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 Reynolds, Steve 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)