Friday, July 3, 2020

Looking Back on the June 30th, 2020 Virtual Chapter Meeting
Again 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. Chapter leaders are discussing and considering how to move into the next phase of openings for groups – especially singing groups. The operations team has also started to budget planning for the next fiscal year trying to guess how it will unfold!

However, there was not a regular in-person meeting of the Alexandria Harmonizers on June 30th   2020.  

Director Joe Cerutti hosted the gathering at 7 pm via Zoom video meeting this week to continue learning more about our chapter and our fellow members, learning about the barbershop hobby in general and meeting guests from around the Society. Plus we continue to  work on our music.

Joe reported that the chapter leadership team had continued work on our chapter’s diversity and inclusion statement that was discussed in last week’s meeting as it relates to current events  in our Nation.  Dave DesPortes was added to the working team. Joe expressed his appreciation to the many members who were willing to offer their comments and insights. The statement was approved by both the BHS Chapter board and the AH Inc. board. 

Plus Joe was eager to share the good news that the chapter is a finalist in two of the new BHS Award Categories! We are a finalist in the “ensemble of the year” award program, and a finalist in the “ambassador of the year” award program. Here are links to the YouTube announcement of finalists. 

In the Ambassador category, we are nominated in combination with the Alexandria Singers for our New Zealand tribute show. Our friend Dr. Joyce Garrett from Alfred Street Baptist was also named an ambassador finalist for her leadership in getting more men to sing in our community. 

The chapter appreciates all those who worked on submitting the nominations. 

It was great to have some Harmonizers with us this week we haven’t seen for a while including John Santora, Kevin Kaiser, Keith Jones, and John Rettenmayer. There were two other guests on the call this week – Brian Richard from the Manassas Chapter, and Yuhan Roh a barbershop singer who has moved to Alexandria recently.

Joe reported news from the recent music committee meeting with plans for guest presenters during the weeks ahead. Next week, July 7th, our guest will be Tony DeRosa – a fun Harmonizer coach and gold medal lead with MAIN STREET QUARTET in 2017. 

Other future guests will be VINTAGE MIX quartet from Wisconsin (quadruplets that sang on our holiday show a few years ago); Clay Hine (one of our arrangers and the baritone of  the popular comedy quartet FRED); Chad Bennett (currently a staffer at BHS and former performer with Disney Dapper Dans); Steve Tramack and his family (an arranger of many Harmonizer songs singing with other members of his family); Cindy Hansen (our successful performance coach during the last several years); and Charlotte Murray (director of Vocal DX chorus from New Zealand) . 

Associate director Tony Colosimo was leader of our warm up time and took the men through some physical exercises (including some dancing) and then concentrated on vocal matters to warm up the voice for the nite.  

Then all the singers at home in their own spaces worked on sections of the uptune and ballad we are preparing for future contests. Tony sang and Joe coached him so the members could see what Joe wanted. At one point Joe asked every singer to get out his cell phone and record himself and then hit send to give it to the section leader.

Alan Wile conducted the fifth interview of chapter members who have submitted a Harmo Heroes form for inclusion in the chapter info section of Groupanizer.  This week’s interviewee was Reed Livergood. He grew up in the St. Louis area and during grad school sang in a group directed by Jim Henry.  He was not able to resist the pull to eventually sing with the Ambassadors of Harmony. 

Besides a youthful interest in sports with his family, Reed majored in music and eventually taught in Russia and Korea.  

He came to the DC area for work.  At that point Reed was eager to find another performance opportunity and came to the Harmonizers.  He has been both baritone and lead section leader; director of our in-house a cappella group, TBD; and has accepted a variety of leadership assignments in the chapter. No wonder he does well on the front row – he studied tap and also has done a lot of clogging.  Another musical interest of Reed’s is to be in cover bands.

There were 60 attendees again this week. Terry Reynolds used the Zoom system to randomly divide all attendees on the call into a small group of five to share “what’s the most beautiful place you have seen on the planet? And what’s on your bucket list to go see? ” Amazing that men in this chapter have been all over the world.  Not too many of us who haven’t been to another country. Dean Sherick rode his motorcycle to Alaska. Guys have been to Tibet, cities in Viet Nam and China and New Zealand.  Bruce Roehm hopes to take a safari some day.

The chapter’s business meeting was brief with no major announcements. Steve Murane reminded men to take note of the recent email message about ordering new uniforms and accessories and then respond to his wife Robyn, the uniform chair.

 President Stan Quick suggested members reach out to Sandy and Mick Stamps during this difficult time for them. You can also visit Sandy's CaringBridge site at: 

Stan also thanked Dean Rust for his work in submitting grant requests for the chapter.  We have received two more lately from the Virginia Commission for the Arts. One is in recognition for our work on the tribute show for New Zealand and one is for our on-going project with Alfred Street Baptist Men’s Choir.  Thanks as always, Dean

Rob Barnovsky was on the call from his mother’s home in Ohio where Rob is helping his family cope with the situation while his 87-year-old father is fighting Covid 19. 

To wrap up the evening, we welcomed long time friend of many of us and fellow Harmonizer, Darryl Flinn from his home in Canton, OH. Great to see him and hear him share stories about his work with us as a coach and mentor to sing better. He came to us first as a judge at a contest and when he offered suggestions, the music team asked him to come visit us.  He shared the fun story about working to build up the bass sound of the chorus to include his admonition that “basses are animals” and are the foundation for the great chorus sound. 

He worked in the gold medal years with us.  One of his fond memories was when our chapter went to Canton to sing on their show.

At some point, Darryl decided to expand his leadership in the Society to the administrative side having been at the helm of the judging side of things for years.  He became president of the Society.  Then filled the Executive Director slot from 1996-2004 when the headquarters was still in Kenosha, WI.  Later he was president of Harmony Foundation, International.

He had a lot of fun as a quartet singer and competed on the international stage. One of his quartets, CHORD DUSTERS, traveled with a USO show and Bob Hope. Darryl is a 65-year member of BHS having been encouraged by a high school music teacher to sing in their school quartet. 

We credit him for using the term “breathless moments” which we adopted as the title of our chapter’s 50th anniversary book.  It was great to have him with us again and enjoyed his ability to recall Harmonizer history and names of many of the men.

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