Friday, January 21, 2022

Looking Back on the Jan. 18th Harmonizer Kick Off for 2022

 Looking Back on the Jan. 18th Harmonizer Kick Off for 2022

The Harmonizers have taken a break from regular chapter meetings after the December holidays and into the first few weeks of January – especially with the increase in Covid cases in our area.  No meeting was held on Jan. 4th or 11th  and then this week’s meeting was planned to be totally virtual. It is our tradition to launch the new year with reports from the music team and artistic director, Joe Cerutti. The session was interspersed with Zoom Polls all evening and attendees could click on their reply and in a few minutes we could see the results.  It was fun.

There was time at the beginning of the meeting to catch up with some members!  We learned that Matt Doniger andRebecca Connor were married Friday, Jan. 16th. Congrats to them from all of us.  Johan Westberg was on the call after a long absence. Some guys reported having had Covid.  And Mike Edison announced that he has formed a new quartet, LONG TIME COMING, and he is the bari.  Tenor is Kris Zinkievich, lead is Kevin McKenzie, and bass is Steve Murane. There were 73 members on the call!

Before digging into next year’s plans, executive director Randall Eliason spoke briefly about the many accomplishments of 2021. Looking Back on the 2021 Harmonizers’ Events and Milestones is being prepared and will be published for everyone by YeEd in a few days.  One of the highlights of Randall’s report was the success of our fundraising efforts during the Covid year.


The new unified chapter board for AH Inc. and the BHS Chapter took office as on Jan. 1st: Noah Van Gilder is president; Dave Kohls, vice president; Devin Gerzof, secretary, Terry Reynolds, treasurer; Joshua Baumgardner,John Greene and Carolyn Griffin, community board members at large; Bruce Roehm, immediate past president and member at large along with Frank Shipp, member at large. Noah spoke on behalf of the board and highlighted a few things to look out for in 2022 including the announcement of no chapter dues effective Jan. 1st; our chapter’s goal of participation in BHS contests and conventions; and the chapter’s plan to hire a general manager to help coordinate fund raising and marketing – the job description is already being circulated.


Joe then launched his report on actions he and the music team, in concert with the administrative team, have taken or will take to make our organization sustainable in these changing times.


The ’22 artistic team:  Joe Cerutti as artistic director; Tony Colosimo as associate director; Terry Reynolds as assistant director; section leaders – tenor TBD, Tessa Walker, Ben Watsky and Lance Fisher – lead, Jason Lee – bari,Ryan Mextorf and David Breen – bass.  Turner Arndt will fill a new position as visual leader. 


Joe expressed his appreciation and the appreciation of the chapter to Brian Ammerman, retiring tenor section leader, and to Jacob Broude, retiring bari assistant section leader.  

The chapter admin team has also been at work coordinating the sixth annual member interview process – each member is interviewed by the section leader and/or Joe who talks to all the new men who have joined this year and the section leaders. All members were asked to reply to a survey about their thoughts and intentions of participation in advance.

Singers have been asked to work on several segments of songs the chorus was working on for possible contest or show appearances.  Everyone has their fingers crossed that the 2022 International convention will be held in Charlotte, NC, in July 2022. Our next contest package will be “O What a Beautiful Morning” and “42nd Street.”  Music for the next year will continue to be listed on Groupanizer. 

Coaches for ’22 will include Steve Scott on March 15thCy Wood during the year, plus David Wright and Kevin Keller who arranged our contest songs. 

Joe announced the following dates and events for 2022 calendars:

Week of March 13 – a Whiffenpoof show

March 25-26 – possible Southern Division contest/convention – location TBD, The chorus will not compete.

Sat. April 9 – Rappahannock VA Show – there will be a chartered bus – time line is from. Noon til Midnight.

June 3-5 – annual pre-contest retreat – location TBD

June 23 – extra Thursday rehearsal

June 28 – send-off performance event before Charlotte, NC, contest

June 30 – extra Thursday rehearsal

July 5-9 – International convention and contests in Charlotte, NC – singers should arrive on Tues the 5th, we would sing on Fri the 8th  

Sept 10 – possible fall show at Schlesinger

Oct 7-8 – fall  Mid-Atlantic District convention and contests – Lancaster, PA

Week of Nov 2 – possible appearance at National Association for Music Education at National   Harbor

Dec 9 – possible holiday show at Schlesinger – stay tuned for a possible additional holiday show in DC too


Associate director Tony presented a major report on how the music and singing portions of our meetings in ’22 will be conducted.  It is based on a continuation of a fairly successful format that was started prior to Covid.  The musical leaders assessed what worked well and plan to capture those points as well as adjust others.  The goal is to bolster the sustainability of our organization as an intergenerational chorus, and operate within the capacity of the music team and the members. 


Some of the “what worked” points included shorter rehearsals, small groups singing, rehearsing to perform, and individual feedback. Some of the retooling will include more whole group singing, monitor listener/singer workloads, add objectives to small group singing, and reduce gatekeeping. 


A major thrust of Tony’s wrap up was that we need to dispel the notion that “a good Harmonizer will singing every note, every song” – but take pride in knowing what you won’t sing and when. 


Of course, it is key for singers to keep abreast of the materials provided via Groupanizer, as well as for the members to respond to communications from leaders including keeping personal attendance goals posted on Groupanizer.

In news from outside the chapter, we must record the sad news that our former coach and chapter motivator, Greg Lyne, died recently after a few weeks in home hospice care. Several Harmonizers shared “Greg Stories” during the opening of this week’s meeting.

There were some Harmonizers at the Midwinter BHS Convention in Pasadena, CA, this month. Chuck Hunter was there and provided this report from the center of action:

“Current Harmonizers who were there:  Joe, Terry Reynolds, John Santora (who is treasurer of BHS and on the board of directors), Tom Gannon, and me.  Former members Alan Lamson (who is past BHS president) and Sean Devinewere on hand too.  


Recent Harmonizer coach Steve Scott led some warmups and Steve Tramack served on a judges panel during the event and directed the audience in Clay Hine's song "It's the Music that Brings Us Together."  David Wright was there too and gave a mini-Harmony University (HU) class on his ten favorite tags.  Several of the HU offerings were cancelled because of COVID.


There was a moment of silence Thursday night for Dr. Greg Lyne, who'd passed away earlier that day (making two Society giants to go in less than a week, Burt Szabo having passed a few days earlier).  


Joe was the presenter for the youth festival on Friday, and did a stellar job as always.  He appeared onstage at least once every day as part of his duties as a BHS staff member.


The seniors' champ quartet, ONE FOOT IN THE STAVE, is the first-ever men's winners from the British Association of Barbershop Singer (BABS).  


Many of the headliner groups had to cancel, apart from the Westminster chorus and THE NEWFANGELD FOUR.  On Thursday night, BANK OF HARMONY, a quartet composed of current and former members of the Dapper Dans of Disneyworld, entertained.


There were about 700 registrations, I hear.  It was fantastic to get together for some in-person singing and fellowship.  I had a brief chat with BHS CEO Marty Monson on Saturday afternoon.  


I didn't get to see my folks this time around.  I was with them for Thanksgiving but they didn’t make the drive to Pasadena.” (Chuck)


In the recent Harmonizer magazine, we learned that Chuck, Terry, and Susan Williams and Ross Johnson were sponsors for the Next Generation Barbershop at Midwinter; and that  David Welter and Noah Van Gelder were donors.

During this week’s afterglow period, we discovered that Mick Stamps was visiting with Rick and Peggy Wagner on the patio at their home in Hawaii!! Also, Rick Savage expressed his appreciation for the chorus singing at the memorial service for his wife Linda.

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)