Thursday, March 12, 2020

Looking Back on the March 10th, 2020 Chapter Meeting
A good number of chorus men were present this week.  Director Joe Cerutti started off the nite with the members in seats so he could brief them on registering for Harmony University on the campus of Belmont University in Nashville. He stressed the early bird pricing deadline is March 15th and saves a person big bucks.  He also explained that after you get registered, you can begin to sign up for workshops/classes/activities and that you can fill your day as you please except for the time slots when the chorus will be coached as a group (3:45-5:30 and 7-9).
Joe also took time to review the plan ahead for the new meeting nite schedules and subsequent recordings by the members. These plans are a result of great feed-back from members after the first pilot session we have been thru.  Also the complete music team had a lengthy meeting to iron out some changes and improvements for all.
A summary of a couple points he made – the new expectation for the Alexandria Harmonizers Chorus is that (1) you will need to do lots of work at home. If you have a concern about that, for sure speak to a section leader or the director or associate director. And (2) the chorus is developing a significant culture change to lots of self recordings that are designed to determine if you are riser ready (not to qualify or to purge singers).
For those who express concern about “why no quarteting” during meeting nites, you should begin to consider using the elective periods for that as much as you’d like (small groups, breakout sessions, and even getting coached someplace by someone from the chapter).
Joe’s report from the music team meeting included assurance that there will be more choral singing on the risers each week, small group work session will be improved with trained leaders for each group, with a pitch person for each, and a timer for each. Certainly the music team will also have provided detailed lesson plan outlines for those sessions.
As part of improving the recording process, one of the electives tonite is for listeners and sections leaders to meet for training, standards development about what to listen for and how to suggest improvements or corrections.  For now singers are asked to only submit one recording of one song per week – and don’t submit anything until after March 17th.
The singing time started this week with sectionals on “Defying Gravity” before the chapter meeting period.
Communications director Steve Murane reminded everyone about the upcoming social events and explained Spring2ACTion in Alexandria on Wed. April 29th.
Steve suggested members review his recent email to get the new email address that a member can use to send a non-official message to the whole chapter such as to sell an item or suggest a concert or seek input on a project.
He also reviewed the chapter’s plans/suggestions to cope with the virus situation:
Like all groups in the DC Metro area, the Harmonizers share an awareness of the growing concerns about the COVID-19 virus. Although there are still relatively few reported cases in our immediate area, we all want to be safe and responsible regarding the possible spread of the disease.  Chapter leadership conferred and asked executive director Randall Eliason to me to relay the following info to members:
1) Rehearsals will go forward as scheduled unless leaders announce otherwise.
2) As we do during bad weather events, we ask that each of you make your own decision about attendance, with your personal safety (as well as the safety of your fellow Harmonizers) as your top priority.
3) If you personally don't feel well, or have traveled to a high-risk area or have other reason to believe you may have been exposed to the virus, then consistent with the CDC recommendations we ask that you stay home to avoid any risk of spreading any illness to others.
4) During rehearsal, we will implement other recommended measures, including encouraging regular hand washing, using "elbow bumps" or other alternatives to avoid handshakes, and coughing into your elbow rather than your hands. We will also spread out more on the risers and during sectionals.
5) Consistent with our pre-existing plans, the sectionals will be recorded and put on Facebook, so you will be able to watch remotely if you choose not to attend. We will also record Joe's opening remarks concerning the pilot rehearsal program and modifications we will be making, so you will not miss out on those. Consistent with our new commitment to make better use of technology, tomorrow and every week we will do everything we can to make it possible for you to learn remotely even if you are not at rehearsal.
6) We will continue to monitor these events as they unfold and will respond accordingly. In the meantime, if you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to reach out to me or any of your chapter leaders.
President Stan Quick gave emphasis to members getting their registrations taken care of for Harmony U and for the Southern Division contest in Baltimore, June 5-6 (every member needs a registration to sing on the contest stage there, and the chorus must sing at the Division contest in order to qualify to attend the International contest in the summer of 2021.
Stan also thanked Dixie Kennett for her many years of service taking attendance for the chapter.  The chorus applauded and thanked her.  Jerry Jayjohn will assume those attendance taking duties.
Secretary Chris Buechler presented a membership renewal card and a 35 year pin to Ken Ives.
Membership director Jacob Broude welcomed two first time guests – Aaron Wilkes, friend of Turner Arndt, and Matt Pearce, a former barbershop singer from Ohio living in the DC area now and working at the Kennedy Center.
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 71st year of the Alexandria Harmonizer Chapter. —YeEd

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