Friday, July 17, 2020

Looking Back on the July 14th, 2020 Virtual Chapter Meeting

Looking Back on the July 14th, 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 July 14th   2020.  

Associate director Tony Colosimo 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.

It was great to have some Harmonizers with us this week we haven’t seen for a while including Paul Grimes, John Santora (recently reelected as BHS treasurer), and Keith Jones again from his home in FL. Membership chairman Jacob Broude welcomed our newest Harmonizer,  Yuhan Roh.

Tony spoke about next week’s special guest, Clay Hine from the Atlanta area. Clay earned a gold medal with FRED in 1999 and more recently sang in the International contest with CATEGORY FOUR (you could always count on good laughs with Clay’s quartets).  He has done several arrangements for the Harmonizers too.

Future presenters include 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 and singing with other members of his family for us); Cindy Hansen (our successful performance coach during the last several years); and Charlotte Murray (director of Vocal DX chorus from New Zealand).

Tony Colosimo moved right into warm up time and took the men through some physical exercises (this week he had the guys mimic riding a motorcycle with lip trills and handlebar movements!) 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 worked on specific rhythm hot spots in the ballad.

Director Joe Cerutti joined the call after having been a guest presenter for another chorus virtual meeting – in Europe.

Alan Wile conducted the sixth interview of Harmonizer Heroes – based on the forms submitted by members at the urging of Alan over the years (about 250 reports have been submitted and are on Groupanizer for all to see and so they can learn more about fellow Harmonizers).

This week’s interviewee was Noah Van Gilder – a 12-year barbershop singer.  Noah grew up in NYC Upper East Side. He attended one of the eight specialized high schools in the city  -Stuyvesant. That school has been serving youth there for over 100 years.

Noah was admitted to the school after passing mandatory standardized tests and it meant he had to travel 45 minutes or more on the NYC subway system to get there.  He figures he was riding the subway system by himself as early as age 13. He found the school atmosphere a motivator with strong student body achievements.

He especially enjoyed the time spent in Central Park growing up in the city. After high school Noah went to Cornell and majored in natural resources.  He likes birds and sometimes on our Zoom calls we get to see and/or hear the two Cockatiels – Max and Joey – who he has living at his home now.

His current work is in policy analysis at the Department of Interior after having spent some time at EPA working to promote clean water.

During his years as a chapter member, he has become a soloist for shows and events, has sung with the a cappella ensemble TBD, and has served on the board as marketing director. He sang in a campus group at Cornell called the “Class Notes,” and then when friends found out he liked to sing, it wasn’t long before they had encouraged him to find barbershop.  We are all glad Noah found the Harmonizers!

There were 54 attendees this week. Terry Reynolds used the Zoom system to randomly divide all attendees on the call into a small group of five to share “who is the one person you’d like to spend an hour with, one-on-one, and why?” There were a lot of men who wished they could speak with their dad, or grandparents and ask the questions they wished they had asked earlier. Others suggested Jesus, Abe Lincoln, Martin Luther King, Jimmy Carter, Ed Waesche, and General Eisenhower – to name a few.

We did learn that Chuck Powell’s father died this week. Thoughts go out to Chuck and the family.

The chapter’s business meeting was brief with no major announcements. There were congratulations and thanks extended to Steve White for the excellent 2019 Chapter Annual Report. 

To wrap up the evening, we welcomed VINTAGE MIX from their home in Waukesha near Milwaukee, WI.  This quartet of college aged quadruplets – Kelsey, Anika, Ian  and Julia – has been making a name for themselves in the barbershop and a cappella world. Fortunately we have had them sing for us on a recent holiday show.

They started singing together in fourth grade, then in seventh and eighth grade they were singing even more. They graduated from high school and are all enrolled and working on associates degrees at a local school. They did share some of their challenges over the years as their voices were changing.

When they started singing together, they often did show songs. Lucky for them, the high school music programs in Wisconsin provided strong quartet contest experiences including some barbershop.  Also when a family friend in the Midwest Vocal Express introduced them to barbershop music, they locked onto our music right away.  They shared that they were totally caught up in our hobby after going to their first BHS International convention and contest is Pittsburgh, The quartet has been to the Mixed Barbershop contest in Germany and was expecting  to go this year too until Covid 19 came along.

Luckily we got to hear them sing some songs for us during the Zoom visit.  To thank them for sharing with us, the chapter pledged to sponsor the next arrangement they have made! And we look forward to having them do another show with us one day.

As is the case each week, a bunch of guys stayed past the closing time of the Zoom meeting for an impromptu afterglow. Next week’s meeting will be via Zoom again at 7 pm.  Watch for email details.


In other news – did you see that Terry Reynolds and Alan Lamson are on the faculty for the BHS Virtual Leadership Seminar.  There is a fee and the sessions will be offered July 14-25 from 2-3:50 pm Central.


And did you notice there were a number of Harmonizer and former Harmonizer names in the Friday, July 10th, LiveWire?  The long piece about the Legacy Quartet Contest lists the 25 popular quartets from over the years that never won the gold medal. Here are the quartets that had Harmonizers in them: BSQ with Rick Taylor; CENTER STAGE with Lee Hanson; RIPTIDE with Rick Taylor and Richard Lewellen; and VAUDEVILLE with John Casey, Scott Werner, John Hohl and Bill Cody. Those members who register to attend/view the contest can vote to help pick a winner.


In that same issue there is news about the election of new members of the International Board for BHS. Our own John Santora has been nominated for reelection as treasurer.


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