Friday, September 11, 2020

Looking Back on the Sept. 8th, 2020 Virtual Chapter Meeting


Looking Back on the Sept. 8th, 2020 Virtual Chapter Meeting

The Alexandria Harmonizers continue meeting via Zoom. This week was another full session of fun, singing, BHS news, plus director Joe Cerutti came prepared to lay out plans for the next few months. 

Again this week we had a lot of guests from around the nation – many former members or current members who live in other states.  That’s one positive of this era under the virus threat – guys can join us from anywhere. Several members of the AH Inc. board were on the call this week too.  There were 68 folks on the call this week.

To kick off the fun, we got to hear some of guys in Riptide the Rock Band who made a fun video of their performance of “Saw Her Standin’ There.” Joe Cerutti Sr, Joel Golden, Chris Huber, and Kellen Hertz are in the group plus their two buddies Austin and Doc.  This was part of the pledge to play any videos produced by members during these times of virtual meetings.

As a reminder, next Monday, Sept. 14th at 8 pm Eastern, the BHS Awards Gala event will be presented via YouTube.  The Harmonizers were nominated and are finalists for two of the major awards – Ambassador of the Year, and Ensemble of the Year.  Our friend Dr. Joyce Garrett from Alfred Street Baptist is also a finalist for Ambassador of the Year.

The Harmonizers will have a Live Watch Party too that nite, gathering to start at 7:30 pm, via Zoom.  Plan to attend and share the fun. Families and friends are encouraged to be on the Zoom call.  Watch for the link to this party time.

There was no warm up session this week, so that Joe could share music team plans for the months ahead.  Obviously much of this is dependent of the health matters in our area, but it is great to look forward to some fun new music, new venues, new gigs, and new technology.

His major points were to encourage the Harmonizers with news about two important projects on the horizon.

The first project revolves around a tentative performance schedule for the next twelve months that could include singing for the new Scottish Rite group in DC, a retreat with Harmony University classes for our members prior to a contest run in Cleveland, a show for the Fredrick MD Chapter, a fall show at Schlesinger, a gig in Rappahannock, VA, a holiday show at Strathmore in November, and a holiday show at Schlesinger in December.

A creative team of members plus Joe, Tony Colosimo, Terry Reynolds and Cy Wood developed a complete plan for our first show after the pandemic ends. It would be designed to help our audiences see new light and enjoy great music again. The theme is “A Beautiful Morning” and of course would include the terrific new song we have been working on, arranged by David Wright, “Oh What A Beautiful Morning.”

The song list would bring back some old favorites like “Never Fully Dressed Without a Smile” as an audience participation piece.  Recently Joe received a treasure-trove of barbershop songs collected by Wilbur Sparks during his lifetime as a member of our chapter.  And in that collection Joe found an arrangement by John Hohl that will be used in the show too.

The show will close with our popular “Circle of Life” number from last year.

The second project is a virtual holiday show – coast to coast.  We would be doing it in collaboration with Northwest Sound Chorus in Bellevue, WA, directed by former Harmonizer, Ken Potter.   It will be on Sunday, Dec. 20th at 6 pm EST.

Here again there will be a live premier of the show with a Zoom pre and post gathering for singers and fans.

Joe and team have asked Harmonizers via an email sent out Tuesday nite to take a survey of which of several Harmonizer Holiday performances on YouTube should be used on the show.   They are looking for members to rank them and then music leaders will use the ranking: to select the recordings to use for our Virtual Holiday Show; to select our submission for the WETA 2020 Winter Concert project, and to select materials for any additional opportunities that come up to “show our stuff.” Responses are due on Friday, Sept. 11th by 4 pm.

Some holiday tracks are already on Groupanizer, according to Terry.

Joe’s summary of this virtual show – “just do it.” He pledges that complete instructions will be sent to all members as to what they will need for this project such as headsets, and how to prepare.  There will be a test run of the virtual singing process on the intro to “Oh What a Beautiful Morning.”

Harmonizers should realize there are plenty of slots for volunteers, helpers, workers on these two major chapter projects. 

New chapter communications director Matt Doniger asked for business items from the chapter executive director, president, secretary and membership director.  Hearing none, the meeting was brief!

Special guests this week were Dr. Tim Workman and his young children from WV.  Tim is choral arts director at University of Arkansas in Fort Smith.  He had with him on the call his son Tanner, and daughters Analyn and Abby.  With dad on bass, they belted out some fantastic tags, taught us a tag, and shared some of their world as young singers all in one house.

Dad Tim was tenor in 2001 Collegiate Champ quartet, REPRISE. He and his siblings were a singing family too, so it is all a family tradition.

For our meeting, this generation of Workman singers sang a great “Alexander’s Ragtime Band” tag plus a couple others.

About half way thru this week’s meeting, Craig Kujawa joined the call from his post in Africa.  Great to hear from him and learn that he has only ten more weeks there.

Next week’s Tuesday meeting will be via Zoom again at 7 pm.  Watch for email details. The discussion topic will be – “If the chapter was given a million dollars, how would we spend that money?”

Funeral details for Bob Wachter were announced. Visitation will be Sunday, Sept. 13th from 11 am to 1 pm at Demaine Funeral Home, 520 S. Washington Street, Alexandria.  There will be a funeral Mass at 11 am on Monday, September 14th at St. Louis Catholic Church, 2907 Popkins Lane, Alexandria.

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