Thursday, April 15, 2021

Looking Back on the April 13th 2021 Virtual Chapter Meeting

 Looking Back on the April 13th 2021 Virtual Chapter Meeting


This week’s attendance was nearly 100 with many members and former members and many spouses or partners of members – all present to pay tribute to Sandy StampsSandy was loved by all the members and she shared love and was interested in the lives of every member too. Many shared that she welcomed them to the chapter.  Her fellow officers of the chapter’s auxiliary shared how dedicated she was to their group, how she was tireless in providing support of the chapter, and how she provided solid leadership for years.


Sandy died on Saturday. She had been in Hospice care for a short time.  Her husband and our Harmonizer brother, Mick, was on the call too and told us all, “She was more of a Harmonizer than I am!” He announced that there would be a remembrance service later in the year and he thanked the chapter members and families for their support during the tough past couple years.


Artistic director Joe Cerutti wrote this tribute to Sandy that summarized the thoughts of us all:


“My heart is heavy as we say goodbye to another giant in the Harmonizer family, the amazing Sandy StampsSandyserved as president of our auxiliary support group called the Harmonettes and later the Friends of Harmony for seven terms. She was our longtime manager of White House ornament sales, the perennial manager of front-of-house for Harmonizer shows and was always the first person to share a huge smile and hug after every Harmonizer performance (and a quiet joke if the performance didn't go as expected). 


It's often said after someone's passing how hard they fought their illness, but I've honestly not known anyone fight through something so incredibly difficult with such overwhelming tenacity and positivity. Sandy ALWAYS had a smile on her face. Even during the pandemic, we found ways to visit Sandy and sing for her. Still, she smiled, danced and sang along from a safe distance, making us feel better during a time when we were trying to make her feel better! Sandy was unique in that she could hang with just about any audience, she knew how to react to every situation, and always did it with her unique sense of humor and overwhelming positivity.


Sandy will be deeply missed, but her legacy is a light that will continue to shine brightly with the Alexandria Harmonizers for a very long time.”


Chapter president Stan Quick is accepting comments or notes for Mick and will compile all tributes to give to him.


The weekly chapter meeting moved on to announcements and details about all the musical aspects of the chapter. Joewas very pleased that a good number of members have submitted self-recordings for “Never Fully Dressed” and for “Chorus Line.” We all got a chance to listen to a virtual choir version of the 24 guys who sent in “Chorus Line.”  Joeexpressed his gratitude to Joel Golden who did the technical work to create the chorus sound.  Also there were kudos to Terry Reynolds and the section leaders for their work in helping provide the things guys needed in order to submit their recordings. (The virtual choir rendition is in Groupanizer.)


Plans for this week and next have been adjusted so we could honor Sandy this week.  Members should always check the weekly email message from the music team. 


Associate director Tony Colosimo ended this week’s warm up session with a tag sing of “Lili Marlene.” 


The experiment to have everyone who has gotten connected with Jamulus continued tonight. The Jamulus quartet for this week were Devin Gerzof, tenor; Will Cox, lead; Tony Colosimo, bari; and Steve Murane, bass. Joe coached all singers with particular emphasis about rhythm in “Something’s Coming,” and thanked the 19 men who have made the effort and spent the money to get the necessary equipment.


Alan Wile conducted the 22nd interview of a Harmonizer Hero who has submitted his form for inclusion on Groupanizer.  This week he interviewed Kellen Hertz, a 12-year member, tenor singer, quartet guy, member of TBD the a capella group in the chapter,  and vocalist with RIPTIDE, a rock band that includes other guys from the chapter.


Kellen started singing as a young lad and often was heard singing when he was with his family shopping, at church, on vacation. He moved quickly into chorus or school musical groups in elementary, middle and high school at Thomas Jefferson School for Science and Technology in Fairfax County, VA. 


His college time started at William and Mary where he started work in chemistry.  During time off from school, he found work at Target where he continued to work when he went back to school.  He earned an Associate of Sciences degree from NOVA Community College and subsequently earned a Bachelor’s in Biology with minors in chemistry and astronomy from the University of Virginia. 


After graduation he became a pharmacy team leader at Target then when CVS bought Target’s Healthcare Division, he became a lead pharmacy technician for CVS.  Just last month he took a position at INOVA’s new specialty pharmacy at the Schar Cancer Institute in Fairfax.  


Kellen says his parents took him to hear the chorus when he was little, then one December he found himself at Inova Hospital for our holiday sing.  But it was later when  Harmonizer Kyle Blomgren, who was singing in a community college choir with Kellen,  pushed and pushed until Kellen didn’t have another excuse why he couldn’t come to a Tuesday meeting. Kellen was hooked that first night. He recalls the fun he had at the chapter afterglow at Southside.


Kellen was a member of our CAPITAL FORCE youth chorus and competed with them at Midwinter.  This led to his first quartet, MONORAIL FOUR, who won the Southern Division and went on to take 10th place at the M-AD contest in the fall. 


Last weekend, Kellen was guest host on a chapter Zoom session to learn and discuss craft beers which is his hobby these days. It was well attended and was fun for all.  The event was organized by membership director Jacob Broude.  A menu of beers to be discussed was announced in advance and those who wanted to taste as well as discuss were able to get them for themselves from Aslin Brewery in Alexandria on Pickett. Ten members and a couple partners were on the call. Kellen was very knowledgeable about the craft beer process, varieties of tastes and flavors, and helped all those on Zoom experience a fun time.


This was the second of the social sessions organized for Harmonizers.  A third session will be held for poker players – watch for info from chapter leaders.


Communications director Matt Doniger conducted this week’s business session.  Randall Eliason reported that the push has started to get major donations for our chapter during the City of Alexandria’s spring2ACTion on April 28th. In fact he sent the first email blast to all members after the meeting. Note that early donors will have their contributions matched! Our chapter’s goal for the one-day event is to raise $30,000. 


There will be competition again this year between the four chorus sections. Sectional team leaders will be Doug Whitefor tenors, Noah Van Gilder for leads, Frank Shipp for baritones, and Matt Doniger for basses. 


Our Harmonizer “power hour” when we want the most donors (there are prizes for the group who has the most) will be 3-4 pm on 4/28. Also on that day there will be a Zoom happy hour and it will be open to friends and family and donors.


In other chapter news, several Harmonizers, partners and friends attended the burial for John Adam’s wife, Jean, at Arlington Cemetery on April 9th.


Ken Ives has sent  a reminder to members about using scrip to help the chapter raise money. For complete instructions on how to use scrip, go to Groupanizer Documents folder.


Our guest speaker this week was Brandon Guyton who has coached our chorus a few times.  He earned gold medals as a baritone for FOUR VOICES and CROSSROADS. He spoke on “How to be a GREAT baritone.”


He began his comments with the assurance that the presence of expansion in the hallmark of our style – providing an effect that is greater than the sum of the individual voices.


Then Brandon offered Five Pillars of the Baritone Dogma.


First, be the most consistently resonant and overtone/ring producing voice in the ensemble.


Second, know they voice – boundaries, lift,, vibrato. Must learn to make the voice pliable. 


Third, know thy lead and bass voices – so you can adjust.


Fourth, know they math – fifth, third, louder, etc.


Fifth, sing actively not passionately. Make the music, not sing the music.


He made it all make sense and we all had fun with him.


Our next  Harmonizer Tuesday meeting will be via Zoom again at 7 pm on April 20th, 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)