Thursday, August 13, 2020

Looking Back on the August 11th, 2020 Virtual Chapter Meeting


Looking Back on the August 11th, 2020 Virtual Chapter Meeting

The chapter continues its virtual meetings with members of the Harmonizer family signing in from all around the nation. 

Director Joe Cerutti was excited to kick off this week’s meeting filled with lots of special aspects including guest and chapter friend, Cindy Hansen Ellis, plus an update on the Legacy Quartet Contest from organizer Dustin Guyton. Next week our guests will be the Tramack family singers from their home in New Hampshire.

He was happy to report that leaders in our chapter are meeting and planning for the chapter’s next live show, and that they are eager for suggestions from members about what makes a “successful afterglow” when we have a show.  Therefore - next week’s small group discussion topic will be to collect those ideas from everyone.

Again Joe extended an invite to all members to volunteer if they have a topic they could speak passionately about as an elective in a future meeting.  Passion for a topic is top priority. Let Terry or Joe know of your interest – it does not even need to be related to barbershop! Several guys have already signed up, so if you want to be added to the list, contact music team administrator Terry Reynolds.

Similarly, if any of you have internet content you’d like to share, tell Terry, Tony or Joe about it too.  In that regard, we heard another great tag, submitted this week by Alex Crounk - “Goodbye My Love.” He sang all four parts and revised the standard version that tag singers all know.  It was terrific!

Finally, Joe announced a special event scheduled for Tuesday, Aug 25th. The Harmonizers will host a virtual “Dog Days” event since our friends in the Manassas Chapter had to cancel this year’s in-person event they have hosted for 39 years for choruses in Northern Virginia to perform for each other and socialize.

This year’s virtual Dog Days event will be open to all chapters in DC, Northern Virginia and Baltimore areas. There will be an appearance by the World Mixed Quartet Champs DOUBLE DATE who have won that contest twice – in 2014 and in 2016.  BHS CEO Marty Monson will also be with us.

There will be musical warm up sessions, some singing and two electives: how to work on your music at home; and apps you can use to work on your music.

Speaking of a warm up, Joe started this week’s session until associate director Tony Colosimo was able to get onto the call. Tony brought back a crazy exercise from the past singing “aluminum linoleum” over and over! And he used the tag “Down By Old Point Bay” to wrap up his session.


Then Tony and Joe moved into more review of choreography for “42nd Street.” This review was done in various speeds from slow to faster, with the teacher facing the camera sometimes, and with guys singing while they did the moves. Joe also stressed that the whole plan included character development by each performer.

As is the case each week during our Zoom meeting, the attendees are merged into small discussion groups.  This week’s question: “What would be your favorite meal?” Joe asked everyone to enter their idea into the chat and then on the count of three, everyone hit return and they all popped up. It was fun to review – several popular comfort food lists, steaks of all kinds, a big plate of my mom’s whatever, and one guy even said a peanut butter and jelly sandwich!!

The chapter’s business meeting was brief with no major announcements. We were reminded to keep Bob Wachter in our thoughts as he is now in Fairfax Hospital with Covid (tho he is making some progress at this point); and Steve Murane’s Mom is recovering from a stroke.

Next Joe welcomed Dustin Guyton back to our meeting, who is the BHS staff member in charge of the Legacy Quartet Championship event being held in August.  This event will be a contest to recognize 25 of the top barbershop quartets that “never won the gold” in past contests.  The 25 semifinalists will played in a virtual event Sat. Aug. 22 from 4-10 pm Eastern. The ten finalists will be aired on Sat. Aug. 29th from 6-10 pm.

One great aspect of this event is that these performances have been rescued from archive materials stored from the past at headquarters – digitized so that future generations can enjoy and experience the singing for ever more.

Go to to sign up for various levels of participation and involvement with the contest.

It was fun to hear from Dustin again about how the plans have come into focus.  He was excited to report the support from many parts of the Society including Contest and Judging community, Association of International Champions folks, and the district presidents and leaders.

In that regard, our own Bob Eckman, who is our district president, was on our call this week, after having extended an invitation for all members from M-AD to join a virtual district-wide Zoom call on Thursday, Aug. 13th at 8 pm. Here is the link  Our district is helping sponsor this great legacy contest event.

Our special elective this week was a personal visit with coach and chorus friend, Cindy Hansen Ellis from her home in Michigan. She and her husband, Dave, moved there a few years ago, but it meant she was back to her barbershop roots. (Dave actually sang with the Harmonizers a few years.)

Cindy credits her dad and grandpa with hooking her interest in our music – she fell asleep many times as a child watching quartets rehearse in her home.  Her family was involved in all levels of the hobby in the Michigan area. She says she was lucky that her folks would plan a vacation to go to the Society’s summer contest each year. They would all go and not miss a thing including the popular afterglows of those days.

Her field of study included some theater and thus her interest and skills in the performance aspect of barbershop singing.

One of her earliest moves into coaching happened when she offered a suggestion to Dr. Greg Lyne who was then director of the West Towns Chorus in the Chicago area.  He liked her suggestions and offered her the opportunity to coach their chorus.

Cindy has worked with all levels of barbershop performers in BSH, SAI and HI and many of them credit her as their coach and friend.  She has the talent to bring out the best in performers, and can help them own their efforts to communicate with audiences! She strives to “make them sound better” as they perform.

During her visit this time, we all reminisced about her help with the Harmonizer package of “Lazy Bones” and “Summertime” which was one of our most popular show and contest sets.

We bid her farewell with thanks for being a friend and honest coach for all of us over the years. Joe also thanked her for all she had done to help him as a chorus director and leader in the organization.

As is the case each week, a bunch of guys stayed past the closing time of the Zoom meeting for an impromptu afterglow. Some guys thanked Martin Banks for the great piece he posted to Harmonizers personals about our appearances with famous entertainers.

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 72nd year of the Alexandria Harmonizer Chapter. —YeEd