Friday, September 4, 2020

Looking Back on the Sept. 1st, 2020 Virtual Chapter Meeting


Looking Back on the Sept. 1st, 2020 Virtual Chapter Meeting

The Alexandria Harmonizers continue meeting via Zoom. This week was another full session of fun, singing, BHS news, and visits with current and former members from around the world..

Director Joe Cerutti welcomed all folks after early arrivals chatted about the results of the finals round of the Legacy Quartet Championship. 

Many Harmonizers watched and participated in the finals contest at 6 pm Saturday nite, Aug. 29th.  First off, there were some former Harmonizers in quartets in the finals –Richard Lewellen in RIPTIDE, and Lee Hanson in CENTER STAGE. Two Harmonizer guys are currently district presidents who had agreed for their districts to help sponsor the Legacy Contest – John Rettenmayer, RMD, and Bob Eckman, M-AD.  And there were some of our guys in all three of the chat rooms offered for those who bought a ticket (Society History, Chat with the Champs, and Hospitality Room). No doubt other members watched the contest free without chat room time via YouTube. Joe and Tony were fun chat room leaders in the hospitality group! As you would expect there were many of our chapter friends and coaches on the calls as moderators or listeners. It was fun.

Top five placements were 139TH STREET in first; RIPTIDE in second; METROPOLIS in third; CENTER STAGE in fourth; and HARRINGTON BROTHERS in fifth.

Joe shared the positive responses from nearby barbershop chapters after last week’s Dog Days Virtual event that we hosted.

He also encouraged everyone to mark their calendar and to make plans to watch the BHS Awards Gala on Monday, Sept. 14th at 8 pm. Former member Joe Witmer will receive his 50-year membership that nite; and the chapter is a finalist in two awards categories – Ambassador of the Year, and Ensemble of the Year.  Our friend Dr. Joyce Garrett from Alfred Street Baptist was also a finalist for Ambassador of the Year. Stay tuned also for details about joining a Harmonizer Room for ‘watch nite’ details.

Next week’s guest for our Zoom meeting will be Dr. Tim Workman and his family from WV.

Joe shared music team plans too – next week will be the last time to spend time on contest songs and then a move towards work on songs for a virtual holiday show, AND OUR FIRST LIVE SHOW (when ever that happens!).

There was a reflection from many members about former Harmonizer president Gary Smith, 72,  who died last Tuesday nite.  He had been president twice, sang bari in two of our gold-medal contest choruses, and was major editor and driving force to create our wonderful Breathless Moments 50th anniversary history book. He is survived by his wife Sara Jane in Waynesville, NC, where they have lived in recent years. Some members had watched the celebration of life that included three long-time favorite Harmonizer songs – “Softly as I Leave You,” “A Place on the Risers for You,” and “I’ll Walk with God.”

Joe invited associate director Tony Colosimo to lead a warm up session the 60-plus members, former members and guests on the call.

Following the warm ups, the program shifted to work on another section of “Oh What A Beautiful Morning.”  And following that there was more review on the choreo for “42nd Street” with Tony. In this regard, guys were encouraged to touch base with another member who seems to be getting the plan mastered.

Our small group discussion this week was “What do you think makes the most successful afterglow after a chapter show.”  There were tons of great ideas that the chapter leaders recorded for consideration in future planning.  Being well organized was likely top of the list, having a team to run it, good food, good pricing, plenty of room, a location close to the show, a strong emcee, and allow time for attendees to visit about the show.  There were a few new ideas like having a featured drink that is based on the show theme for that afterglow; serve breakfast foods, live stream it for those who can’t attend.

Alan Wile conducted his ninth interview of a Harmonizer Hero that is on Groupanizer.  This time he visited with Steve White, a 43-year member of our chapter who has been in the front row about 40 years!! He has sung in five M-AD champ quartets – COPYRIGHT ‘86; THE BAY RUM RUNNERS; PHAT CATS; TOUCHSTONE, and MAD HATTERS.  A proud moment for Steve was having sung with and for U.S. Senator and Astronaut John Glenn and his wife Annie a couple times in their home.

His professional career centered on science and research after his college work in biology and chemistry. He taught high school science one year in the high school where he graduated in MD. He has been at the NIH for 21 years and is involved in the entire Covid 19 research efforts.

He and Gary Plaag were a team that wrote and produced a long run of fun and successful Harmonizer shows.

Steve was president of the M-AD honor club, elected to the M-AD Hall of Honor and is longtime president of the M-AD association of quartet champions.

He was named an Eagle Scout in his youth and then along with his wife Jerri encouraged his two sons to also achieve Eagle Scout recognition.  Last year Steve and Jerri were named winners of the Wilbur and Ibbianne Sparks Award for all the work they have done for our chapter.

Chapter executive director Randall Eliason conducted a chapter meeting to announce a change for chapter communications director on the Operations Team.  Steve Murane is stepping away after several years in that position. The chapter extended appreciation for his service in that important task.  The new director will be Matt Doniger.

One of this year’s joint board meetings of our BHS Chapter and our AH Inc. Chapter was held this past weekend. Members of the Operations Team were also invited to attend. Major action was approval of cooperating budgets for the two boards with indications of adjustments as the year unfolds during the pandemic.  There was also an interim report from a Visionary Work Group chaired by AH Inc. community board member Marie Muscella.

Results are in from our chapter’s participation as one of the 30 choral groups in the Choruses for Care and Compassion. According to their organizers, more than $33,000 was raised to feed 82,000 people in the DC area through the Capital Area Food Bank (CAFB).

There were two electives for members to attend during the latter part of the meeting this week. One was presented by Randall EliasonWhat is White Collar Crime.  He is speaks on this topic for local university law school students.  A second elective was presented by Matt Doniger – an in depth chat about Star Wars The Expanded Universe. There was good attendance for both of these sessions presented by members in response to chapter leaders request for members to present topics they are passionate about.

Both topics launched good fun discussion in the afterglow session this week. 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