Thursday, March 18, 2021

Looking Back on the March 16th 2021 Virtual Chapter Meeting

 Looking Back on the March 16th 2021 Virtual Chapter Meeting


This week’s virtual meeting started off with informal discussion about the cancellation of the International convention in Cleveland in July, 2021.


At 7 pm, artistic director Joe Cerutti started the meeting and was eager thank all those members who submitted their recordings of “Help from My Friends” by the deadline this past Sunday.  The music committee is willing to except more recordings but would like them before Mar. 21st. These recordings were the first step in a Harmonizer goal to create a tradition of self-recordings for all songs.  Joe stressed again that this is a new custom for us – not like the old days when recordings were used to qualify a singer for the contest!


Joe also reminded the chorus that the next song to submit is “Chorus Line” and that will be followed by self-recording  of “Never Fully Dressed.” Links needed to do these are on Groupanizer – a director to watch, tracks to listen to, and instructions on how to submit.


Everyone can help create this new culture for the chapter.


Joe reports that chapter leaders will take the suggestion of members and create a Google Doc to announce the links and plans for the weekly Zoom meetings.  Music team administrator Terry Reynolds will continue to send out the weekly email too.


Associate director Tony Colosimo did warm ups again this week and had rigged sound absorbent materials as his “background.” 


Joe worked with a quartet on Jamulus for “Oh What a Beautiful Morning.”  This week’s quartet was Rick Savage, Mike Edison, Jacob Broude, and Steve Murane, but all other members were encouraged to sing on Zoom. Joecoached the quartet with the understanding that chorus members would take note and apply his coaching to their work. 


Next there were sectionals on that same song, and then the Jamulus quartet demonstrated work for “Something’s Coming.” 


Small groups were formed to work on “Bridge Over Trouble Water.” Music team hosts for each of those groups called for volunteers to sing a part of the song and invited others in the group to offer positive comments on specific points like intonation, words, facials.


Alan Wile conducted another interview of a member who has submitted his Harmonizer Hero bio for inclusion on Groupanizer.  This was the 20th interview and helped us meet and learn more about Turner Arndt who joined the chapter about four years ago.  He was raised in Fairfax County and graduated from Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology.  He went on to college at the University of Alabama earning his BS and MS degrees there in civil engineering.


His music background started as an alto sax player in high school and in the university’s famous marching band.  Often the bandsmen were asked to sing their parts while practicing their marching routines, and some friends in the band heard Turner sing and suggested he should come with them to sing with the Crimson Pride barbershop chorus of the Tuscaloosa Chapter. 


After he finished college, he returned to NoVA for his job at the same place where he had done internships – an engineering firm for mechanical, electrical and plumbing.  He knew of our chorus (having had Joe as a chorus coach in AL), joined our chapter, and earned his spot on our risers right away.


Turner lived with his parents until recently when he bought his condo. He keeps busy with lots of outdoor activities.  He is a frequent hiker in the mountains to our west.  He rowed in school and now volunteers as coach for the crew team at TJ. He likes exploring and traveling and is quickly building up his record of visiting all states.  His next destination is Alaska. And he likes to cook and especially likes to bake bread. (We have seen him in the kitchen on early Zoom sessions!)


Turner has earned an Eagle Scout status and is one of the new younger leaders in the chapter.


Communications chairman Matt Doniger conducted a brief business meeting for this week. 

Membership chairman Jacob Broude announced plans to resume social events for the Harmonizers including a beer tasting event via Zoom with Kellen Hertz.


Jacob also offered to get new name tags for anyone who needs one – planning ahead for our regathering!! Contact him by Fri. March 19th if you have lost yours during this Covid era, or have changed parts, or are new to the chapter.


Executive director Randall Eliason announced that the 2021 Spring2ACTION will be April 28th.  This is a one-day-of-giving-support for nonprofit arts groups in Alexandria.  Randall alerts us that there will be sectional competition again this year. This is one of our chapter’s largest income sources.


Then Joe reported outtakes from the 95 personal 30-minute interviews he conducted with all members – singers and non-active singers.  He was most eager to share that of the 95 (that includes the many men who can’t make the Zoom meetings for whatever reason), only one man is planning to move on to some other singing. Joe also interviewed the community board members on the AH Inc. board.


He thanked Terry for his faithful support for every interview and also Joe thanked the section leaders who joined interviews of men in their section.


The results of the interviews provided many suggestions for the music team and for the chapter leaders.  Already some changes have been implemented based on input from chapter members.  Work is underway already on how to restart chorus operations when possible. We are seeing some changes in the format of the Zoom calls already. 


As Joe presented major points he collected, he stressed that many of the ideas would need a committee or team to implement. Guys were encouraged to step up and offer to help if they are interested in any of them.  One major change is the plan to add a Director of Community Engagement to our Ops team. 


Finally, one major note from the process reports that some men find the weekly Zoom an important key to their social and person pleasures.  And that means they appreciate all the guys getting on the calls and participating.  Joe too shared that he was proud to have done the interviews and that he felt he was better able to provide leadership having talked and visited with each man.


Our next  Harmonizer Tuesday meeting will be via Zoom again at 7 pm on March 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)