Weekly Update – January 7, 2019

Happy New Year!

Two Presidential Award Winners. Honored at our annual Recognition and Award Banquet Saturday, Jan 5 are Valerie and Lee Freie. Valerie was recognized for her exceptional service on the Gospel Concert Committee and her work on the Spring Show Afterglow. Lee was recognized for his outstanding community service in the Cedar Rapids Area.

The chorus kicked off the new year with our annual Recognition & Awards Banquet Saturday night at the Cedar Rapids Country Club. We need to thank Bill Moss for making this amazing venue available to us. The chorus and the wives attending enjoyed a great meal, outstanding service, a little singing, fun and fellowship. Greg Koenigs served as MC for the evening.

In the highlight of the evening, Greg was also awarded 2018 Barbershopper of the Year. Wendell Aldrich made the presentation and offered a detailed biography of Greg in addition to citing him for the his many outstanding contributions to the chorus over the past year.

In addition to BSOY, two President’s Awards were made. Lee Freie was honored the Presidential Award for Community Service, an award revived this year. Lee has been active in a long list of community associations as volunteer, board member and elective office holder.

Also honored for her service to the chorus was Valerie Freie, for her work on the Gospel Concert Committee and hosting our Afterglow following the 2018 Spring Show. Val is one of many of our spouses and significant others who support is essential to what the chorus is able to do.

Gary Lindsay, who completed his third consecutive term as chorus president spoke briefly, and the text of those remarks follow later on for anyone who missed the event and might be interested.

Rehearsal plan for Thursday, Jan. 10

  • 6:30 Bohemian Red – Hard Days Night
  • 7:00 Warmup; 7:15 Rehearsal
    • Isn’t She Lovely
    • Down On the Corner
    • Valentines Day songs
      • Hello, Mary Lou (for men and macho women change name to recipient’s)
      • Let Me Call You Sweetheart
  • 8:00 Business & Break
  • Quartet or VLQ to sing
  • 8:20 Daddy Sang Bass
  • I Wanna Hold Your Hand
  • 8:50 Perform two songs
    • Down on the Corner
    • I Wanna Hold Your Hand
  • 9:00 KTHWS

Upcoming Events:

  • Jan. 17 – Rehearsal 
  • Jan. 24 – Rehearsal
  • Jan. 31 – Rehearsal

President’s remarks, Recognition Dinner

Well, this is a smaller group than I spoke to the past three years as president of the chorus. This reflects our chorus numbers that have continued to decline despite our goal last year of adding 10 new members. We added one, very valuable new member in Cliff Newman, who will be introduced and serve as a board member for 2019. We have not given up on our goal to grow, and I decided to step down as president so I could serve as Marketing & PR VP to devote more time to find new ways to get our story out to the community.

A smaller chorus does not mean we are less active.

During the past year we have continued to serve our community in many ways:

  • Providing music and inspiration for many New Citizens Ceremonies
  • Helping to honor heroes at the Salute to Heroes Freedom Festival event
  • Collaborating with other singers and organizations to present our annual Best of Cedar Rapids Gospel Concert and our Spring Show
  • Launching what we hope will be an annual event, a Youth Barbershop Festival
  • Christmas Caroling at Lindale Mall and St. Luke’s Hospitals

In all this we live out our motto: Singing for a lifetime.

By the way, hopefully none of this is news to you and simply the review it was intended to be. I intend to continue to post weekly updates of our activities on our Facebook group page, on our website and via email. If you are a spouse and want to be included in these communications, please contact me and if you are on Facebook, please like Harmony Hawks.

The Barbershop Harmony Society has been working through some changes as they face this membership decline worldwide. Among the changes they are implementing is opening membership to women, opening competition to include mixed men and women quartets and choruses, changing bylaws as necessary, and publishing music for mixed ensembles. We have also done the necessary bylaw review, and we are ready to forward in this area as needed.

Not only does our chorus serve the community, be we also all individually benefit. A recent article identified “6 Psychological and Physical Benefits to Choral Singing.” All documented by medical research they are:

  • Strengthen feelings of togetherness
  • Regulate heart rate
  • Reduce stress levels and depression
  • Improve symptoms of Parkinson’s and lung disease
  • Improve feeling of social well being
  • Increase in life expectancy

Most of us do not need medical studies to recognize these benefits. Personally, the chorus rehearsals and performances I attend are the highlight of my week. I leave them feeling better physically and emotionally, and I have strong bonds with all of you here. What we experience in our chorus is literally what our country needs most. We just need to keep doing what we’re doing and find new ways to get this message out to our community.

Thank you for listening, and for the opportunity these past three years to serve as your chorus president.