Thursday, May 7, 2020

Looking Back on the May 5th, 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, quartet, or ensemble 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 May 5th,  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. He is quick to thank the chapter’s admin team, particularly Terry Reynolds, who makes it all happen as Zoom host.  

Joe was excited to report that we were anticipating coach Cy Wood on this call to teach more of the choreo for “42nd Street” that we are learning; and that we will hear from Alan Gordon explaining the singing judging category for BHS contests. 

Joe asked members to let him know if they have a contact with a DC-area men’s dance organization the chapter can partner with; and he encouraged singers to submit their rehearsal ready materials by Fri. May 8th for “Chorus Line.”

Next Joe lead the reporting of the survey we all took over the December holidays and prior to the individual interviews.  One interesting result was a pledge for chapter leaders –both admin and musical – to make an effort to align members with teams/interest groups/committees in a long list of possibilities: visual, show production, music review, youth festival, small group coaches, membership, social, history, technology, quartet activity, and to organize a “blind” nite event. 

Associate director Tony Colosimo did the physical and vocal warm up sessions for the 60+ singers on the call.  Then there were sectionals to work on “Chorus Line.

As a new feature this week, Alan Wile hosted an interview of fellow chapter member Chuck Hunter. The new feature will help members know fellow members better (so as not to wait until their memorial service) as recorded in Harmonizers Heroes which Alan manages (he has done it for 10 years).  The full collection of 250 reports submitted by members is available on Groupanizer under Documents.

Chuck was involved with his Dad, Chuck Sr., in CA and joined the Society at age 12. He directed the San Jose CA chorus in his early 20s. During his foreign service career he has been posted in Cairo, Algiers, Tunis, Muscat, Jerusalem, Al-Hillah (Iraq), Damascus, Bagdad, and Istanbul, plus often back to Washington DC which explains why he has frequently left the chorus for a period and then returned.  Whenever he has been here he has usually been a section leader and/or assistant director. AND he reports that he has never sung with us when we won a gold medal. 

Next, music team administrator Terry Reynolds used the Zoom system to randomly divide all attendees on the call into a small group of five or so.  Joe had asked the guys to share “any ideas you have for guest speakers or elective topics for the weeks ahead (both during Zoom and when we are back to regular chapter meetings).  Each small group reported and there was a great collection of strong ideas.

While guys were reporting, Joe received the learning tracks for our new contest ballad, “Oh What a Beautiful Morning” arranged by David Wright.  Joe played it for all to hear and the music was on the screen to follow along.  David, Joe and Tony agree it is a challenging number but David felt the Harmonizers could handle it. There were positive reactions on the Zoom call – including smiles and head nods during the playing of the music for us.

The business meeting was brief with no major announcements.  President Stan Quick thanked the members for keeping him informed about health and welfare status of our members. It was good to have Tom Berkey on the call and to get his report that his wife is doing much better. 

Chapter secretary Chris Buechler reports the following members have renewed their membership and he has mailed them their renewal cards: Tom Hansen - 44 years; Andy Smith- 44 years; Jim Lucey-31 years; Bill DePuy-30 years; and Jason Lee-18 years.

Next coach Cy Wood came to us from his home in Ohio.  He went right to work on continuing his choreo instruction for “42nd Street,” with a brief review of what he taught last time, and then a lot of new material for guys to work on. 

There were two electives this week.  Alan Gordon spoke about the singing category for our BHS contest judging.  He is interim director for the Masters of Harmony and sang baritone in popular top quartets MASTERPIECE and GOTTCHA. 

Jack Pitzer spoke about the directors that have served the Harmonizer chorus since it was chartered in 1948: Gene Barnwell – 1948-50; Werner Paul – 1950-61; Bud Arberg – 1951-62; Oz Newgard – 1963-70; Scott Werner – 1970-80 and 1984-2002; John Hohl – 1980-83; Terry Reynolds – interim Aug.-Dec. 2002; Richard Lewellen – 2003-06; and Joe Cerutti – 2007 until now.

After these sessions ended, some of the members stayed on Zoom to visit and chat.

Next week’s meeting will be via Zoom again at 7 pm.  Watch for email details. (Note that the Zoom call info number is the same each week.)

Outside the chapter meeting, there was a recent email from Harmony Foundation International with news that our chapter ranks 23rd (as of April 30th, 2020) in percentage of contributions. There were 82 of our 187 members who gave yielding a 44% or 23rd place.  (Interesting, we were the only chapter over 100 members in the top 75! Congrats Harmonizers!)

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