 pm on Wed. Sept. 25th at the Sherwood Hall Regional Library, 2501 Sherwood Hall Lane, Alexandria 22306. Please let Jack Pitzer know if you will attend so we can inform the host chapter how many of us will attend. (Text Jack at 703-627-9424.)

Shawn reported that Clyde Crusenberry had major surgery on his foot and has some significant recovery time ahead.

Shawn reminded all members that the chapter is changing their fiscal year and if anyone has invoices they have not turned in, do it now.

Secretary Chris Buechler reported sending a 64-year membership renewal card to Jed Casey in PA.  Jed and his wife Jane are in their 90s and son John reports their memories of the Harmonizer years are a major aspect of their lives.  Both Jed and John were active Harmonizers and were music team leaders.

Chris continued by presenting membership renewal cards to Mikey Robertson for 4 years; Stan Quick for 8 years; and Mick Stamps for 40 years.  As is our chapter’s custom, Mick also was presented a lapel pin for this milestone membership year.

After a break, the chorus small groups reassembled and the work continued until closing at 10 pm.

There was some excitement at the end of the nite  when no one claimed the 50/50 prize this week, so next week’s winner will go home with a pocketful! 

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