Heartland Men’s Chorus Announces 2014-2015 Season

Heartland Men's ChorusHeartland Men’s Chorus has announced its 29th season, the first under the artistic leadership of Dustin S. Cates. Cates was chosen as artistic director after a national search earlier this year, and guest conducted the chorus during the spring 2014 program I Am Harvey Milk.

The season will begin with the holiday concert, Kansas City Christmas, December 5-7, 2014. The program will highlight local holiday traditions, as well as local musicians. Five Kansas City area composers, including Eugene Butler, Jake Navarud and Mark Hayes, will create new arrangements for the chorus.

More than 3,000 audience members join the chorus for its holiday program due to its mix of traditional music and outrageous humor. This season’s offering will follow the same proven format, with well-known carols (“Lo, How a Rose E’er Blooming,” “I’ll Be Home for Christmas”) and some holiday hijinks courtesy of cast members from Kansas City’s Late Night Theatre.

March 28 and 29, 2015, the group presents Modern Families. The chorus has achieved critical and popular success with previous “musical documentaries,” combining music, narration and multi-media to illuminate a timely social issue. The changing face of American families was an issue close to Cates’s heart. He and his partner Raymond Cattaneo became parents to a son, Emmaus, born in 2011.

“The two most important aspects of my life are my family and music making,” said Cates.  “When working to create a series of meaningful, diverse and entertaining concerts for HMC’s 29th season exploring the power, dignity and love of families in all forms was a natural starting point.”

Lawrence Children’s Choir will join HMC for the concert, which includes such varied offerings as “Not My Father’s Son” from the Broadway musical Kinky Boots, an encore performance of the popular song “In My Mother’s Eyes,” and Andrea Ramsey’s “Luminescence,” a song written to commemorate the birth of Cates’s son.

The chorus closes the season with A Little Bit Wicked June 13-14, 2015, a concert celebrating the music of composer Stephen Schwartz. Currently represented on Broadway with Wicked and Pippin, Schwartz’s catalogue includes the musicals Godspell, The Magic Show and Children of Eden, plus scores for the films Enchanted, Pocahontas, and The Hunchback of Notre Dame.

The program also includes lesser-known Schwarz works, including “Keramos,” Schwartz’s choral setting of a Henry Wadworth Longfellow poem. The finale to the concert will be the Midwest premiere of “Testimony,” a poignant new work inspired by the video testimonials of the “It Gets Better Project.”

Also on tap for the season will be The Big Gay Sing. Part raucous variety show and part audience sing-along, the event is modeled after the wildly popular New York City Gay Men’s Chorus event of the same name. A venue and dates for The Big Gay Sing will be announced later in the year.

The chorus will welcome new members when rehearsals begin on September 2, 2014. Cates expects the group to perform with 130-150 men this season. Heartland Men’s Chorus is Kansas City’s gay men’s chorus, singing out in the Midwest since 1986.

All performances take place at the Folly Theater, 300 West 12th Street, Kansas City, Missouri. Season tickets from $72.00 – $114.00 are available now by phone at (816) 931-3338 and online at http://hmckc.org.

 

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Heartland Men’s Chorus Goes Big with “Vegas, Baby”

Vegas, BabyHeartland Men’s Chorus will bring together guest artists from the worlds of theatre, magic, music and aerial acrobatics for its upcoming concert “Vegas, Baby,” June 13-15, 2014, at the Folly Theater. Audience interest in the concert is expected to be so great, the chorus has added a third performance of the concert’s run, something previously reserved for the group’s holiday performances.

Musical theatre mainstay Anthony Edwards will conduct HMC in musical numbers celebrating the “Rat Pack” era of Las Vegas, as well as music from modern day headliners like Celine Dion and Cher. Edwards was chosen to conduct due to his production expertise, as well as his musicianship.

“Anthony has worked as musical director for virtually every professional theatre in Kansas City,” says Rick Fisher, executive director of HMC. “When we were searching for a guest conductor, his was the only name we considered. With a show of this size and scope, we needed a conductor who could bring out the best of our singers as musicians and integrate all the various production elements to make the concert as spectacular as a Las Vegas extravaganza.”

“Vegas, Baby” will mark the first collaboration between HMC and Quixotic, the Kansas City-based dance and aerial acrobatics troupe. Edwards initiated the collaboration shortly after coming on board to conduct.

“The concert will represent all things Las Vegas, and having Quixotic on the program will allow us to stun the audience with the aerial work that has become so dominant in Las Vegas in the last fifteen years.”

Also joining the chorus is Martin Preston, the only performer granted express permission by the Liberace estate to appear and perform as Liberace. Preston’s act has garnered acclaim in Las Vegas, Atlantic City and internationally. He will perform with the chorus, playing a rhinestone-covered grand piano (complete with Liberace’s trademark candelabra), and wearing a series of costumes based on the original designs worn by Liberace.

“My opening costume has a quarter of a million hand-sewn sequins, beads, and crystals, not to mention over ten pounds of Swarovski rhinestones,” says Preston.

Noted magicians David Sandy and Lance Rich will perform magic as part of the concert, including a series of illusions performed to the accompaniment of “That Old Black Magic” sung by the chorus.

“I wanted to make sure that all of our guests were fully integrated into the show,” says Edwards. “Even when our guests take the stage, the chorus will sing and be part of the action.”

Members of the chorus will also appear as dancers and “showgirls” throughout the performance.

The concert closes the 28th season for Heartland Men’s Chorus, Kansas City’s gay men’s chorus. The group regularly performs with more than 120 singers, and draws the largest audience for choral music in the region.

Heartland Men’s Chorus presents “Vegas, Baby” at 8:00 p.m. June 13 and 14, and 4:00 p.m. on June 15. All performances are at the Folly Theater, 300 W. 12th Street, Kansas City, Mo. Tickets range in price from $15-$40 and are available at http://hmckc.org or by calling 816-931-3338.

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High resolution photos of the chorus may be downloaded at http://hmckc.org/photos.

 

For more information:

General Contact:
Rick Fisher, Executive Director
Heartland Men’s Chorus
(816) 931-3338
hmc@hmckc.org

Marketing Contact:
Tom Lancaster
Kansas City Direct Response Marketing
(816) 471-1120
tom@kcdrm.com

Heartland Men’s Chorus Names Dustin Cates as New Artistic Director

Dustin CatesDustin Cates was announced as the new artistic director of Heartland Men’s Chorus today. Cates will assume the role starting with the 2014-2015 season, the 29th season for the chorus.

A search committee comprised of chorus members, past board chairs, community arts leaders, donors and chorus staff conducted a months-long nationwide search to fill the position.

“Dustin exhibited the best balance of all the many attributes the committee was looking for in an artistic director,” says Keith Wiedenkeller, chair of HMC’s board of directors, who also led the search committee.

“His unique blend of choral musical expertise, programming experience, conducting style, people skills, personal charisma, and passion are a great fit for where the chorus is now, but more importantly, for where we hope to be in the future.”

Cates is currently Director of Choral Activities at Olathe East High School and a member of the music ministry team at United Methodist Church of the Resurrection. He holds a Bachelor of Music Education from the University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory of Music and Dance, and a Master of Science in School Leadership from Baker University. He is a member of the National Association for Music Education (NAME) and American Choral Directors Association (ACDA). He serves on the Alumni Board for the UMKC Conservatory of Music and Dance and is the President-Elect of the Kansas Choral Directors Association (KCDA), a group that awarded him the Kansas Outstanding Young Choral Director Award in 2009.

Cates first worked with Heartland Men’s Chorus this year, as a guest conductor for “I Am Harvey Milk.”

“I am humbled and honored to have been named artistic director of Heartland Men’s Chorus,” says Cates. “Over the past 28 years, it has become clear that HMC plays a vital role in the richness of Kansas City. It is my hope that we can build on our strong history of music-making, service, and advocacy to transform the lives of our singers and our community by spreading a message of inclusivivity, hope, and love.”

Cates will be the fourth artistic director in HMC’s history, following Gina Scaggs Epifano, Reuben Reynolds III, and Dr. Joseph Nadeau.

The chorus will conclude its 2013-2014 season with “Vegas, Baby,” June 13-15 at the Folly Theater, under the leadership of guest conductor Anthony Edwards. The concerts will coincide with the announcement of the 2014-2015 season, the first under the artistic leadership of Mr. Cates.

Proudly singing out in Kansas City since 1986, Heartland Men’s Chorus is a not-for-profit, volunteer chorus of gay and gay-sensitive people who are making a positive cultural contribution to the entire community. HMC performs a varied repertoire of music, including jazz, Broadway, popular and classical works, and regularly performs with more than 130 singers. In recent years, the chorus has become known for its musical documentary format which uses music, narration and multi-media to illustrate issues of social justice. The chorus performs a three concert season at the historic Folly Theater to an annual audience of more than 7,000, and performs dozens of community outreach performances each year throughout the Midwest.

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For more information:

General Contact:
Rick Fisher, Executive Director
Heartland Men’s Chorus
(816) 931.3338
hmc@hmckc.org

Marketing Contact:
Tom Lancaster
Kansas City Direct Response Marketing
(816) 471.1120
tom@kcdrm.com

High-resolution photos of Mr. Cates and Heartland Men’s Chorus are available here: http://hmckc.org/photos/

Two Gay Men’s Choruses Honor Legacy of Harvey Milk

Heartland Men's ChorusTwo gay men’s choruses will come together in performances across Missouri to celebrate the life and legacy of civil rights icon Harvey Milk. Heartland Men’s Chorus and Gateway Men’s Chorus will present “I Am Harvey Milk,” March 29 and 30 at the Folly Theater in Kansas City with additional performances in St. Louis and Columbia, Missouri.

Written by Tony® and Grammy Award® nominated composer Andrew Lippa (Broadway’s “The Wild Party,” “The Addams Family” and “Big Fish”) “I Am Harvey Milk” tells the moving story of Milk’s life from his childhood to his assassination.

Harvey Milk became the first openly gay person to be elected to public office in California when he won a seat on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. Milk served almost 11 months in office and was responsible for passing a stringent gay rights ordinance for the city. On November 27, 1978, Milk and Mayor George Moscone were assassinated by Dan White, another city supervisor who had recently resigned.

Despite his short career in politics, Milk became an icon in San Francisco and a martyr in the gay community. Anne Kronenberg, his final campaign manager, wrote of him: “What set Harvey apart from you or me was that he was a visionary. He imagined a righteous world inside his head and then he set about to create it for real, for all of us.” He was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2009.

Harvey MilkHeartland Men’s Chorus joined five other gay men’s choruses across North America to commission “I Am Harvey Milk” in 2013, thirty-five years after Milk’s assassination.

“It’s not a straight-forward biography,” says HMC’s executive director Rick Fisher. “The songs touch on universal themes including bullying, activism, and the building of community.”

Each chorus will perform brief individual sets with repertoire inspired by Milk’s quote, “You gotta give ‘em hope,” then come together to perform Lippa’s “I Am Harvey Milk.” Joining the 200 chorus members on stage are soprano Sylvia Stoner, tenor Tom Lancaster as Harvey Milk, and Cam Burns as the young Harvey.

The Kansas City performances will be conducted by Dr. Tim Seelig, who conducted the 2013 world premiere production in San Francisco. Milk’s story is entwined with the history of San Francisco as well as the history of the LGBT choral movement: the candlelight vigil on the night of his assignation in 1978 marked the first public performance by the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus.

“This is not a story specific to San Francisco,” says Seelig. “This is about a man who stepped forward and did something remarkable –even though he was not particularly remarkable by most accounts. It is about a man who became a hero and a martyr for what he believed. Composer Andrew Lippa’s goal was that every single person who hears this will somehow resonate with the person who was Harvey Milk and look for the part of Harvey within them.”

Heartland Men’s Chorus and Gateway Men’s Chorus present “I Am Harvey Milk” at 8:00 p.m. Saturday, March 29 and 4:00 p.m. Sunday, March 30 at the Folly Theater, 300 West 12th Street, Kansas City, Mo. Tickets are $15-$40 and can be purchased online at http://hmckc.org or by calling 816-931-3338

The choruses will present an encore performance at 8:00 p.m. Saturday, April 5, at Washington University’s 560 Music Center, 560 Trinity Ave, St Louis, Mo.  Tickets are $25 and can be purchased online at http://www.gmcstl.org.

The choruses will present a free preview performance at 7:00 p.m. Saturday, March 8, at Missouri United Methodist Church, 204 S 9th St, Columbia, Mo. Presented by the University of Missouri LGBTQ Resource Center, the performance is free and open to the public.

Program notes with information on the concert, Milk’s life, political career and assassination are available online at http://hmckc.org/milk.

High resolution photos of the chorus may be downloaded at http://hmckc.org/photos.

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For more information:
General Contact:
Rick Fisher, Executive Director
Heartland Men’s Chorus
(816) 931.3338
hmc@hmckc.org

Marketing Contact:
Tom Lancaster
Kansas City Direct Response Marketing
(816) 471.1120
tom@kcdrm.com

Men’s Choruses Present Free Concert in Columbia, Missouri, Honoring Civil Rights Icon

2013-2014 SeasonTwo gay men’s choruses will come together in Columbia, Missouri, to present a free concert celebrating the life and legacy of civil rights icon Harvey Milk. Heartland Men’s Chorus and Gateway Men’s Chorus will perform at 7:00 p.m. Saturday, March 8, at Missouri United Methodist Church, 204 S 9th St, Columbia, Mo. The concert is presented by the University of Missouri LGBTQ Resource Center and is open to the public.

Harvey Milk became the first openly gay person to be elected to public office in California when he won a seat on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. Milk served almost 11 months in office and was responsible for passing a stringent gay rights ordinance for the city. On November 27, 1978, Milk and Mayor George Moscone were assassinated by Dan White, another city supervisor who had recently resigned.

Despite his short career in politics, Milk became an icon in San Francisco and a martyr in the gay community. He was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2009.

The two choruses will present musical selections inspired by Milk’s life, as well as selections from the oratorio, “I Am Harvey Milk.” Written by Tony® and Grammy Award® nominated composer Andrew Lippa (Broadway’s “The Wild Party,” “The Addams Family” and “Big Fish”) and co-commissioned by Heartland Men’s Chorus, “I Am Harvey Milk” tells the moving story of Milk’s life from his childhood to his assassination.

“It’s not a straight-forward biography,” says HMC’s executive director Rick Fisher. “The songs touch on universal themes including bullying, activism, and the building of community.”

Harvey MilkThe concert will be conducted by Dr. Tim Seelig, who conducted the 2013 world premiere production of “I Am Harvey Milk” in San Francisco. Milk’s story is entwined with the history of San Francisco as well as the history of the LGBT choral movement: the candlelight vigil on the night of his assignation in 1978 marked the first public performance by the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus.

“This is not a story specific to San Francisco,” says Seelig. “This is about a man who stepped forward and did something remarkable –even though he was not particularly remarkable by most accounts. It is about a man who became a hero and a martyr for what he believed. Composer Andrew Lippa’s goal was that every single person who hears this will somehow resonate with the person who was Harvey Milk and look for the part of Harvey within them.”

The University of Missouri LGBTQ Resource Center presents “I Am Harvey Milk” at 7:00 p.m. Saturday, March 8, at Missouri United Methodist Church, 204 S 9th St, Columbia, Mo. Admission is free.

Heartland Men’s Chorus and Gateway Men’s Chorus will present an expanded, two act version of the concert at 8:00 p.m. Saturday, March 29 and 4:00 p.m. Sunday, March 30 at the Folly Theater, 300 West 12th Street, Kansas City, Mo. Tickets are $15-$40 and can be purchased online at http://hmckc.org or by calling 816-931-3338.

The choruses will present an encore performance at 8:00 p.m. Saturday, April 5, at WashingtonUniversity’s 560 Music Center, 560 Trinity Ave, St Louis, Mo. Tickets are $25 and can be purchased online at http://www.gmcstl.org.

High resolution photos of the chorus may be downloaded at http://hmckc.org/photos and program notes for the concert are available online at http://hmckc.org/milk

For more information:

General Contact:
Rick Fisher, Executive Director
Heartland Men’s Chorus
(816) 931.3338
hmc@hmckc.org

Marketing Contact:
Tom Lancaster
Kansas City Direct Response Marketing
(816) 471.1120
tom@kcdrm.com

Heartland Men’s Chorus Returns to Eureka Springs

Heartland Men's ChorusOARS is proud to announce that Heartland Men’s Chorus of Kansas City, Missouri, will be returning to Eureka Springs to perform a benefit concert for Ozarks AIDS Resources & Services (OARS) on Saturday, November, 23, 2013, 7 pm, at The Auditorium.  As stated in reviews from Pitch and The Kansas City Star:  Heartland Men’s Chorus “consistently proves itself one of the most exciting and talented choral groups working in the Midwest.”  And the chorus has “amazing clarity, precision and refinement – and, when needed, plenty of power.”

Just ask anyone who was at the concert at The Aud in March, 2011 to benefit OARS.  They can tell you what a fantastic evening this was.  Added to that, almost $19,000 was raised for our local AIDS organization.   All monies raised stay here in Carroll County to assist OARS with their programs and projects, including a free HIV/AIDS clinic currently serving 55 patients.

When I KnewThe Chorus will present their acclaimed 2012 musical documentary program When I Knew which brings together music with narration and visuals to share personal coming-out stories from Chorus members.  Conceived and created by Artistic Director Dr. Joseph Nadeau, this performance will mark the final time that Dr. Nadeau conducts the program as he has recently been appointed Artistic Director of the Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles.  A program that is both moving and entertaining, the premiere performances of the program in Kansas City and Denver last year were narrated by Dan Savage as he and the Chorus shared messages of hope and healing, and the promise that “It Gets Better.”  In the second act of the concert, HMC will give a preview of their upcoming holiday concert Baby, It’s Cold Outside to be presented in Kansas City on December 6-8, 2013.

Sponsorship opportunities are available for the November 23 OARS Benefit Concert by.   Every $50 sponsorship donation entitles the donor to one ticket in the center sections of the first two rows downstairs or the center sections of the first row of the balcony.  Sponsorships are available by calling 870-480-7476 or sending an e-mail to Carole Sturgis, Executive Director of OARS at CLSturgis@aol.com.

Tickets to the concert go on sale the September 5.  VIP tickets are $25 each and seating will be in rows 3 through 8 of the center sections.  General Admission tickets will be $15 each for all other seats.  Call 870/480-7476 or visit the HMC web site (www.hmckc.org)  to reserve your seats.

Mark your calendar:  Saturday, November 23, 2013, and purchase your tickets early.  Except for the sponsorship seats, all other sections will be seated on a first-come basis the evening of the concert.

The following are some comments from when the Chorus was here in 2011.  Obviously, this is a concert that should not be missed.

“I was in the audience last night and HMC delivered a beautiful, entertaining, and moving performance.  The concert made me smile, clap, cry, and most importantly, made me proud.  You say, ‘Our voices enlighten, inspire, heal, and empower.’  So true, so true!  Thanks for coming to Eureka Springs and thanks for supporting OARS.  Hope you come back soon.”

“…a spectacular evening that was positively magical!”

“Fantastic evening!!!…OARS scored again!”

“Throughout the performance, the applause was thunderous…”

“I believe we were looking into angel faces last night – the radiance was blinding and had me awestruck.  Thank you for a wonderful evening in Eureka Springs…”

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For further information contact

Carole Sturgis
Executive Director, Ozarks AIDS Resources & Services (OARS)
CLSturgis@aol.com
Home:  870/423-630
OARS Ticket Line (Cell):  870/480-7476

Heartland Men’s Chorus Announces Season Marked by Growth and Change

Heartland Men’s Chorus has announced its 28th season: a series of programs notable for its scope and variety. It will also be the last season programmed by outgoing artistic director, Dr. Joseph Nadeau. Nadeau will conduct the chorus for its holiday concert in December, and then join the Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles as artistic director. The entire season was programmed by Nadeau before the announcement of his departure, and it will reflect his artistic vision and ambition.

“Joe’s artistic leadership is largely responsible for the phenomenal growth of HMC during the past 15 years,” said Kathy Dunn, Board chair. “We’re lucky to have one last season to savor his artistic influence as we continue to grow.”

That growth is evident in the season ahead, which includes the Midwest premiere of a major new work co-commissioned by the chorus, and an expansion of its season from seven performances to eight.

The chorus begins its season with the holiday concert, Baby, It’s Cold Outside, December 6-8, 2013. More than 3,000 audience members each year join the chorus for its holiday program due to its mix of traditional music and outrageous humor. This season’s offering is woven around the theme of winter weather. The chorus will sing “White Christmas,” as one might expect, but the comic songs “Lavender Christmas” and “Black Christmas” are also on the program.

“We’ll also get the chance to showcase the musicianship of the chorus,” said Nadeau. “We’ve got some numbers featuring tight harmonies arranged by Deke Sharon, the arranger for the group Straight No Chaser and musical supervisor on the film ‘Pitch Perfect.’”

March 29 and 30, 2014, the group presents the Midwest premier of the oratorio I Am Harvey Milk, a song cycle written by Broadway composer Andrew Lippa (the Tony Award®-nominated composer of The Addams Family and The Wild Party), commissioned by HMC and five other gay men’s choruses. Celebrating the life and legacy of the first openly gay person elected to public office in California, the work’s eleven movements represent the eleven months Milk spent in office before his assassination.

“I was struck with Harvey Milk’s quote ‘You gotta give ‘em hope,’” said Nadeau. “I think audience members will find this concert inspirational and informative, but above all hopeful.”

Gateway Men’s Chorus from St. Louis, Missouri, will join HMC for the concert, and HMC will travel to St. Louis for an encore performance the following week.

The chorus presents Vegas, Baby June 13-15, 2014, its most elaborate physical production to date. The concert will feature the music of Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra from the Las Vegas “Rat Pack” era, as well as hits from contemporary Las Vegas headliners such as Celine Dion and Bette Midler. Guest artists include renowned Liberace impersonator Martin Preston and magician David Sandy.

“And our own unique take on Las Vegas showgirls, of course,” added Nadeau.

Guest conductors for the chorus’s spring and summer concerts will be announced in autumn. All performances take place at the Folly Theater, 300 West 12th Street, Kansas City, Missouri. Season tickets from $72.00 – $114.00 are available now by phone at (816) 931-3338 and online at http://hmckc.org.

 

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Heartland Men’s Chorus to Bid Farewell to Dr. Joe Nadeau, Artistic Director for 15 Years

Heartland Men’s Chorus congratulates Dr. Joe Nadeau on his appointment as Artistic Director of the Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles. He will begin his new post in August and will lead HMC’s artistic efforts through the December 2013 concert.

A national search for the next Artistic Director of Heartland Men’s Chorus will commence in early fall, with the goal to announce the new appointment in early 2014. HMC maintains a consistently strong position administratively and financially, with a deep and broad base of community support.  The organization is well positioned to attract top artistic talent to lead the organization to the next level of excellence and success.

Joe joined the HMC staff in 1998. During his 15-year tenure, the Chorus has grown dramatically in terms of members/ singers, audience, and local and national recognition. More than 140 men now perform in a concert cycle to consistently sold-out houses. A three-concert, four performance season has increased to a seven performance season, drawing the largest audiences for choral programming in our region.

Under Joe’s leadership, the Chorus earned a reputation for cutting-edge, relevant programming. This includes the development and pioneering of the unique musical documentary format, which has now been adopted by choruses all over North America. The musical documentary combines visuals, narration and other production elements, with excellent choral performance to illuminate timely societal issues.  Presentation topics have included: gays in the U.S. military; treatment of LGBT members in faith communities; gays in Hollywood and as portrayed in film; songs of the civil rights movements sung by women, people of color, and the LGBT community; and stories of the coming out process. Through these moving concerts that entertain and educate, Joe has enabled the Chorus to achieve its vision: Our Voices Enlighten, Inspire, Heal and Empower.

Joe’s artistic vision will continue in HMC’s upcoming 28th season as the Chorus carries out the concerts he has planned. His final concert with Heartland Men’s Chorus will beBaby, It’s Cold Outside on December 6-8, 2013. Guest conductors will be invited to lead the Chorus for the 2014 March and June concerts. The March 2014 concert, a Kansas City premier of Andrew Lippa’s new work, I Am Harvey Milk, showcases the Chorus’s artistic national impact: Joe helped position HMC to be one of seven co-commissioning choruses for the work. He also conceived the final concert of the upcoming season,Vegas, Baby, scheduled for June 13-15, 2014. Among the most ambitious productions the Chorus has undertaken to date, it will mark the first time HMC has presented three performances of its summer concert. All season concerts will take place at the historic Folly Theater, HMC’s performing home since 1994.

The HMC Family extends its thanks to Joe, and extends congratulations and all best wishes.

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View the complete announcement and statement from Joe online

 

For more information:

General Contact:
Rick Fisher, Executive Director
Heartland Men’s Chorus
(816) 931.3338
hmc@hmckc.org

Marketing Contact:
Tom Lancaster
Kansas City Direct Response Marketing
(816) 471.1120
tom@kcdrm.com

 

HMC Presents Falling In Love Again

Heartland Men’s Chorus takes on the ambitious task of examining two radically different periods in German history through song. The 130-voice gay men’s chorus will present Falling in Love Again March 23 and 24, 2013 at the Folly Theater. The concert provides a fascinating glimpse into a period of history often ignored: the halcyon days of gay life in pre-war Berlin, and the subsequent persecution of gays during the Holocaust.

In 1920s Berlin, gay culture flourished: hundreds of cabarets offered a bawdy, excessive and vibrant nightlife. But the next decade would bring unspeakable horrors: gays sent to their death for an inappropriate look or touch.

Using music of the period (“Mack the Knife,” “Bei Mir Bist Du Schön,” “Love for Sale”) and songs from Kander and Ebb’s Cabaret, HMC seeks to capture the raucous and outrageous gay culture of pre-war Berlin in the first act of the concert.

Eric Lane Barnes, assistant artistic director of Seattle Men’s Chorus, was given the difficult task of researching, selecting, and arranging the pieces for the concert’s first half. “I loved creating the atmosphere of this half,” he said. “The whole Weimar period is so culturally, artistically, philosophically and theatrically rich. There is so much documentation of the period; it’s been so fascinating and rewarding to learn about it.”

A particularly astonishing find was Lane Barnes’ discovery of a song written in 1920 and entitled, “Das Lila Lied,” or “The Lavender Song,” one of the first known gay liberation songs. German cabaret singer Ute Lemper recently released her own version, calling out the bigotry of those who “make our lives hell here on Earth/poisoning us with guilt and shame.” With a chorus that begins, “We’re not afraid to be queer and different,” the song delivered a bold statement in its day, even for Weimar-eraBerlin. Nonetheless, several surviving recordings by major band leaders suggest that it was a popular cabaret act.

Act II features the Midwest premiere of Jake Heggie’s For a Look or a Touch, a stirring dramatic tale of two lovers sent to the Nazi concentration camps—one who is exterminated and one who lives to recount a love lost and unspoken. Originally commissioned by Seattle non-profit Music of Remembrance, and featuring a libretto by Gene Scheer, the one-act opera is based on stories from the documentary film Paragraph 175, and the journal of Manfred Lewin from the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC.

The piece features two major characters. The first is the ghost of Manfred Lewin, murdered by the Nazis in 1942. The role was sung during the work’s premiere by operatic baritone Morgan Smith who will reprise his role in the HMC production. Actor Kip Niven plays Gad Beck, Manfred’s lover, who managed to survive the War and is now elderly. One night Manfred visits Gad to help him remember their love and time together; they share memories, and relate what happened to each of them in the camps. In the end, Gad not only remembers, but embraces those memories.

In addition to guest artists Smith and Niven, dancer Stephen Plante will appear in the concert’s second act, performing choreography by William Whitener, artistic director of Kansas City Ballet.

In researching the program, HMC artistic director Dr. Joseph Nadeau discovered fascinating background material concerning the music of the period, the gay culture of pre-war Berlin, and the characters portrayed in For a Look or a Touch. The Chorus has created an online journal at http://hmcblog.org to enhance the concert experience for audience members.

One of HMC’s most ambitious concerts to date, Falling in Love Again has allowed the Chorus to collaborate with partners across the Kansas City’s cultural and academic communities.

In partnership with The University of Missouri-Kansas City and The Kansas City Museum, the Chorus will co-present the exhibition Nazi Persecution of Homosexuals 1933-1945, on loan from the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C.

Through reproductions of some 250 historic photographs and documents, the exhibition examines the rationale, means, and impact of the Nazi regime’s attempt to eradicate homosexuality that left thousands dead and shattered the lives of many more.

Admission is free and the exhibition will be open to the public from February 16 through April 10 at the Dean’s Gallery of Miller Nichols Library, University of Missouri-Kansas City (800 E 51st, Kansas City, Mo.). The library is open Sunday, 1-11 p.m.; Monday-Thursday, 7:30 a.m.-11 p.m.; Friday, 7:30 a.m.-5 p.m.; and Saturday 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Metered parking at UMKC is available Monday – Friday in the lot directly North of Miller Nichols Library at Rockhill Road and 51st Street. Parking is open and free on Saturdays and Sundays. The exhibit is sponsored by the UMKC Division of Diversity, Access and Equality, and the Gay and Lesbian Archive of Mid-America.

Additional events, including screenings of the films Paragraph 175 and Bent, will take place throughout the spring. Complete details are available at http://www.kansascitymuseum.org/persecution

Heartland Men’s Chorus presents Falling in Love Again, Saturday March 23, 2013 at 8:00 p.m. and Sunday, March 24, 2013, at 4:00 p.m. at the Folly Theater (300 West 12th Street, Kansas City, Mo.). Tickets from $15 – $35 are available at http://hmckc.org or by calling (816) 931-3338.

“Nazi Persecution of Homosexuals 1933-1945” Exhibition Comes to UMKC

The University of Missouri-Kansas City will host a traveling exhibition from the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, entitled Nazi Persecution of Homosexuals 1933-1945. The free exhibition will be on display February 16 – April 10 in the Dean’s Gallery of the Miller Nichols Library.

An opening reception and exhibition preview will take place Feb. 13, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. in the Dean’s Gallery.

Nazi Persecution of Homosexuals 1933–1945 examines the Nazi regime’s attempt to eradicate homosexuality, which left thousands dead and shattered the lives of many more.

From 1933-1945, Germany’s National Socialist government attempted to root out those who did not fit its idealistic model of a “master Aryan race.” Jews were the primary victims and six million were murdered in the Holocaust. Millions of others were persecuted for racial and political reasons, including homosexuals. Visitors to this informational exhibition will learn about the Nazis’ attempt to wipe out homosexuality and terrorize German gay men into social conformity with arrests, convictions and incarcerations of tens of thousands of men in prisons and concentration camps.

The exhibition will be supplemented with special “brown bag” film viewings. “Bent,” the 1997 film adaptation of the Tony-award winning Broadway play about a gay couple imprisoned in a concentration camp, will be shown Mar. 6 at noon in the Miller Nichols Library iX Theatre, 1st floor. The documentary film “Paragraph 175,” which shares the stories of individuals who were persecuted because of the law, will be shown in the same location on Mar. 13 at noon.  Brief discussions will be held after each film.

The exhibition is being co- presented by the UMKC Division of Diversity, Access and Equity, in partnership with the Kansas City Museum and in conjunction with Heartland Men’s Chorus’ spring concert, Falling in Love Again, March 23-24 at the Folly Theater. Visit kansascitymuseum.org/persecution for additional details and programming.

The exhibition is a project of GLAMA: the Gay and Lesbian Archive of Mid-America, a collecting partnership of the Kansas City Museum and the LaBudde Special Collections Department of the UMKC Libraries.

The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum exhibitions program is supported in part by the Lester Robbins and Sheila Johnson Robbins Traveling and Special Exhibitions Fund, established in 1990.

About the University of Missouri-Kansas City:  

The University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC), one of four University of Missouri campuses, is a public university serving more than 15,000 undergraduate, graduate and professional students. UMKC engages with the community and economy based on a four-part mission: life and health sciences; visual and performing arts; urban issues and education; and a vibrant learning and campus life experience.  For more information about UMKC, visit http://www.umkc.edu/.  You can also find us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and watch us on YouTube.

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This information is available to people with speech or hearing impairments by calling Relay Missouri at (800) 735-2966 (TT) or (800) 735-2466 (voice).