Friday, July 2, 2021

Looking Back on the June 29th 2021 Hybrid Chapter Meeting

      Looking Back on the June 29th 2021 Hybrid Chapter Meeting


The Alexandria Harmonizers continue their in-person chorus rehearsals based on a plan from the chapters reopening committee and the music team.  Invitations were extended to members to attend in order to keep the number of singers controlled based on those who had posted their availability on Groupanizer.  Everyone had to be vaccinated and first-time-back guys had to turn in a signed Covid-19 agreement and waiver form to the chapter  The technical crew worked hard to manage Zoom connection for those who weren’t present. (That meant moving cameras and microphones two or three times during the evening. This week there was a call for four volunteers to help with those moves.) 


Early arrivals at 6:30 assembled in the cafeteria and then at 7 pm the 45 members invited for this week moved to the auditorium for a warm up session with associate director Tony Colosimo. Guys on Zoom were encouraged to join in too – their pictures from the Zoom screen were projected on the wall. Tony’s session included some specific work on breathing, stretching and singing scales.  


Artistic director Joe Cerutti thanked everyone for their patience and flexibility and for updating their attendance plans on Groupanizer. He thanked our tech crew of Mike Kelly and Dennis Ritchey. He also welcomed the dozen or so other members who attended via Zoom. 


Joe reminded everyone about the two events scheduled for the stage area in Fort Ward Park for a rehearsal on Tues. Aug. 10th and then for a mini performance for friends and family on Tues. Aug. 24th. This event may include some food and fellowship.  Fort Ward is at 4301 W. Braddock Rd., Alexandria VA 22304.


He announced that tonight is the 73rd anniversary of the Charter Night of the Alexandria Harmonizer Chapter.  Later in the evening there was a short program piece about our first Charter Night. 


Joe reported details that are known at this time for the internment of Bob Wachter at Arlington National Cemetery on July 21st at 12:45 pm.  The Harmonizers will sing “I’ll Be Seeing You”(Our 1995 gold medal ballad.). The Fairfax Chapter will sing a song as will the Harmony Heritage Singers.  All barbershoppers will join together to sing “Irish Blessing.” All Harmonizer members – current and former – are welcome to sing.  At some point there will need for a count – stay tuned.


Here are the chapter’s plans for participation in the M-AD convention Oct. 1-2 in Lancaster, PA.  The Harmonizers will attend and sing and celebrate.  This is not a qualification for going to International next summer. President Stan Quick suggested that everyone who can go should make room reservations ASAP – refunds can be obtained if plans change. Look for the link from Stan.


Since it is the end of the month, there is a survey for all members to take online.  Please submit it so you can provide feedback to the musical and administrative chapter leaders. The link to the survey was sent to members Tuesday evening.


The chapter is still planning for a fall show on Sept. 11th at Schlesinger.  In preparation for that, our visual coach, Cy Wood, will be with us on July 20th and August 31st for some staging and showmanship help for our songs. 


Tomorrow starts the virtual 2021 International Convention.  It is really fun.  (YeEd is on the campus and meeting and chatting with folks from around the world as he prepares this report.) There is a Harmonizer room and a M-AD room to check out.  On the Saturday night show, our combined virtual performance of “Stars and Stripes Forever” with the Masters of Harmony will be presented.


Big news of the night from Joe was word that Z-TV will be with us next Tuesday night at Scottish Rite Temple and run a live session with the chapter from 7-7:20 pm to their viewers.  Thus members should plan to arrive early so warm ups can begin at 6:30. Also please wear the black Harmo camp shirt, or any plain black short sleeve shirt or rolled up sleeves of a long sleeve shirt. 


Note that music for a new song, “Remember Me” is on Groupanizer, and as usual the music team asks singers to bring a copy of their music on Tuesday night so they can make notes.


Joe and Tony and the section leaders worked thru the evening on our new music – some run- throughs, some work on specific spots such as for rhythm, sectionals (this week a member in each section posted their sectional on Facebook Live for the  Zoom attendees and see and hear!).


Tony used a 10-minute slot to work on pitch management and introduced a pitch contest for next week!


Alan Wile conducted another interview – this week with Jack Pitzer, chapter history team chairman.  The topic was Celebrating Our Chapter’s Charter Night on June 29th, 1948!  They discussed the 19 men who signed the charter that was presented to us by the DC Chapter of SPEBSQSA, our sponsor! It has been said that was the only night all members of the chapter were present! Society co-found O C Cash also signed our charter.  It was the start of some great harmony, fellowship and community service.


A very brief business meeting was held this week and president Stan thanked the guys who have agreed to serve as a nominating committee – Steve White, chairman; Steve Murane, Noah Van Gilder, Devin Gerzof, and Dave Kohls.  


Stan also thanked Carl Kauffmann, Chuck Hunter, Jim Kirkland, and Terry Reynolds who traveled to Owings, Maryland, on Saturday to help celebrate the 100th birthday of Rose Hoffman, one of the Harmonizers biggest and perhaps our oldest fan. Kerri, Rose’s daughter-in-law, warned the quartet that Rose has dementia and may not know what is going on, but she hoped that she would respond to Barbershop. Kerri was right. Rose lit up when Kerri told her the Harmonizers had come to wish her a happy birthday. They sang  “Happy Birthday,” “Let Me Call You Sweetheart,” and “Never Fully Dressed.” Rose smiled and moved through the whole performance and mouthed every word of “Let Me Call You Sweetheart.” Rose’s son, Keith, believes she has been attending Harmonizer shows for nearly 50 years.


Chapter Secretary David DesPortes presented membership renewal cards to Dylan Smith for 3 years; Mikey Robertson (now a bass singer) for 6 years; Stan Quick for 9 years; Drew Fuller for 31 years; Ike Evans for 33 years; and Rick Savage for 46y years.


The evening ended with a Joe’s invitation to the HarmoHouse for an afterglow at 3916 N. Stevens St. in Alexandria. Then there were little reminder notes passed out to all attendees with the main announcements given tonight and the calendar dates mentioned above. And finally the chorus sang “I’ll Be Seeing You” as a review and to wrap up a busy Harmonizer meeting night.


Our next  Harmonizer Tuesday meeting will be a hybrid session beginning at 6:30 pm on July 6th, 2021 at SRT following guidelines prescribed by the chapter leadership and per invitation. Note this time change in order to be ready for the Z-TV interview session.


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 73rd year of the Alexandria Harmonizer Chapter. - YeEd)