Thursday, August 27, 2020

Looking Back on the August 25th, 2020 Virtual Dog Days Event


Looking Back on the August 25th, 2020 Virtual Dog Days Event

The Harmonizers hosted 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 during the late-summer.

This year’s virtual Dog Days event was open to all chapters in DC, Northern Virginia and Baltimore areas. By 7:30, there were 105 barbershoppers on the Zoom call.

Director Joe Cerutti welcomed all the folks from chapters all over our district and region and thanked the Manassas friends for supporting this year’s version of the event.  Joe reminded everyone about the recent passing of Bob Wachter who always sang in a quartet at Dog Days and directed the Harmony Heritage Singers.

During the early arrivals, there was a lot of chatter about the Legacy Quartet Championship that the BHS held last Saturday.  Congratulations to RIPTIDE who will compete in the 10-quartet finals round on Sat. eve, Aug. 29th at 6 pm.  (The ten finalists are 139th STREET, SUNDOWNERS, RIPTIDE, CENTER STAGE, THE NATURALS, EASTERNAIRES, HARRINGTON BROTHERS, FOUR RASCALS, METROPOLIS, and STATE LINE GROCERY.) Go to for more details about the finals round.

Joe reviewed the agenda for this week’s special event after Terry Reynolds conducted a “Zoom 101” session for those who had not been on a Zoom call before. Joe invited associate director Tony Colosimo to lead a warm up session for the large number of folks on the call.

Then it was time for our first special guest – DOUBLE DATE mixed quartet from FL. The two couples and friends have competed in the International Mixed Quartet contest in Germany which they have won twice – in 2014 and 2016. They sang “Life is Just a Bowl of Cherries” for us and then after introducing themselves (Michaela Slamka, Blair Brown, Ravi Raghuram and Nathan Johnson) and some chatting with Joe, they taught us a tag – “I’ll Come to You, Smiling Thru the Years.” Blair is the first women to be elected to the BHS board of directors.

The next special guest was Marty Monson, CEO of the Barbershop Harmony Society, from his home in Nashville, TN. He was excited to attend his first Dog Days event. He shared that the headquarters staff is beginning to return to the office after having worked at their homes.  He shared his pride and gratitude for the staff and the chapter and district leaders who have made the effort to keep BHS alive during this pandemic.

Marty shared some things he has been doing to keep himself motivated and able to motivate others.  He started with the importance of getting extra sleep, walking or exercising, reading for fun and for personal growth, enjoying the time to reflect during these times, being yourself, and finding some joy in your surroundings.

He also shared some of the exciting plans for the 2021 BHS convention set for Cleveland next July.

And then we had another guest quartet, a mixed foursome from the Steve Tramack home in New Hampshire, SWEET AND SOUR.  This quartet includes two daughters and son of Steve along with a fiancĂ© of one of the girls. They too taught a tag for the Dog Days crowd – “Home Again.”

Joe turned over the call to Harmonizer president Stan Quick who invited a representative from each participation chapter to share some news from their chorus and members. Visiting chapters on the call included Manassas VA, Fairfax VA, Mount Vernon VA, Washington DC, Annapolis MD, Harford County MD, Dundalk MD, Hershey PA, Patapsco Valley MD, Montgomery County MD, and Arlington VA. There were several comments about how much the chapters and members appreciated the chance to share ideas for programming during this pandemic time period.

Finally, all attendees were invited to go then to one of two electives offered on the call.  Joe taught a session about how to learn music on your own, and Tony taught a session about apps and technology that could help you learn and work on your music.

After those sessions, anyone was welcome to hang on the call and visit and catch up.  It was a surprise to have Terry Jordan on the call this week. As has been the case other weeks, there were also a number of former members and friends on the call from many states outside the M-AD.

Sadly, the chapter learned late in the day that Gary Smith, a Harmonizer past president and editor of our 50th anniversary book, Breathless Moments, had died at his home in NC.  More details to come.

Ken Ives used Groupanizer this week to remind members to consider back to school purchases via Scrip. If there are questions, contact Ken at

Finally congratulations to Chris Buechler and Dixie Kennett who were married last week in a masked and socially distanced ceremony outdoors in a park by the Potomac River.  Bill and Linda Colosimo were there as witnesses and photographers.  Good news!

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