Friday, May 22, 2020

Looking Back on the May 19th, 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 19th,  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. 

Recently chapter leaders sent a message to all members (not just the singing chorus) to make sure all Harmonizers, wherever they are, feel free to join us any Tuesday via a Zoom link. The chapter will resend the link every Tuesday in the hour before the 7 pm start time. This appeal brought some members to the call we have not seen for a while  Bob Sutton, Bob Eckman, Al Herman, and Phil Ashford.

Since it has become clear that the chorus will not be able to get together in person anytime soon, the music team is adjusting the Tuesday night virtual rehearsals to include a significant amount of educational, social, and fellowship activities along with the singing.

Joe was excited to report that we were anticipating a surprise guest for this week and there would not be any other electives.  He kept the members guessing as to who it would be. Next week we have a special visit with Marty Monson, CEO of the Barbershop Harmony Society. Also next week there will be sessions for ‘Riser Ready’ or ‘Not Riser Ready’ singers for “42nd Street.”

The annotated version of the new ballad will be on Groupanizer maybe as early as Wednesday.

Finally he again acknowledged that some members may find themselves lacking desire or drive to keep learning show music, turning in recordings, and drilling themselves.  He understands those who might not get a recording submitted. Most importantly, he hopes every member will continue to join the virtual meetings to stay caught up and stay in touch with our Harmonizer brothers. He was happy to have over 60 attendees this week again.

Associate director Tony Colosimo conducted another compete warm up session with lots of physical as well as vocal exercise
Then Joe worked on the uptune with special emphasis on rhythm and phrase endings; and he revised the traditional 1-10 range of volumes we have used  down to 1-6. 

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 “What’s your  favorite memory as a Harmonizer.”  Each small group reported the stories and there were some amazing stories from our members as well as some pretty crazy ones. The guys who have been members over 40 years often referred to the first time we won the district contest and the first time we won the Southern Division and thus started a run of many trips to the International contest. Other popular points were Les Ventes, France; first Kennedy Center Honors performance; the New Zealand show;  Harvey Milk show; show with Dick Van Dyke; the gold medal in Atlanta; and a quartet singing for John and Annie Glenn at their home.

Alan Wile continued his interviews of members (who have submitted their personal story via the Harmonizer Heroes program.  This week’s guest was Frank Shipp who has been a member of our chapter a short time. His professional career has been in agriculture and equestrian management in KY and VA.  Plus he has had a lot of theater and music experience over the years. 

The business meeting was brief with no major announcements.  Executive director Randall Eliason reinforced the point for members to use the Scrip program to help raise monies for the chapter and make shopping easier.  If anyone needs explanation about using Scrip, contact Ken Ives.  This is a great way for members who live far away from the chapter to lend a hand. Randall also suggested guys use Amazon Smile to donate to the chapter.

Chapter secretary Chris Buechler reports the following members have renewed their membership and he has mailed them their renewal cards: Bob Thames - 60 years; Bill Colosimo - 44 years; Bob Eckman - 36 years; and John Oswald Greene - 9 years. Chris is now calling all renewals in addition to mailing their cards with a note.

The surprise guest was former chorus director, Scott Werner, who now lives in The Villages in Florida, with his wife Linda.  He is director of The Heart of Florida Chorus.

Scott joined the Harmonizers in 1964 as a guest of former director, Oz Newgard, who was director from 1963-70. Within two years of his joining, Scott was elected administrative vice president of the chapter and during his term, the chapter achieved Century Club Status.  He was elected chapter president in 1967 and again in 1968 – the first man to serve two consecutive terms in our chapter. He proved to be a versatile musical leader having been lead section leader, assistant director and music committee chairman prior to 1970. He arranged close to a dozen songs for the chorus during the ‘70s.

Scott served as Musical Director of the Harmonizers from 1970, with time out from 1980 to 1983, and then from 1984 until 2002 – a total of almost 30 years! He guided the chorus to its first District championship in 1977 and its first International appearance and medal in 1978—a fourth place bronze. He led the chorus to ten District titles, each of which culminated in an International medal, including four bronze medals, three silver medals, and four gold medals in 1986, 1989, 1995 and 1998.

In 1995, Scott won a gold medal when his senior quartet (Reminisce) won, and the chorus won a gold medal also that year. 

During Scott’s tenure as director of the Harmonizers he helped grow the chorus to 145 singers.  He added Geri Geis to his team to help create many great show appearances. 

Joe conducted an interview and one of the fun points was Scott’s favorite song was “Music of the Night.”  Scott shared that his philosophy was to use all the talent in our chapter and suggested that advice to others.  He also believed in making sure the experience was fun for everyone. Scott stayed on the call into the afterglow portion and greeted many men who sang with him before his retirement.

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.)
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