Saturday, April 18, 2020

Looking Back on the April 15th, 2020 Spring2ACTion Event
The Harmonizers raised over $30,000 on Wednesday as a participant in the City of Alexandria’s “one organized day of giving for Alexandria not-for-profit groups” called Spring2ACTion. It has been a huge income source for our chapter the last few years, so our chapter leaders (headed by executive director Randall Eliason) asked the members to help.  This was a particular challenge to the chorus during this time of shut downs and cutbacks and social distancing due to the covid1- virus pandemic.

Randall asked members to send invites to others outside the chapter to donate to our page,. He sent sample email messages for guys to use with the link. He reminded everyone to seek as many donations as possible from non-Harmonizers and to ask them to donate during the “power hour” from 3-4 pm we had chosen. He also created some excitement and challenge by adding a contest among the tenor-lead-bari-bass sections.
Wednesday nite at 7 pm there was a Zoom gathering for all to hear the results as they came rolling in at the end of the day. Here is a summary from Randall:

Once again, congratulations and thanks for an extremely successful day. This was one our most successful S2A ever.”

“A few donations were still trickling in (the site remains open all week) but the total on Thursday morning, April 16th, was $31,832.  Our original goal was $20,000.”

“We also won $1,000 in prize money - $500 for the 3-4 pm power hour, and $500 for third place in total dollars raised by Free Agent Fundraisers (basically the separate pages for the sections, which were treated as individual fundraising pages).”

The grand total for this year included $9,000 in matching gifts combining major support  from Ross Johnson and Susan Williams, Liz Birnhaum and Dave Kohls, Terry Reynolds, Dean Rust, Al Herman, Stan Quick, Clyde Crusenberry, Bruce Roehm, Chuck Hunter and Randall Eliason and Cheri Kiser.  We thank all of them for their encouraging gifts.

“Total number of donors during the event this year was 449. In 2018, the prior record, it was 431. Last year it was 310.”

Artistic director Joe Cerutti sent out his thanks to all: “Way to go team, can't thank you all enough for your donations/and or posts/emails! Congratulations, all!!!”

Finally, the results of the section competition: Going late into the evening the basses and leads were locked in a pretty tight battle for first. The basses were slightly ahead - and then a mysterious anonymous donor called only "Harmonizers Bass Strong," swept in about 11:30 pm with a $1,000 donation on the bass page and put them on top. Here are the final results:

Basses: $178.36 per man; Leads: $132.96; Baris:  $117.67; and Tenors: $68.33

Congratulations to the basses!  And thanks again to our S2A section leaders, Matt Doniger, Ben Watsky, Brad Jones, and Devin Gerzof - they did a great job.  More details will follow about the celebration party in the basses honor once we are able to party again.

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

Thursday, April 16, 2020

Looking Back on the April 14th, 2020 Virtual Chapter Meeting
The chapter has suspended in-person meetings of the chorus, boards and committees until further notice as well as for any small group gatherings. This is in recognition of recent mandates by officials and leaders of the BHS and in cooperation with local health authorities and government officials. 

Thus there was not a regular in-person meeting of the Alexandria Harmonizers on April 14th,  2020.  

Instead, director Joe Cerutti hosted a gathering at 7 pm via Zoom video meeting this week so the chapter members could pay tribute to Brian Miller – a friend and active singer with the chorus who died at Inova Alexandria Hospital on Monday, April 13th at 12:55 pm from complications due to covid-19.  

Many members spoke and shared thoughts and wonderful stories to pay tribute to Brian to include many shared memories about singing in quartets with him, traveling to barbershop events, and visiting with him to learn about his eagerness to explore the world. Honest and heartfelt testimonies included many who learned from Brian that his blindness was not a handicap. For sure Brian’s sense of humor and his desire and courage to explore and experience life’s adventures came out in almost every Harmonizer’s comments.  The huge article about Brian in The Washington Post on Wednesday, April 15th shared even more about his professional life and travels around the world.

Joe shared that he had also received condolences from other chapters around the world who had heard about our chapter’s loss – such as Cottontown in England and Brothers in Harmony in M-AD who each have also lost a chorus member.  Donations for Brian’s “Keep A Melody Ringing” plaque at BHS Harmony Hall in Nashville have already begun.  His name plaque will be in Braille. Brian was just 52.

The chorus and many of his friends and family had made another recording via a Zoom conference on Sunday afternoon to encourage him in his battle with the covid-19 virus.  President Stan Quick and Joe will inform us when the chapter will pay musical tribute to Brian after we can once again reassemble on the risers.  Certainly the chapter extends our thoughts to Brian’s family and friends we have gotten to know during recent weeks.

A large number of members were present for this call including some folks we don’t hear from often including Greg Tepe from Amsterdam, Craig Kujawa from Djibouti, Kess Fess who is home early from his around the world trip due to the virus issue, Keith Jones from FL, and local guys to include Phil Ashford, Al Herman, Martin Banks, Sam McFarland, and Joe Wagovich.

Fortunately we have learned that Len Dornberger’s wife, Marie, is at their home in DE.  Len thanked the Harmonizers for their support.

Bob Rhome and his wife Anne have been fighting the virus since March 26.  They have both tested positive but since neither of them experienced shortness of breath, they were able to skip the hospital routine. They both appear to be on the mend and Bob was on the Zoom meeting this week!

Craig Odell and his wife Linda would welcome your warm thoughts and prayers for a speedy recovery for Linda's mom, Phyllis Muir (87).  Phyllis was residing at an independent living facility in Richmond which has been hit with many cases of COVID-19.  They moved her to the hospital last Sunday, 4/5 and she is now in "intermediate care", and being monitored closely.  She is doing as well as can be expected with some ups and downs from day to day, so they are cautiously optimistic and hoping for the best. Phyllis is also Erin Odell Cook's grandmother.  Erin's husband Dan Cook was a Harmonizers a few years back.

Gerry Fuller’s wife Carol has been honored as one of the first 2 Hometown Heroes for her work providing food for the needy in Crystal City.    
There was some chapter business to conduct also this week – mostly the explanation by chairman Randall Eliason about how members should participate in Spring2ACTion on Wed., April 15th. Some reminders: send invites to others outside the chapter to donate to our page, especially seek as many donations as possible in the “power hour” from 3-4 pm, don’t forget the contest among the tenor-lead-bari-bass sections, and tune in to a Zoom event Wed. nite to follow the donations as they roll in.

As a reminder, Harmony University has been cancelled for this summer in Nashville.  So the chapter music team has developed a plan to hold a weekend HU of our own in the local area as soon as social distancing regulations are lifted.  Some of our favorite coaches will join us for the weekend as we work to prepare for the contest this fall with a goal to qualify for the International chorus contest in Cleveland in 2021. The weekend will end with a big bbq-type-event for all of the Harmonizer family to attend.  Joe sent a detailed email about the idea and asked members to try to save three weekends in the future (all depending on when we are allowed to move about our community): Jul 30-Aug 2, Aug 20-23, or Oct 1-4.  There will be a fee so Joe also suggests guys might want to save part of their refund from HU to use for the chapter event.

As a preview for next week, Joe reports the plan is to do a run thru with those ready on “Defying Gravity.”  Also he says guys can submit a single tape for “Goodbye” this week. And that also next Tues. we will have Cy Wood with us virtually to work on “42nd Street.”  Kevin Keller will join our Zoom session in two weeks to share his insights as the arranger of “42nd Street.”

We congratulate the following men for renewing as Harmonizers (as reported by secretary Chris Buechler who sent them their membership renewal cards): Joel Golden - 15 years; Paul Grimes - 37 years; Terry Jordan - 56 years; Mike Pinto - 36 years; Lou Manfre - 27 years; TJ Donahue - 10 years; John Q Smith    - 6 years; Jerry Jayjohn - 3 years; Dennis Ritchey - 28 years; Mario Sengco - 10 years.

Next week’s meeting will be via Zoom again at 7 pm.  Watch for email details.

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