Thursday, February 25, 2021

Looking Back on the Feb. 23rd 2021 Virtual Chapter Meeting

 Looking Back on the Feb. 23rd 2021 Virtual Chapter Meeting

 

This week’s virtual meeting started off with lots of good comments about last week’s installation and awards event. If anyone missed it, the video of Tony DeRosa’s keynote remarks are available and worth taking a few minutes. 

 

Artistic director Joe Cerutti launched the activities for this night and proudly reported the news that he has completed 94 personal one-on-one interviews with Harmonizers as well as community board members for AH Inc. Joe thanked Terry Reynolds for his major effort to make the interview process run smoothly and easily for the members. Joepromises a summary report of his interview notes during our March 9th meeting.  Again he shared that to-a-man all the guys are planning to regroup when the Covid situation clears up and we can do something in person.  

 

Joe did share that he wanted to clarify to all members that they should not feel guilty about or under an obligation to attend the Zoom meetings.  He understands that for many, the Tues. night Zoom is just one more period of screen time for many; but for others, the Tues. night gathering is a gift of fellowship and comfort when we see each other and can talk and share. And so your attendance is a gift to a fellow Harmonizer!

 

Next, associate director Tony Colosimo conducted the warm up session to get the body and the voice ready for the night.  

 

That was followed by more work using Jamulus while singing “Bridge Over Troubled Water.”  This week’s Jamulus quartet was SILVER ALERT who had worked extra time on this new song so that its introduction to the chorus was solid.  Thanks to Rick Savage, Mike Edison, Will Cox and Steve Murane. The quartet did a great job and members  on the call gave them a thumbs up of appreciation.

 

Joe stepped up to lead the work on “Never Fully Dressed” with the chorus.  He figures this song is pretty well learned and guys have it under their belt.  He confirmed his opinion when he asked guys to go onto chat and post a number from 1-10 if they have it learned (not memorized).  The results were about all 9.  Same number for “have it memorized.”  And then averages of about 8 for “know the dynamic plan” and for “have the chorus breath plan and a personal breath plan under my belt.”

 

He worked next on “Something’s Coming” in a similar fashion first, and then the chorus went into small groups to work on the same song.  Volunteers would sing a section of the song as requested by the monitor for the small group.  The other guys in the group would offer suggestions or comments.

 

This week there was not a special discussion topic but the chorus was invited to form into small groups based on an age range.  The guys over 70 (about ten of them) talked mostly about the challenges of getting their Covid vaccinations.

 

Guess speaker this week was Julian LaFlore, lead singer in the QUINN TONES.   He presented a report on “Engaging BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) Youth in a Predominately White Hobby.” One of his major points was that singing groups should consider their music carefully when choosing material for their repertoire. They should consider “what is the song about,” “when was the song written,” “what does it celebrate,” and “what event(s) led to this song being created?” After his presentation, the mics were opened for a general discussion of the topic with lots of comments and questions from the chorus members.  Julian is a music education major at Towson University.  

 

In other news, the chapter has received word from Bob Wachter’s daughter that there will be a memorial service for Bob at Arlington Cemetery on July 21st at 12:45 pm at the Old Post Chapel.  More details to come, so mark your calendar. 

 

Our next  Harmonizer Tuesday meeting will be via Zoom again at 7 pm on March 2nd , 2021. 

 

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 for the great things going on each week during the 72nd year of the Alexandria Harmonizer Chapter. - YeEd)

 

Thursday, February 18, 2021

Looking Back on the Feb. 16th Meeting, Installation, Awards Ceremony

 Looking Back on the Feb. 16th Meeting, Installation, Awards Ceremony

 

This week’s virtual meeting was another Harmonizer milestone and about 75 members were on the call.  It has always been a tradition to honor and recognize our elected officers and board members.  The current leadership also decided to create a number of whimsical awards to recognize members for their participation during this past year of virtual meetings. 

 

Artistic director Joe Cerutti launched the activities for the night before the special events and outlined the evening’s plans.  He also reported the great news that he has completed over 80 personal one-on-one interviews with Harmonizers.  And he also shared that to-a-man all the guys are planning to regroup when the Covid situation clears up and we can do something in person.  That is great news and certainly maintains the traditions of the Harmonizer spirit.

 

It that same vein, Joe welcomed our special guest and longtime friend, Tony DeRosa, who was with us to share thoughts and install our board for this year. He is a gold medal quartet man having earned his first one with KEEPSAKE at age 19 and most recently with MAIN STREET.  He is currently chorus director for both BHS and SAI groups.  Professionally he works as musical performer in FL. He has coached our chorus over the years and been a welcome guest during our Zoom meetings this year.  

 

As expected, Tony brought lots of laughs and teasing with Joe.  But when he got serious, he spoke about the challenges of a chapter like ours who maintain strong traditions based on the contributions and hard work of Harmonizers who went before us.

 

Tony suggests that our chapter and musical ensemble is unique in both its role as a chapter in BHS but also as an a cappella ensemble.  In summary, he challenged us all to do our parts to make sure those rankings continue. He suggested we are “all part of an amazing legacy!”

 

His major point in his remarks was “if we reformulate the WHY we gather, there is a greater chance that the chapter and its chorus will be making harmony for years into the future.” He added that “yes the leadership is important, but ALL members have a part.”

 

Tony recognized our section leaders, assistant directors and associate and artistic director who make so much of the operation “go” for the chorus.

 

Then he named the 2021 board, asked them to unmute and to agree to serve the chapter – Stan Quick, David DesPortes, Al Herman, Clyde Crusenberry, Frank Shipp, and Devin Gerzof

 

After we bid farewell to Tony, president Stan launched a presentation of awards for this past year of virtual meetings due to Covid.  (For historical purposes, the board decided not to present the traditional chapter awards for 2020 – New Note Award, Spirit Award, Honor Award, Sparks Award, Newgard Award, and the Harmonizer Memorial Award.)

 

Stan labeled the award the 2020 Covies Awards. First was the Chatterbox Award for best commentary in the chats every week. Nominees were Brian Ammerman, Matt Doniger, Noah Van Gilder, Doug White and the winner was Matt Doniger.

 

Second was the Stage Hand Award for best virtual background on Tuesday night.  Nominees were David DesPortes, Mike Edison, Terry ReynoldsSteve Szyszka and the winner was Mike Edison with his shark background. 

 

Third was the Note-y Professor for best elective presentation.  Nominees were Mike Edison  Building a Custom Car,Mike Fasano – Barber Shop Bottles, Joel Golden and Chris Huber – History of Rock and Roll, Alan Gordon – singing category explanation, Jason Lee – A Statistical Analysis of the Covid-19 Pandemic, and Noah Van Gilder – Birds – Why I Love Them and Why You Should Too.  Winner was Jason Lee. 

 

Fourth was the Accidental Award for the guy most likely to sing unmuted when we were all on mute!  Winner, unopposed, was Howard Nestlerode. 

 

Fifth was the Inspector Gadget Award for the best at-home rehearsal setup. Nominees were Tony Colosimo and Davide DesPortes.  Tony won this one.

 

Sixth was the Quarter Rest Award for the guy most likely to appear to be sleeping during rehearsal. The winner, also unopposed, was Bob Mattes. 

 

Seventh was the Nom de Zoom Award for the best screen name.  Nominees were Frank Fadarko, Chris Huber, andBen Watsky.  Ben won this one for his many variations on Kyle (the name someone called him by mistake at the start of the year). 

 

Eighth was Director’s Cut Award for the most likely to be eating during rehearsal. Mark Klostermeyer took this one without any competition! 

 

Ninth was the Dos Equis (Most Interesting Man) for the best story presented during the Harmo Hero interviews conducted by Alan Wile.  Nominees were Ike Evans, Mike Fasano, Reed Livergood, Sam McFarland, Bob Rhome, Ken Rub, Ben Watsky, and Alan Wile.  Bob Rhome’s interesting like story was named winner. 

 

Eleventh was the Fatal Distraction Award for the most likely to have a distraction on the screen during our Zoom meeting (pet, inappropriate action, background sounds, etc.) Although Terry Reynolds’ cats were a strong contender in this award, Noah Van Gilder’s birds and their “speaking up” during the meetings were chosen as winner.

 

Stan did present two special awards on behalf of the board of directors.  Chris Buechler was named Secretary Emeritus.  In his 44 years of Harmonizer membership, Chris served just over 25 years as secretary.  He also had been vice president and president of the chapter.  He kept in touch with the hundreds of men who were members during those years.

 

The board also recognized Martin Banks and presented him emeritus status  as chapter historian.  He has been a member for 37 years and has presented many great “looks” into the chapter’s history for all to enjoy.  He was a leader of the BHS organization for Public Relations Officers and Bulletin Editors too. 

 

 

 

 

After the awards, we moved into our usual Tuesday schedule.  Associate director Tony Colosimo conducted the warm up session to get the body and the voice ready for the night.  He suggested how guys could improve their body alignment even in a sitting position. 

 

Sectionals were next and the section leader could choose which song he felt was needed for his guys. That was followed by more work using Jamulus while singing “Chorus Line Medley.”  This week’s Jamulus quartet was Tony, Mike Fasano, Jacob Broude, and Steve White

 

This week’s meeting ended with the 18th Harmonizer Hero interview conducted by Alan Wile with men who have submitted their Harmo Hero form for inclusion on Groupanizer.  This week’s subject wad Dean Rust.  Dean is a 40-year member of our chapter and has received all of the chapter’s major awards.  He was born in Ohio where his family were farm folks. 

 

He sang with the family as part of their church background and was a euphonium player in high school where he was also a singer in the school choral ensembles.

 

Then he went off to college at Bowling Green State University and sang in the chorale there. He enrolled at some point in political science career studies and a graduate school advisor told Dean he should head to Washington DC where there were lots of jobs in the 1970s.  Dean did that and launched his 35-year career to stop the spread of weapons to other countries with his work with the U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency/Department of State. He has been retired a number of years.

 

Although he sang in college, it was when he got to the DC area that Dean’s brother suggested he should go check out the Alexandria VA barbershop chorus.  And we have been the lucky benefactor of that move. He has tackled all sorts of serious jobs, often took notes when there were coaches with us and reported them to the singers, and in recent years concentrated on writing grants to raise funds for the chapter.  The figure $50,000 was used to indicated the level of his success for the chapter.

 

Dean works behind the scenes but is totally first class and gets to the point of the matter always.  We all thank him for his efforts.

 

He puts that same sort of dedication into his volunteer work in helping Fairfax County residents such as travel coordinator for Meal on Wheels in the Route 1 Corridor. 

 

In other news, Martin Banks tipped us off to the word that BHS Archives was gonna live stream on Wed. Feb. 17th the 1986 performance of THE MOUNT RUSHMORE FOUR with our own Wilbur Sparks singing baritone as Thomas Jefferson.  They were all four past BHS presidents and this was for the very first senior quartet contest held that year at the Midwinter in Tucson.  Go to barbershop.org to check it out.  Pretty good singing for some old timers and a fun bit of show too. 

 

Our next  Harmonizer Tuesday meeting will be via Zoom again at 7 pm on Feb. 23rd , 2021. 

 

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 for the great things going on each week during the 72nd year of the Alexandria Harmonizer Chapter. - YeEd)

 

Friday, February 12, 2021

Looking Back on the Feb. 9th 2021 Virtual Chapter Meeting

 Looking Back on the Feb. 9th 2021 Virtual Chapter Meeting 

 

Almost 70 Harmonizers joined the Zoom meeting this week and as usual there was a lot of chatter as guys were joining the call. A popular topic was “beverage of choice for this week’s call!”

 

Assistant director Terry Reynolds launched this week’s gathering until director Joe Cerutti could join.

 

Terry outlined the agenda for this week with the highlight that Jim Henry would be our guest.  And for a change in methods, there were four choices for breakout discussion sessions for members: (1) What questions should we ask Jimtonight?, (2) what action ideas do you have for our chapter in taking the advice of Kevin Keller in his keynote address at Midwinter?, (3) discuss the Superbowl, (4) or just chat.

 

Terry and others reported the efforts of guys in the chorus to expand the number of users of Jamulus.  Steve Whitereports a few guys that signed up recently did a tag singing session the other night and “it was fun.” 

 

Plus members were reminded that the music for “Bridge Over Troubled Waters” is posted on Groupanizer.  Terryplayed ACOUSTIX – the 1990 gold medal quartet – performing that song.

 

Associate director Tony Colosimo conducted the warm up session to get the body and the voice ready for the night. 

 

When Joe joined the call, he remarked about all the singers who were on the call from all around the US that we have not seen for a while – Julian Laflore, John Santora, Michael Gilmore, Bob Thames, Aaron Simoneau, Bob Eckman, Michael Berkson, and Paul Grimes

 

Sectionals were next and they concentrated on “Something’s Coming” with the reminder to download the annotated copy of the music from Groupanizer. That was followed by more work using Jamulus while singing “Chorus Line Medley.”  This week’s Jamulus quartet was Tony, Turner Arndt, Jacob Broude, and Brian Ammerman.

 

After that there were small groups formed to work on “Never Fully Dressed” concentrating on breath plans and dynamics.  Individuals were invited to sing a section of the song (either a cappella or with a track), and then others guys would offer positive comments.

 

There were a few announcements during the business meeting. History committee chairman Jack Pitzer announced that David Welter will replace Dean Sherick, who has moved away, on that chapter committee.  Shows chairman Doug White announced future show dates in 2022 – a fall show at Schlesinger Sept. 10, 2022, and a holiday show also at Schlesinger Dec. 10, 2022.

 

The discussion topics were fun and the first two accumulated lots of input from members.  Joe used the suggested questions when he interviewed our guest, Jim Henry.  Jim was the gold medal bass in GAS HOUSE GANG and CROSSROADS, plus is director of the Ambassadors of Harmony from the St. Louis area. 

 

One question the guys had for Jim was “who are your heroes in the world of barbershop?” He had already talked a lot about David Wright and his support, talent, and passion. Without any delay, Jim answered the question and shared his respect and joy in friendship with two other chorus directors – Jim Clancy and Jim Miller

 

Several questions were to find out what the Ambassadors are doing during the Covid restraints. He told us about their efforts to sing from their cars in a parking lot.  It seems to work (maybe better than Jamulus) and they are hoping for good weather in the next few weeks to launch it for the whole chorus.  Jim will share will us the details about which microphone each guy bought (guys who needed help to pay got support from their chapter).  They also bought a clamp to fasten the mic to the steering wheel.

 

There were several references to the shared show and visit when the Ambassadors came to Alexandria and stayed with us in our homes.

 

When asked which of his own arrangements were his favorite, Jim humbly shared “I Still Can’t Say Goodbye.”

 

During this week’s afterglow, we all watched one of the FaceBook musical spots, “Music Man,” created by Jim and his family.  It was awesome and a fun ending to a visit with a barbershop hero for most Harmonizers.

 

Our next  Harmonizer Tuesday meeting will be via Zoom again at 7 pm on Feb. 16th , 2021. 

 

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 for the great things going on each week during the 72nd year of the Alexandria Harmonizer Chapter. - YeEd)

 

Sunday, February 7, 2021

 Looking Back on the Feb. 2nd 2021 Virtual Chapter Meeting & Midwinter

 

A good number of Harmonizers joined the Zoom meeting again this week and there was a lot of chatter as guys were joining the call. 

 

Director Joe Cerutti launched this week’s gathering and updated the chapter on a number of issues including sharing word that Jim Henry will be a guest next week.

 

Joe did appeal to everyone to suggest speakers, and better yet, to offer to do an elective of their choosing – sharing about your hobby, your profession, your quartet experiences, you family musical background, or any topic.  Let Joeknow what you can share with the chapter.

 

We had a brief recap of the recent virtual Midwinter convention organized by BHS. It was a fun and interesting event.  It began on Thurs. Jan. 28th and ended on Sun. Jan. 21st.  Generally there were almost always about 20 Harmonizers on the “campus” in the avatars they had created for themselves in the virtual world.

 

The largest Harmonizer crowd was on Thursday night when the big show was “From the Archives” and included a set by VAUDEVILLE (Harold Nance, tenor [‘who was actually attending the event]. Scott Werner, John Hohl and Bill Cody).  

 

During the convention there was a full schedule of Harmony University classes.  YeEd heard that Terry Reynolds, Tony Colosimo and Joe Cerutti made presentations. 

 

It was great to chat with fellow chapter members as well as old friends from the district and around the Society.  Our chapter had a terrific “room” in the MAD hospitality room that featured a video our of Toronto contest package on a screen there.

 

Our popular coach, Kevin Keller, gave a fantastic keynote address during the Saturday evening schedule.  He received many accolades.  You can see/hear it by going to barbershop.org and click on his picture.  It is totally on target with how we come out of this Covid year as a chapter.  Take a listen.  

 

(Actually we listened to a segment’s of Kevin’s address at the end of this week’s meeting and discussed how his thoughts relate to our own chapter – especially as we emerge from Covid restraints.  And Joe promises we will learn the tag Kevin taught in his speech.)

 

Recently the music team has announced plans to rekindle the plan to have members submit recordings.  There has been a delay getting the support materials out to the chapter, but singers can still work on preparing themselves by working on the current songs – “Help from My Friends,” “Never Fully Dressed,” “Chorus Line Medley,” and “Something’s Coming.”  Joe also announced that we will be getting “Bridge Over Troubled Waters” soon too.

 

Associate director Tony Colosimo conducted the warm up session to get the body and the voice ready for the night. Sectionals were next and they concentrated on “Something’s Coming” with the reminder to download the annotated copy of the music from Groupanizer. That was followed by more work using Jamulus with singing “What I Did For Love.” This week’s Jamulus quartet was Tony, Turner Arndt, Jacob Broude, and Doug White

 

 We returned to the small group concept and the singers worked on “Never Fully Dressed.”  A member was invited to sing a section of the song and then others in the group offered positive suggestions.

 

Alan Wile conducted his 17th Harmonizer Hero interview of a member who has submitted his Hero form for publication on our Groupanizer page.  This interview was with Adam Afifi, who has been a Harmonizer for four years. Adam grew up on Savanah, GA, and auditioned to attend Savanah Arts Academy high school where he sang in the boys’ choir as a freshman (he was named most improved singer in that group) and then moved to the mixed choir for the remaining three years.  The school had a strong music program and Adam got to sing at Carnegie  Hall and at the Kennedy Center.

 

Adam attributes his musical background to his Mom. He also shared the great experience he had attending a Youth Harmony Camp in high school singing lead in the school’s barbershop quartet. The guys in that quartet actually were invited to sing in the BHS collegiate contest when they were in colleges in the Savanah area.  They sang in both 2014 and 2015,  In 2015, Adam sang with the Carolina Vocal Express chorus at the International too, and that is where he met former Harmonizer, John Adams

 

For college Adam enrolled at Savanah College of Art and Design which set him up for his career in service design. Currently he works for Booz Allen Hamilton here in the DC area.

 

After the interview,  Joe invited the members to listen to the finale of Kevin Keller’s keynote address from the Midwinter. We opened the mics and shared thoughts regarding his talk.

 

Our next  Harmonizer Tuesday meeting will be via Zoom again at 7 pm on Feb. 9th , 2021. 

 

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 for the great things going on each week during the 72nd year of the Alexandria Harmonizer Chapter. - YeEd)

 

Thursday, January 28, 2021

Looking Back on the Jan. 26th 2021 Virtual Chapter Meeting

 Looking Back on the Jan. 26th  2021 Virtual Chapter Meeting

 

A good number of Harmonizers joined the Zoom meeting again this week. 

 

Director Joe Cerutti launched this week’s gathering and updated the chapter on a number of issues.

 

The big news was that the BHS had cancelled the chorus contest for the 2021 International convention in Cleveland in July. That changes some of our chapter goals for the months ahead.

There is still no definite word as to how the quartet contest or other convention events will be held.

 

Joe was also happy to report that there is now sheet music on Groupanizer for “Something’s Coming” – there were some changes so that we could legally provide it to the singers.  It is important that everyone get a copy to study.  It is the final source when there are questions about notes and words. 

 

The music team has been announcing that there will be a change in the chapter’s culture for members submitting self- recordings – a system so musical leaders can determine how the members are doing.  The team is behind in providing some aspects of the plan, but you can continue to work and can plan that the recordings will be expected in this order: “Help from My Friends,” “ Never Fully Dressed,” “Chorus Line Medley, “ and “Something’s Coming.”

 

Joe has conducted private interviews with 48 men so far using Zoom. If any member has not gotten an assignment or wants to be added to the list, contact Terry Reynolds

 

If anyone has a suggestion for a guest speaker, or wants to do a presentation themselves, also tell Terry.

 

Associate director Tony Colosimo conducted a warm up session and used an exercise to improve rhythm. Sectionals were next and they concentrated on “Something’s Coming.” That was followed by more work using Jamulus with singing “What I Did For Love.”

 

 We returned to the small group concept and the singers worked on “Never Fully Dressed.”  A member was invited to sing a section of the song and then others in the group offered positive suggestions.

 

Those same small groups were given time to discuss what the musical work plan should be considering the chorus contest was cancelled and that there is a strong possibility we won’t have an in-person fall show.  Each group reported good ideas and the music team recorded the great suggestions!

 

The only business meeting item was a request from president Stan Quick for more nominations for this year’s chapter awards.  He sent an email explaining the request earlier in the evening.

 

Guest for the night was Alan Gordon, a singing judge, gold medal baritone of GOTCHA and  MASTERPIECE and interim director of the Masters of Harmony.  He is the chairman of the singing category for BHS too. His presentation helped explain the judging category using examples of groups who excel in one of the category’s main elements: for vocal quality he shared The Kings Singers and VOCAL SPECTRUM; for intonation and unity he shared CROSSROADS; for expansion he shared FOREFRONT; for vocal expression he shared Ella Fitzgerald, Randy Chisholm in MARQUIS, and James Blunt.

 

A summary of his comments might be “we sing so we can move people vocally, visually and musically.

 

Our next  Harmonizer Tuesday meeting will be via Zoom again at 7 pm on Feb. 2nd , 2021. 

 

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 for the great things going on each week during the 72nd year of the Alexandria Harmonizer Chapter. - YeEd)

 

Friday, January 22, 2021

Looking Back on the Jan. 19th 2021 Virtual Chapter Meeting

 Looking Back on the Jan. 19th  2021 Virtual Chapter Meeting

 

It was great to see a number of guys back with us on this week’s call.

 

Director Joe Cerutti used a couple minutes to review the music team rollout of plans for 2021 that he had announced last week. The highlights are (1) it is our objective to be ready with some music for a show when the pandemic ends; and (2) reinforce the culture of self-recording to turn in so music leaders have feedback on how members are doing. A summary of the plan was released by music team admin support Terry Reynolds.  Joe did announce that a new song to be added to the list for next year, that he didn’t mention last week, will be “Bridge Over Trouble Waters.”

 

The music team goal is to help guys gets their voices back and for the chorus to work on some music so that when we get clearance, we can sing together and do a show. 

 

Also the music team’s experiment using Jamulus software was a success last week.  Joe says we will continue to use it more and more and that all guys should consider using it.  In fact, at the end of this week’s meeting, associate director Tony Colosimo will host a chat session about Jamulus.  For sure, anyone interested in using the new app should tell Tony.  Joe suggests that if cost is a factor for a member, he should also speak to Joe or Tony.

 

This week’s guest speaker, Alan Gordan, had to cancel and will be with us next week.  By the way, Joe and Terryinvite suggestions for other guest speakers, or topics, or members who could do an elective.  

 

Tony Colosimo conducted a lengthy warm up session.

 

Then Joe managed a chorus work session on “Never Fully Dressed without a Song” singing along with Jason Leesinging baritone. The work concentrated on the dynamic plan previously released. As a reminder, our new dynamic scale is based on a six point scale.

 

Joe, with lots of technical help from Tony, invited our Jamulus Quartet in the chapter – Devin Gerzof, tenor; Tony Colosimo, lead; Jacob Broude, bari; and Turner Arndt, bass – to demonstrate “With a Little Help from My Friends” for guys to sing with them at home. 

 

Sectionals were next and they concentrated on “Something’s Coming.” 

 

Alan Wile conducted the 16th interview of Harmonizer Hero forms submitted by members for inclusion on Groupanizer.  This time he visited with Mike Fasano.

 

Mike is a 25-year barbershopper but only has been a Harmonizer for six years. He grew up in NYC, moved as a school kid to Atlanta  but ended up going to college at UNC Greenville where he studied biology.  His career centered around Armed Forces DNA lab work which means he has helped identify USA military remains missing in action. 

 

He sang barbershop in school and after college, joined the DC chapter in 1996 (his first quartet was with Tony and Bill Colosimo and ­­­­Calvin Schnure who were all DC members then).   Mike got to know several Harmonizers when he served as M-AD youth in harmony chairman. He joined our chapter and was tenor in BACHELOR PARTY with Greg Tepe, Ken Rub and Terry Reynolds

 

During a recent Zoom meeting we learned about Mike’s passion for collecting bottles – especially barber shop bottles. Besides his barbershop interest, he has been active in Scouting.  He earned an Eagle rank and today is assistant Scout Master to help his son experience the program.

 

No major new items were announced during the brief chapter business meeting.

 

At this point, the meeting adjourned to a breakout for men to learn about Jamulus with Tony, or to just chat with other members.

 

Our next  Harmonizer Tuesday meeting will be via Zoom again at 7 pm on Jan. 26th, 2021. Watch for email details. Alan Gordon, singing category specialist for BHS will speak.  He has been with us before.  Alan is currently interim director of the Masters of Harmony.

 

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 for the great things going on each week during the 72nd year of the Alexandria Harmonizer Chapter. - YeEd)

 

Sunday, January 17, 2021

 Looking Back on the 2020 Harmonizer Events and Milestones

We began our 2020 year with the Presidents’ Award Banquet and board installation on February 1st  at Lee Center in Alexandria.   The banquet was the 46th such event. Over 120 of the Harmonizer family attended the tasty buffet banquet catered by Maggiano’s.   

 

The 2019 chapter president Shawn Tallant served as master of ceremonies for the annual event to celebrate achievements for the past year, honor some of those who helped make them possible, and install the 2020 officers and board. 

 

To continue a tradition begun at the first banquet, each member presented a rose to his significant other as we sang “Let Me Call You Sweetheart.”

 

The chapter invited Bob Eckman, M-AD president and his wife Maggie, to install a 2020 board: president – Stan Quick, secretary – Chris Buechler, treasurer – Al Herman, members-at-large – Clyde Crusenberry, Ben Watsky, and Frank Shipp, and immediate past president – Shawn Tallant.

 

Leaders of the sister corporation, AH Inc, were also introduced at the banquet including president –  Bruce Roehm; secretary – Bob Faherty; treasurer –  Terry Reynolds;  board members – Chuck HunterDave Kohls, and Marie Muscella


Currently the day-to-day operation of the chapter has been moved from the duties of the BHS Chapter Board of Directors and given to an operations team composed of directors with various responsibilities.  The “Ops Team” for 2020 was recognized:


Executive Director: Randall Eliason, Music/Artistic Director: Joe Cerutti, Jr., Finance Director AH Inc: Carl Kauffmann, Finance Director BHS: Dave Welter, Volunteers Director:  Robyn Murane, Communications Director:     Steve Murane, Contest Director: Nick Murane, Education Director: Sheryl Berlin, Development Director: Nick Leiserson,  Membership Director: Jacob Broude,  Shows Director: Joe Cerutti, Sr., Operations Director: Gary Cregan, and Historian: Jack Pitzer.


Musical leaders are Joe Cerutti, artist director; Tony Colosimo, associate director; Terry Reynolds, Mike Kelly, andChuck Hunter, assistant directors; plus section leaders, Brian Ammerman for tenors, Reed Livergood for leads, Jason Lee for baritones, and Ryan Mextorf for basses. 


Midwinter

 

Two Harmonizer quartets competed in the senior quartet contest at the 2020 BHS Midwinter Convention in Jacksonville, FL. SILVER ALERT with Rick Savage, Mike Edison, Will Cox and Steve Murane and PERSUASION with Mike Kelly represented our chapter.  Ross Johnson and his wife Susan Williams were one of the sponsors for the NextGen Youth Chorus Contest at that event. 

 

Whiffenpoofs 

 

On Friday, February 7th, the chapter presented The Yale Whiffenpoofs – nationally known as the oldest collegiate a cappella group.  The chorus sang several songs before the guests sang. The show was in the auditorium of George Washington Masonic National Memorial in Alexandria and the audience filled the hall.

 

Singing Valentines 

 

The Singing Valentines program continued the practice of sending quartets to make free Valentine appearances in Alexandria, in the Del Ray region, and in other Northern Virginia locations such as at senior centers, adult recreation centers, and restaurants, as well as for the Mayor of Alexandria. Three quartets made appearances as assigned by the chapter for public relations and community relations efforts.


Covid 19 Hit the Chapter


March 10th was our last face-to-face chapter meeting at the Scottish Rite Temple after the government declared changes needed to be made for groups.  


Covid took two of our members – Brian Miller, an early DC area resident to die from the virus, and Bob Wachter, a long-time barbershopper in the DC area. 


We began to use Zoom for our chapter meetings on Tuesday nights and were having well over 60 attendees for the first few months.  Attendance leveled off to about 50 as the virus continued to force us to meet virtually.  The chapter board of directors also met via Zoom as did other chapter committees and the very active music team. 


Over the months we had many guests from throughout the world-wide barbershop community including Kevin Keller, David Wright, Cy Wood, Scott Werner, Marty Monson, Tim Waurick, Darryl Flinn, Tony DeRosa, Clay Hine, Chad Bennett, Sheryl Berlin, Cindy Hansen Ellis, Steve Tramack, Charlotte Murray, Alexander Koller, Steve Armstrong, Mark Kettner, Alan Gordon, Dusty Schleier, Brian Lynch, Mo Field, Amelia Charnock, Dustin Guyton, Cay Outerbridge, Quincie Snook, Drew Wheaton, and Alex Morris. We interviewed them; asked them to teach or coach; had them conduct warm ups; asked them to explain a judging category or to teach choreo; or we invited them to share a project they were working on. Several quartet guests visited the chapter too including  VINTAGE MIX, Dr. Tim  Workman and the WORKMAN FAMILY SINGERS, the VON TRAMACK FAMILY SINGERS


Several chapter members, in addition to Joe and Tony, made presentations (we called them electives) during the year to include Steve White, Rick Savage, Jack Pitzer, Adam Afifi, Chris Huber, Joel Golden, Noah Van Gilder, Bruce Roehm, Devin Gerzof, Jason Lee, Randall Eliason, Mike Edison, Ben Watsky, Mike Fasano, Mark Klostermeyer, Tessa Walker, John Sifuentes, Chuck Hunter, Ken Ives, and Rusty Orvick


Some examples of those electives include: “Understanding White Collar Crime,” “Building a Race Car,” “Collecting Barber Shop Bottles,” or “Star Wars the Expanded Universe!” The chapter’s history team did a couple electives sharing the recent collections of historical materials from members and former members. 


One fun activity during each of the weekly Zoom meetings was the different discussion topic.  We were automatically assigned to small groups of five or so where we checked in on each other and then offered our “two-cents” on the topic of the week.  Then each small group reported to the whole chapter. Examples of the topics include: “your favorite Harmonizer memory;” “what’s your go-to barbershop music to listen to;” “what annoys you most;”  “if the chapter was given a million dollars, what should we do with it;” or “describe an ideal rehearsal afterglow.”


During the months of virtual meetings, Alan Wile conducted 15 interviews of members who have filled out a Harmo Hero form for posting on Groupanizer.  These interviews helped us all get to know more about the man who sings with us in the chorus: Chuck Hunter, Frank Shipp, Don Harrington, Alan Wile interviewed by Terry Reynolds, Reed Livergood, Noah Van Gilder, Casey Belzer, Antony Takahashi, Steve White, Sam McFarland, Ken Rub, Ben Watsky, Mick Stamps, Bob Rhome, and Ike Evans.


The chapter joined 30 other choral groups in the DC area to raise monies for the Capital Area Food Bank that was so severely challenged during the Covid. 


Events Cancelled


The following traditional important events for the chapter were cancelled for this year: our Youth Harmony Festival; M-AD Prelims; Southern Division Contest; International Convention in Los Angeles; Fall M-AD Convention; Choral Fellowship in Alexandria; Harmony University in Nashville. 


Spring2ACTion


The Harmonizers participated in the City of Alexandria’s Spring2ACTion in 2020 and netted over $33,000 from fans, family, members, and supporters. Major thanks go to chapter executive director Randall Eliason who made it easy for chapter members and their supporters to donate during that day.  A contest among the chorus sections helped boost sales too and created a lot of fun for the members who stimulated the donations.


Dog Days 


In August, the Harmonizers co-hosted (with the Prince William County Chapter) the annual sing with other local chapters for the 40th annual Dog Days. Each chapter had a representative to share what they had been doing this year. Special guests on the virtual Zoom event included BHS CEO Marty Monson; DOUBLE DATE mixed quartet champs; and the Tramack family quartet from their home in NH. 


Ensembles


Prior to March, our a cappella group, TBD, made several appearances on behalf of the chapter in the DC Metro area.


Holiday Sings 


The Harmonizers were proud to have been chosen along with 14 other choral groups to be on the WETA PBS “Songs of the Season” hour-long show that was aired various times in December.  The 2019 performance of “Gloria” by the Harmonizers was chosen for the show. 


BHS Legacy Quartet Contest


The Society organized a virtual quartet contest among 25 popular quartets that never won the gold medal but everyone thought they should have.


Several quartets 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


Top five placements after two rounds of voting by the audience were 139TH STREET in first; RIPTIDE in second; METROPOLIS in third; CENTER STAGE in fourth; and HARRINGTON BROTHERS in fifth.  


BHS Awards Gala 


The chapter was proud to have been named a finalist is the first-ever BHS Awards Gala that was set to be held at the 2020 International in Los Angeles. The chapter was named a finalist in the Ensemble of the Year category and in the Ambassador of the Year category.  Also named finalist in the Ambassador category was Dr. Joyce Garrett from Alfred Street Baptist Church in Alexandria.  In the end, the Alexandria Harmonizers Chorus was named Ensemble of the Year!


2020 Virtual Holiday Show


This year’s Alexandria Harmonizer holiday show was a huge success.  Virtual and co-presented with Northwest Sound from Bellevue, WA, Chapter, the free event was broadcast on the BHS YouTube Channel and watched around the world. Theme for the show was “Christmas Coast to Coast – a celebration of singing and family!”


The Harmonizers themselves had a watch party that started at 6 pm – about a half hour before the show went live at 6:30 pm EST on Dec. 20th 2020.


The Harmonizers encouraged viewers of the show to donate to TAPS (Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors), a non-profit in VA that provides benefits for the families of service members who were killed in the line of duty.  Leaders of that organization joined us during the watch party too including founder Bonnie Carroll (who joined the call from Alaska). Before the show ended, nearly $5,000 was donated. The Northwest Sound Chapter encouraged donations to Hopelink. 


President Stan Quick shared in the show program that the first decision during the collaboration was that the show would be a gift. No group appearing would make any money. Rather, each chapter selected their charity to support. 


The show was also sponsored by both the Evergreen and the Mid Atlantic Districts of BHS. Evergreen president (former Harmonizer) John Rettenmayer and MAD president (and current Harmonizer) Bob Eckman both brought greetings during the show.


Much appreciation to those who made the show possible because of technology. Mike Kelly and Joel Golden get top billing for their hard work, long hours and technical expertise as Harmonizers.  Director Joe Cerutti, associate director Tony Colosimo, and assistant director Terry Reynolds provided significant musical and administrative leadership to get the chorus ready to do their recordings and to keep the communications flowing. Bruce Roehm, president of AH Inc., and Matt Doniger, chapter communications director, were also on the production team.  That team included an equal number of men from Northwest Sound including their director Ken Potter and their president and emcee on the show, Bill Hickman.  The BHS staff in Nashville provided major project management as well, including promotion to the family of singers we call barbershop.


The two-hour show was truly a holiday variety show with lots of great graphics, photos and videos and glimpses into homes and lives of fellow barbershop singers around the globe. There were youth quartets, mixed quartets, family groups, dads and their kids, small break-out groups from both chapters, top ranking quartets from all barbershop harmony organizations, some comedy with Will Cox doing his traditional “Night Before Christmas” routine, and a greeting from BHS CEO Marty Monson and his family on their front porch after a snow there. 


Our Alexandria chapter was well represented with several groups on the show in addition to the virtual chorus songs by themselves and with the Northwest Sound chorus.  Our own a cappella group, TBD, donned Santa hats, with black masks to film a number outside our chapter meeting place.   RIPTIDE – a rock band, which includes Joe Cerutti Sr., Chris Huber, Kellen Hertz and Joel Golden from the chorus – entertained on the show with “Santa Is Coming to Town.”  

 

Always great to hear BETTER TOGETHER sing for us – perfect for a family show with Tony and Elizabeth Colosimo, and Andrew and Heather Havens singing together. Tony and Andrew also appeared with their relatively new quartet, FIRST TAKE, with Drew Wheaton and Alex Corson


 SILVER ALERT modeled the epidemy of ugly Christmas sweaters and sang about it on the show!  This Harmo quartet includes Rick Savage, Mike Edison, Will Cox, and Steve Murane


When word was out that this show was being planned, the task force was inundated with offers of assistance and ultimately there were 22 groups appearing on the show. Some of the groups have been part of the Harmonizer year of Zoom meetings, some been on our shows, some have come to help with our Youth Harmony event, and some welcomed us for shows in their world. No wonder it was called a “Christmas Coast to Coast – a celebration of singing and family!”


For the history, here are the groups that sang a song on the show: ASTEL FAMILY, BETTER TOGETHER, DOUBLE DATE, FIRST TAKE, GQ, HALO QUARTET, HEAVY MEDAL, IMPACT, MITCHELL FAMILY SINGERS, MOMMA’S BOYS, NORTHWEST MIX, PRATT STREET POWER, THE QUINN-TONES, SILVER ALERT, TBD, VINTAGE MIX, VON TRAMACK FAMILY SINGERS, WORKMAN FAMILY, and SIGNATURE; plus the two men’s choruses – Northwest Sound and the Alexandria Harmonizers.


The Harmonizers couldn’t miss a chance to celebrate the successful virtual holiday show so they invited the men of Northwest Sound in Bellevue, WA, to join in an afterglow via Zoom on December 22nd. A good number of guys from both chapters were present. Both chapters shared responses they had gotten from friends, family and patrons.  Everyone rated the show Five Stars and off-the-chart!  There were folks in the viewing audience from around the world – for sure from Germany, New Zealand, England, and Ireland. As of the start of the afterglow, there had been 3900 views of the show. 


As has been the chapter’s tradition, the Alexandria patrons were given a change to support a Holiday Silent Auction. This year it was “live” online for two weeks prior to the show to start bidding on the 60+ items in the auction. Chaptermembers collected the items. Randall Eliason and Kristin Kelly managed the auction that raised several thousand dollars for the chapter. 


Finale 


In October, the annual election chose the following to serve as board members for the BHS Alexandria Chapter for 2021: president –  Stan Quick; secretary – David DesPortes; treasurer – Al Herman; and members-at-large –  Clyde CrusenberryFrank Shipp, and Devin Gerzof. No immediate past president was elected. Members recognized Chris Buechler for his 25+ years as secretary for the chapter.  


Membership at the end of the year was 173. Jerry Kindred, Brian Miller and Bob Wachter were added to the Memorial Roll this year.  Other former members who died during the year were Gary Smith and Michael Riordan.  


Until next time – editorjack!


(This message is prepared for your review as a historical record of the great things that happened during the 72nd year of the Alexandria Harmonizer Chapter. —YeEd