Looking Back on the Dec. 5th 2021 Harmonizer Holiday Show
The Harmonizer “Hope for the Holidays Concert” was Sunday, Dec. 5th at 2 pm and 6 pm at the Scottish Rite Temple (SRT) in DC on 16th Street. It was a combined event sponsored by the chapter and the Scottish Rite Temple. Tickets were free with an encouraged free-will offering that would be shared by the two organizations.
The 350-seat venue in their building was great with plenty of seating, good views, good sound, and plenty of room for the chorus to dress and prepare for the show. The SRT provided the stage décor and coordinated a reception for patrons and singers following the afternoon show. They also provided valet parking for guests at the shows which was greatly appreciated. Artistic director Joe Cerutti recognized and thanked our friend and former AH Inc. community board member, Paul Dolinsky, for his help in getting the chorus into this venue.
The one-act show went smoothly and was a terrific return to Harmonizer performances for their patrons. The two shows were basically the same – a few personnel changes in ensembles to avoid conflicts.
For both shows, the auditorium was full. The 50-man chorus was dressed in green, red and blue sweatshirts with white scarves. Plus a new addition for this post-Covid show was the red or green masks for the singers! It was a colorful scene for sure when they got onto the risers.
Music team administrator Terry Reynolds kept the chorus well informed prior to their call time. Executive director Randall Eliason arranged for an afterglow at Midlands on Georgia Ave. It was well attended and fun for all.
Volunteers welcomed guests and checked them in and directed them to their seats including Rebecca Connor, Krissi Folsom, Kate Weber and Nate Balke. Operations chairman Gary Cregan reports that he had a good riser crew to help him move in the show sound equipment and risers on Friday with help from Mike Kelly, Dennis Ritchey, Jack Cameron, Terry, and Randall. Gary also reports that chorus members pitched in and made quick work of taking things out to the Harmo truck after the show ended. The tech crew for the show was Mike and Dennis – but when Frank Fedarko got sick, Mike had to fill in for “Do You Hear What I Hear” solos, and Dennis had no voice all weekend and so he managed things (and his quartet gig with Steve White, Reed Livergood and Paul Grimes singing “Little Saint Nick” was left out of the shows).
The show opener was “Trim Up the Tree” from the Grinch Stole Christmas – guys had fun performing this crazy Dr. Seuss song (and Joe was having fun adding crazy sound effects from back stage). Tony welcomed the audience – in short his comments were “thanks for being our audience!”
For “Sleigh Ride” there were sleigh bells again this year provided by Steve White using the set of bells created by his grandfather. Always a great addition to our holiday show. There were also crazy sound effects for “Fa La La” when tenor Donell Torres added the cymbal booms sounds! Joe directed this ensemble of about half of the chorus and clowned up with the audience in reaction to the surprise lyrics from his chorus!
Twice during the show, there was an audience sing along with the accompaniment on the newly installed organ at SRT by organist Adam S. Graham. It was great.
Some of our newer members formed a quartet to sing the “Chipmunk Song” – Donell, Lance Fisher, David Breen and Duncan Peacock. For the second show, Joe and Tony filled in for David and Lance as they had another concert appearance to make. This was a fun spot for the audience too.
Tony directed another ensemble of the other half of the chorus to tease the audience with “Text Me Merry Christmas.” In the middle of this one, Terry, Will Cox and Tony interrupted with texting messages with Santa (Joe).
Solos for “Joy to the World” were performed by David in the afternoon and Jason Lee at night.
“O Holy Night” was a special number with Tony as soloist, Adam at the organ, and Joe and the chorus supporting the music.
For “Ave Maria” Tony and John Sifuentes and Steve White sing the descant at night, and David, Lance and Johnsang it in the afternoon.
Noah Van Gilder explained the special number, “Festival of Lights,” performed by he, Devin Gerzof, Scott Beach, Ike Evans, Turner Arndt and Troy Hillier.
The music team formed an ensemble for the show too – “Peace on Earth/Little Drummer Boy” – including Tony, Brian Ammerman, Jason, Ryan Mextorf, Terry, Tessa Walker, and Ben Watsky, with Joe playing the drum rhythm.
As usual, the musical finale was “Do You Hear What I Hear” with Mike, Devin and Drew Fuller. As in every year’s holiday show, the audience came to their feet for a standing ovation!
Other great songs on the show were “Carol of the Bells,” “Mary Did You Know,” and “Silent Night” and then “We Wish You a Merry Christmas” for the audience. This was the signal when Santa arrived and went among the audience to give candy canes to the children. (Santa’s helper was Joe Cerutti, Sr.)
Emcee duties were performed by Randall and Terry as needed.
Backstage there was space for chorus dressing, eating, resting and storing of uniform parts. Joe recalls that five guys were recognized during warm up as singing for the first time with the Harmonizers – Michael Berkson, Josh Myers, Donell, David and Lance.
The months of hard work by the chorus and the music team yielded a wonderful holiday show.
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)