Since my last post I’ve been a busy boy. I really enjoyed my visit to the Alexandria Harmonizers and walking around Old Town Alexandria. My host was very gracious and allowed me to stay two nights. I stayed Tuesday and Wednesday nights (April 22nd & 23rd) in Oxon, which is just outside of Alexandria. I headed to Annapolis to visit The Sons of the Severn Chorus on Thursday, April 25th.
I didn’t have a confirmed place to stay that night but I really wanted to see Annapolis so I headed out and spent the day wondering the streets. The “Sons” were warm & welcoming and before the rehearsal was over one of the men offered to let me stay with him. He lives in Bethesda, MD about 50 minutes from Annapolis. He and his wife (Marge) also allowed me to stay two nights and offered to let me stay longer if I needed to. They are wonderful people and were very kind to me.
On Friday morning Marge offered to take me to the subway station so that I could go into DC for the day. I took the red line and spent the day on the mall. It was crowded with lots of buses and kids running every where.
On Saturday morning, April 26th, I left Bethesda and headed to Louisa, Virginia to attend a performance of “Soundworks” at the Louisa Arts Center. It took about two hours to drive down. I stopped at a McDonalds on the way and googled “Hotels in Louisa, Va”. There were no hotels in Louisa so I checked to see if they might have a Bed & Breakfast. I found a place called The Whistle Stop. You would never be able to guess why it was called “Whistle Stop”. That’s right, it was at an intersection where a train passed by. The whistle sounded around 11:30 pm and then again around 5:20 am. The train came within about 50 yards of the house. Lying in bed I could feel the vibration of the tracks.
At breakfast on Sunday morning I met three sisters. Tori was the sister who lived there in Louisa. She was receiving her 10 year chip from A.A. Her sisters Teri and Tami had come to support her and celebrate with her. Her daughter Becky was also there at the breakfast table. I really enjoyed meeting them and chatting with them over breakfast. They were delightfully interesting.
That afternoon I drove to Penns Grove, NJ and stayed at a Comfort Inn. On Monday night, April 28th, I attended the rehearsal for The Chorus of the Brandywine in Wilmington, Delaware. After the rehearsal I followed my host to his home in Newark, Delaware. I really enjoyed meeting Neil and his sweetheart Dottie. I stayed with them Monday and Tuesday nights. Neil is a dual member of both the Chorus of the Brandywine in Wilmington, DE and the Chorus of the Chesapeake in Dundalk, MD. I was pleased to learn that the Dundalk chorus was going on a secret bus ride Tuesday evening to visit another chorus. It turned out that they visited “The Peninsulaires” in Salsibury, MD.
On the bus ride to Salisbury one of the guys got to talking with me about attending a rehearsal of The Brothers in Harmony Chorus in Hamilton Square, NJ. I told him that I was planning to head north to Connecticut and he said that it would be on my way. He made contact with someone from The Brothers and the next morning I received a call from Jeff Winik offering to let me stay at his home. Jeff is in the 2014 Seniors Quartet that won Gold at Mid-winter this year. His quartets name is “Faces 4 Radio”.
I arrived in Kendall Park, NJ at Jeff’s home about 5:00 pm Wednesday, April 30th, and we went to dinner before heading to the rehearsal of the Brothers. It felt a lot like being at a Circle City Sound rehearsal. They had a very similar sound to CCS. Their director has a very different style but it was obvious to me that he had a similar kind of connection to the chorus like Garry has. I really enjoyed their rehearsal and was a little disappointed to find out that they didn’t have an afterglow. Jeff said that they have a lot of guys who travel over an hour to get to rehearsal.
On Thursday, May 1st, I drove up through New York City on my way to Connecticut. I arrived at the home of Dan Fontaine at 5:00 pm. I met Dan in Marlborough, Mass. last September when I attended the NEHB (New England Harmony Brigade). When I met Dan I was really impressed with his voice and his humility. For someone who is so extremely talented and sings so incredibly well he is really down to earth. After meeting his wife, Lena, I couldn’t help but wonder why the dorky looking guys always seem to end up with the beautiful women. He definitely married up.
Honestly, I don’t think that Dan is really dorky looking, he just reminds me of Pee Wee Herman, if you like that kind of look.
Thursday evening Dan and I drove up to Concord, Massachusetts and visited the “Vocal Revolution Chorus”. They were having a coaching session with Erica Spyres. She was working with them on visual presentation. The visual presentation improved the minute she walked into the room.
So this week I visited five different choruses and was also in six different states. Only in the North East could you do that. I found it difficult to remember what state I was in and what day it was. It will be refreshing to be able to sleep in the same bed for the next several days. Dan and Lena have offered to let me stay with them until their son, Bailey, comes home from The School of the Art Institute in Chicago, Illinois.
I should be able to keep things straight in my mind now that I have a home base for awhile. Thank you to Dan and Lena for hosting me and for being so kind!