Thursday, April 23, 2020

Looking Back on the April 21st, 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 21st,  2020.  

Instead, director Joe Cerutti hosted a gathering at 7 pm via Zoom video meeting this week to continue the work on music, learn performance plans, and learn more about our chapter and the barbershop hobby in general.

We were anticipating guests on this call to include our coach Cy Wood from Ohio, and Steve Armstrong from Toronto Northern Lights chorus to speak on the music judging category in BHS.

Joe kicked off his remarks with a loud Wow! And Thank You! to all the men for their work in rallying to the Spring2ACTion campaign on Wed., April 15th.  He particularly thanked Randall Eliason for his leadership in making that happen as well as the four sectional leaders –Devin, Ben, Brad and Matt.

Joe reports that the Mayor contacted him and plans to issue a Proclamation in honor of Brian Miller.

Finally Joe announced plans for “Chorus Line” in the weeks ahead: 1. He has made videos about the background of the song and interpretation on Facebook including “What I Did For Love;” 2. Singers may submit a recording this week of this one – remember still only submit one recording per week; 3. The chorus is looking to create a partnership with a local men’s dance organization to support this song – if members have ideas or contacts, please share with Joe.

Associate director Tony Colosimo did the physical and vocal warm up sessions for the 60+ singers on the call.

Then Tony met with men who were “riser ready” on “Defying Gravity” and Joe met with those who were not yet ready. 

Next we welcomed Cy from his home in Ohio.  He reports the school where he teaches just confirmed they would not be going back to class in the building this school year.  Then Cy set the stage for his work with teaching the Harmonizers the performance plan for “42nd Street.”  He explained that his intentions were to create a plan that honors the “golden age of musical theater” and incorporate dance/athleticism.  (He has already provided the chorus videos they can review on their own.) Cy encouraged the men to stand up in their homes and perform things with him this evening.  He made good headway on the plan, but will likely be back to continue.

Joe and the guys thanked Cy for his help and instruction.

Next there were sectionals on “Chorus Line Medley.”

And then Joe took the helm to work with the chorus on their music for “42nd Street.”  This time Joe asked Tony to sing the song and Joe coached Tony as a way of coaching the whole chorus. One major point stressed in this session was that the words should be pronounced as in the music – for example: danc-ing  vs. danc-in.

Joe asked for any volunteers to sing part of the song next week.  And Joe and Tony are very eager to hear from members as to how they like this work time, is it helping, are individuals making progress.  Even if all you tell them – it’s ok.  Speak up.

Joe reminded everyone how grateful we are as a chapter to have Tony’s help in our musical efforts.
There was a chapter business meeting period conducted by communications director Steve Murane. First off, Randall did a wrap up report about Spring2ACTion – we raised over $33,000! And the chapter thanked Randall for pushing.

Steve shared that guys would be hearing from BHS about refunds from Harmony University this summer, but note that the messages will come from Eventbrite.

He also reminded guys that instead of the HU trip, the chapter will host a “Harmonizer University” this summer/fall and so guys should plan to save some of their refund money to cover their costs for that fun weekend event.

President Stan Quick reports that Clyde Crusenberry is going to have some non-covid related surgery.
Members should take note of the email message about the scholarship started to honor Brian Miller.
Phyllis Muir, Craig Odell’s mother-in-law, passed away Friday morning as a direct result of COVID-19.  Condolences to Linda and Craig Odell, and Erin Odell and Dan Cook

Chapter secretary Chris Buechler spoke with John Adams, past Harmonizer president (1966) and long-time tenor section leader before he moved to NC, and learned that John’s wife, Jean, age 88, passed away Friday night. She had Lewy body dementia and had been in assisted care for the past six years. However, she had tested negative for COVID-19. She was an avid quilter and a past president of the Harmonettes (our former auxiliary).
We congratulate the following men for renewing as Harmonizers (as reported by secretary Chris Buechler who sent them their membership renewal cards): Bob Wachter - 68 years; Gene Swartz   - 54 years; Don Johnson - 51 years; Fr Joe Witmer  - 50 years; Jeff Taylor  - 28 years; Ian Poulin  - 20 years; and Duncan Woodbury - 8 years.

Following the meeting, there were two electives/breakout sessions.  Randall Eliason spoke about Harmonizers Organizational Structure including AH Inc.  Steve Armstrong, who is chairman of the BHS Contest and Judging Committee, explained the music category for our BHS contest system.

After these sessions ended, Joe thanked Cy for joining us.  Then  a good number of men stayed on Zoom to visit and chat.

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