HMC 2016-2017 Season Announcement

Heartland Men’s Chorus

2016-17 Season Kicks Off with a

“Classy, Brassy and Sassy” Kansas City Christmas

Performances Dec. 3 and 4 at Folly Theater

And at the new venue, JCCC’s Yardley Hall, Dec. 10

 

KANSAS CITY, MO (Oct. 24, 2016) — Dustin S. Cates, Artistic Director of Heartland Men’s Chorus (HMC), announced Monday that the 31th season will open with what is fast becoming one of Kansas City’s favorite non-traditional holiday traditions, Kansas City Christmas! In its third year, Kansas City Christmas has an exciting blend of familiar carols, choral classics and hilariously zany twists on your favorite holiday music. It truly features something for everyone and will leave you in the holiday spirit because it’s “Classy, Brassy and Sassy!”

The Classy start to the evening begins with Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence. Based on a French folk tune, it tells the biblical story of the birth of Christ. Then Classy HMC shines with John Rutter’s Gloria. Written by British born Rutter in 1974, this 17-minute, three-movement work instantly became a favorite among American choruses. “It is by turns touching and thrilling, with everything from soaring, jubilant phrases to catchy rhythms among the beautiful lines of ancient sacred text, and then throw in the power of the brass ensemble with timpani, percussion and organ, and you have the perfect recipe to wow audiences,” said Artistic Director Cates.

Rutter described its origins to Jeremy Siepmann of Naxos Records in 2011, “‘The Gloria was the first of my works to be commissioned in America. I received a letter from a choral conductor in Omaha, Nebraska. His name was Mel Olson, an excellent musician. Among much else, he suggested a sacred work, equally suitable to both churches and concert halls, with a Latin text. So I thought of the Gloria—just about the most famous little piece of Latin that there is. For my instrumental group, I chose a brass ensemble, supplemented by organ, timpani and percussion. And that was the beginning. *
Gloria is sung completely in Latin.

HMC has received special permission from John Rutter himself to perform this unpublished version of his Gloria for men’s voices. Since brass is such an essential aspect of the composition, the production is being performed in collaboration with the Volker Brass Quintet from the UMKC Conservatory of Music and Dance and will be conducted by Cates.

Continuing the more serious, traditional approaches to the holidays, HMC will present Ose Shalom (arr. John Leavitt), a traditional Hebrew text that translates: “The One who makes peace in the heavens, He makes peace for us, for all of us, and let us say Amen.”  Staying with the traditional slant, HMC will perform Deck the Hall (arr. Eddy Clement), a new arrangement of a traditional English Christmas Carol, The First Noel (arr. Dan Forrest), a new arrangement of a traditional English Christmas Carol, and I’ve Got My Love to Keep Me Warm (arr. Patrick Sinozich), an Irving Berlin holiday favorite set in a swing style. All three pieces will be accompanied by the Volker Brass from UMKC … In other words . . . Brassy!!

The program continues with a World Premiere, Winter Mantra, commissioned by HMC for Kansas City Christmas and written by composer and University of Missouri–Columbia Freshman, Hans Heruth, with original text by Wesley Sexton. The piece, that also features the Volker Brass Ensemble, speaks of Winter. “The season on the surface may seem dark and cold but, when framed correctly, is full of life,” says Sexton. Heruth and Sexton met at the University of Missouri and started writing together.

What audiences have come to expect out of the second half of Kansas City Christmas is pure entertainment. “With a bit of a holiday pops feel, it’s all kinds of fun,” said Cates. “The hilarious performances by members of Heartland Men’s Chorus are truly what bring this portion of the program to life!” On the program are Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, a holiday favorite made popular by Judy Garland arranged by Kansas City composer and friend of HMC, Mark Hayes, O Holy Night (arr. Scott Warrender), traditional carol for soloist and choir with a big twist, The Little Drummer Boy (arr. Lari Goss), an HMC favorite back by popular demand which features a drum line comprised of local high school band students. There’s also a wacky tribute to the holiday elephant-in-the-room… Fruitcake! Lots of other fun songs will fill out the second half to keep you laughing and wanting more (music, not fruitcake!).

“Kansas City Christmas” will be performed at 8 p.m. Saturday, December 3rd and 4 p.m. Sunday, December 4th at the historic Folly Theater, 300 W. 12th Street in Kansas City, and Saturday, December 10th, at Yardley Hall in the Carlson Center, on the campus of Johnson County Community College.

Tickets to the Folly performances are available online at http://hmckc.org/tickets/ or by calling 816-931-3338. Yardley Hall performances must be purchased through the Carlsen Center Box Office at 913-469-4445. Prices range from $18 to $43 with special student pricing at $7 (some ticket fees apply and vary by location). Come as you are, dress is casual, be ready for fun, but visit hmckc.org today!

 

ABOUT HEARTLAND MEN’S CHORUS – Heartland Men’s Chorus (www.hmckc.org) is Kansas City’s gay men’s chorus, now in its 31st season. Founded with 30 singers to make music, HMC quickly became a safe oasis for a community scarred by fear and hatred and plagued by a virus. Now with 130 singers, Heartland Men’s Chorus is a vital part of Kansas City’s robust arts and cultural scene. HMC has made the historic Folly Theater its performance home for 24 years, and is now expanding to Overland Park with one concert in December. The Kansas City Star has called Heartland Men’s Chorus “one of the most beloved arts institutions in Kansas City.”

Visit www.hmckc.org for more information about Heartland Men’s Chorus 2016-2017 season. High resolution photos of the 2016-2017 season can be attained by contacting the chorus office at 816-816-931-3338.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:

Parking

Information for Folly Theater parking can be found online at www.follytheater.org. The parking garage, immediately west of the Folly Theater, is the primary parking garage for Heartland Men’s Chorus patrons. Event parking is $8 per car and may be purchased upon arrival (cash only at the gate). Parking is free and freely available at JCCC’s Carlsen Center.

 Sponsors

Presenting sponsor of Heartland Men’s Chorus is Hotel Phillips.

The Muriel McBrien Kauffman Foundation; Missouri Arts Council; Hall Family Foundation, Richard J. Stern Foundation for the Arts, Arts Council of Greater Kansas City, and Neighborhood Tourist Development Foundation (NTDF), also are among the many supporters of Heartland Men’s Chorus’ 31st season.

Student Discounts

Student tickets are available for $7 (with valid ID, one ticket per ID). They may be purchased in advance by calling the HMC box office at 816-931-3338 or at the door prior to the performances based on availability. The Box Office opens one hour prior to all performances.

Social Media

Receive updates by joining Heartland Men’s Chorus’ Page at www.facebook.com/hmckc and following @hmchorus on Twitter.

 

Heartland Men’s Chorus

2016-2017 Season at a Glance

 

Kansas City Christmas (HOLIDAY SHOW)

December 3-4, 2016 | Folly Theater, Kansas City, MO

Sat., Dec. 3, 8:00 p.m.

Sun., Dec. 4, 4:00 p.m.

December 10, 2016 | Yardley Hall, Carlsen Center, JCCC, OPKS

Sat., Dec. 10, 8:00 p.m.

 

Identify (SPRING SHOW)

March 25-26, 2017 | Folly Theater, Kansas City, MO

Sat., Mar. 25, 8:00 p.m.

Sun., Mar. 26, 4:00 p.m.

Part choral concert, part TedTalk, Identify celebrates living lives of authenticity. Joined by special guests, Twin Cities Gay men’s Chorus, TedTalk sensation Morgana Bailey and Jane Clementi, mother of the late Tyler Clementi, we lift up the importance of being you. Single tickets available online beginning Monday, December 15, 2016.

 

Show Tune Showdown (SUMMER SHOW)

June 10-11, 2017 | Folly Theater, Kansas City, MO

Sat., June. 10, 8:00 p.m.

Sun., June 11, 4:00 p.m.

What happens when Broadway collides with Heartland Men’s Chorus? It’s the Show Tune Showdown! It’s literally part game show and part sing-a-long! Channel your best Ethel Merman as you sing with the guys to some of your favorite Broadway hits, then hop on stage and show off your knowledge of musical theatre trivia! Single tickets available online beginning Monday, March 27, 2017.

   

Visit www.hmckc.org/press for more info.

 

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Please direct all media inquiries to Rick Fisher, 816-931-3338 or hmc@hmckc.org.

HMC Presents “Perfect Pitch”

With a little less piano and a whole lot of heart, Heartland Men’s Chorus, Kansas City’s gay men’s chorus, presents “Perfect Pitch,” a concert that celebrates the power and beauty of the human voice.

Singing mostly a cappella arrangements, the 135-voice chorus will perform songs featuring intricate arrangements of contemporary popular music including “The Good Life” by OneRepublic, “Stitches” by Shawn Mendes, and the Pentatonix arrangement of the Imagine Dragons hit “Radioactive.”

Some classics will also be offered with the same distinctive sound of Heartland Men’s Chorus, including “Ave Maria,” “Home on the Range,” and “Loch Lomond.”

“Only at an HMC concert can you hear the beauty of “Ave Maria” on the same bill as “Radioactive,” says HMC Artistic Director Dustin Cates. “We respect the serious music while bringing an exciting edge to the stage with some very popular numbers.”

As is customary with an HMC concert, the first half is more subtle and sublime, while the second half kicks it up a few notches with songs that will have the audience and the singers moving to the music and laughing to some wonderful surprises.

Guest artists include the amazing sounds of local beatboxer artist Luke Harbur who will open the ears and eyes of audience members with his unique sounds and rhythm. We’ll also be joined on stage by “Kansas City A Cappella,” a group of area high school students who bring youthful excitement to the a cappella art form.

Heartland Men’s Chorus welcomes new and returning audience members of any age to experience what The Kansas City Star calls “one of the most beloved arts institutions in Kansas City.”

“Perfect Pitch” will be performed at 8 p.m. Saturday, March 19th and 4 p.m. Sunday, March 20th at the historic Folly Theater at 300 W. 12th Street in Kansas City. Tickets are available online at http://hmckc.org/tickets/ or by calling 816-931-3338. Prices range from $18 to $43 with special student pricing at $7. Come as you are, dress is casual, be ready for fun!

Heartland Men’s Chorus Turns 30

Heartland Men’s Chorus (HMC) has announced its upcoming season, the 30th anniversary for Kansas City’s gay men’s chorus.

The season will begin with Kansas City Christmas, December 4-6, 2015. The title of the concert is an intentional holdover from last year’s record-breaking holiday concert.

“Our holiday concert is considered an annual tradition by so many in our audience,” says artistic director Dustin S. Cates. “The music is different every year, but the combination of sacred holiday music and campy comic numbers never changes. We will be keeping the title Kansas City Christmas every year to underscore the concert’s place as a Kansas City tradition.”

Among the more traditional offerings will be four movements from Benjamin Britten’s “A Ceremony of Carols.” Comic highlights include an arrangement of “Text Me Merry Christmas,” a song which became a viral video sensation for Straight No Chaser in 2014. One holdover from last year’s edition will be “Christmas in Kansas City,” which Cates hopes will be an annual fixture.

March 19 and 20, 2016, the group presents Perfect Pitch, a largely a cappella concert featuring intricate arrangements of contemporary popular music. Among the songs included will be “The Good Life” by OneRepublic, “Just the Way You Are” by Bruno Mars, and the Pentatonix arrangement of the Imagine Dragons hit “Radioactive.”

Deke Sharon, producer of “The Sing Off” and arranger/vocal producer for Universal’s Pitch Perfect & Pitch Perfect 2, will help prepare the chorus for the performance, serving as a clinician during the rehearsal process.

Special guests included in the program will be local beatboxer Luke Harbur and KC A Cappella, Kansas City’s high school a cappella ensemble.

The chorus closes the season with I Rise, an inspirational program and celebration of its anniversary season, June 11-12, 2016. The concert will feature guests from HMC’s 30-year history, including chorus alumni and Dr. Joseph Nadeau, the group’s artistic director from 1998-2014.

The program will feature songs long associated with the chorus, such as Fred Small’s “Everything Possible,” as well as new works, including a new commission by Mark Hayes based on the life and work of Maya Angelou.

After the season ends, the chorus will tour an abridged version of I Rise to towns in central and western Kansas, and the GALA Choruses Festival in Denver, Colorado.

The chorus will welcome new members when rehearsals begin on September 8, 2015. Cates expects the group to perform with 120-130 men this season.

All season 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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HMC Takes on Fringe Festival with Big Gay Sing

Big Gay SingHeartland Men’s Chorus usually takes the summer months off, but this year the group is poised to launch a new event as part of the Kansas City Fringe Festival. The Chorus will present Big Gay Sing, an interactive sing-along variety show for four performances, July 17-19, 2015.

“It will be more of a party atmosphere, as opposed to a concert atmosphere,” says artistic director Dustin S. Cates. “And it’s all about audience participation.”

Lyrics for the songs will appear on the screen for audience members to sing along. The repertoire will feature songs familiar to audience members, including television theme songs (from “Friends,” “The Golden Girls” and “The Brady Bunch,” among others), disco hits from ABBA and The Village People, and karaoke favorites like “Don’t Stop Believin’” and “Sweet Caroline.”

Kansas City’s favorite drag entertainer, Daisy Buckët, will emcee the shows and will sing with the Chorus on several numbers. Other drag entertainers, including Summer Tryst, are scheduled to appear and some audience members will be “drafted into drag” live on stage.

Big Gay Sing was a concept originally developed by the New York City Gay Men’s Chorus in 2009. The high-energy, informal, party-like atmosphere of the event made it an audience favorite and reinvigorated NYCGMC’s artistic program. Big Gay Sing became and annual event and brought the group’s music to a wider audience.

Heartland Men’s Chorus will present Big Gay Sing at 7:30 p.m. Friday, July 17, 6:00 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. Saturday, July 18, and 3:00 p.m. Sunday, July 19. All performances will take place at H&R Block City Stage at Union Station. Tickets are $10 (plus a $5 Fringe Festival button, required for admittance to any Fringe events), and are available in advance at http://kcfringe.org.

About Heartland Men’s Chorus

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. 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.

About the Kansas City Fringe Festival

KC Fringe Festival is an annual 11-day performing and visual arts extravaganza. It straddles a thin, frayed line between mass appeal and eclectic tastes. Fringe links these two worlds together, showing that it is the bridge you take to be inspired and entertained no matter what your taste may be.

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HMC Gets Wicked with Summer Concerts Celebrating Composer Stephen Schwartz

A Little Bit WickedHeartland Men’s Chorus will present “A Little Bit Wicked,” a concert devoted to the music of composer Stephen Schwartz, June 13 and 14, 2015, at the Folly Theater. Featuring songs from his Broadway and film musicals, the repertoire will span more than 40 years of work by the prolific composer.

“Stephen is one of the rare modern Broadway composers who straddles the line between musical theatre and popular music,” says Dustin S. Cates, HMC artistic director. “Songs like ‘Corner of the Sky’ and ‘For Good’ have become popular favorites because they are so accessible, but his music and lyrics are so dramatically rich they resonate deeply with audiences.”

Winner of three Academy Awards®, four Grammy Awards® and four Drama Desk Awards, Schwartz is one of the most popular musical theatre composers of all time. During the 1976-1977 Broadway season, he had three shows (“Pippin,” Godspell” and “The Magic Show”) running on Broadway simultaneously.

In 2008, when his blockbuster “Wicked” reached its 1901st performance on Broadway, he became the only songwriter in Broadway history to have three shows run more than 1900 performances.

The concert will include songs from Schwartz’s Broadway hits, as well as songs from his film musicals “Enchanted,” “Pocahontas” and “The Hunchback of Notre Dame.”

The Chorus will also present a recent piece by Schwartz called “Testimony.” With lyrics taken directly from videos recorded for the It Gets Better Project, which aims to prevent LGBT youth suicide, “Testimony” is a powerful composition that reflects the resilience of LGBT people in the face of harassment, violence, and discrimination.

“A Little Bit Wicked” is the final concert in HMC’s 29th season. The group regularly performs with more than 120 singers and draws the largest audience for choral music in the region.

Heartland Men’s Chorus will present “A Little Bit Wicked” at 8:00 p.m. June 13, and 4:00 p.m. on June 14. 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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Heartland Men’s Chorus and the Lawrence Children’s Choir celebrate America’s modern families

Modern FamiliesHeartland Men’s Chorus will celebrate the diversity of the American family in its spring concert “Modern Families,” March 28 and 29, 2015, at the Folly Theater. The concert is the latest in the group’s series of “musical documentaries” that use music, narration and multi-media elements to illustrate a particular social issue.

Artistic director Dustin S. Cates has a personal connection to the topic. He and his husband are the parents of a 3 year-old son.

“I wanted to celebrate the love and dignity that all families deserve,” said Cates. “There is no such thing as a ‘typical’ family. It seems every person defines the word family in slightly different way.”

As expected from a gay men’s chorus, HMC will present a number of songs and stories specific to LGBT families, but Cates expects the concert to appeal to people from all types of families. The music included is diverse, including classical works, contemporary pop songs and rap.

Lawrence Children’s Choir will begin the concert with a set of four songs. Heartland Men’s Chorus will join them for “The Weaver,” a new commission by local composer Jacob Narverud. HMC will finish the first act with musical selections celebrating love and family, including “Luminescence,” a song written by Dr. Andrea Ramsey commemorating the birth of Cates’s son, Emmaus.

The musical documentary comprises the concert’s second act, and includes “Not My Father’s Son” from the Broadway musical Kinky Boots, Annie Lennox’s “A Thousand Beautiful Things” and Rene Clausen’s “Set Me as a Seal.” The chorus will reprise two songs by composer Robert Seeley that have been popular in previous performances: the marriage equality anthem “Marry Us” and the plaintive “In My Mother’s Eyes.”

For the first time in its history, the chorus will perform a contemporary rap number, Ryan Lewis and Macklemore’s “Same Love,” featuring a guest appearance by local rap artist EvoKlone Alex.

Narration linking the songs together comes from the stories of individual chorus members, as well as stories collected from members of the Midwest Alternative Family Alliance (MAFA), a local nonprofit group that acts as catalyst for social action on behalf of LGBT families.

Nancy Bean, a Kansas City adoption social worker and member of MAFA, will facilitate a pre-show discussion on the topic of family building in the LGBT community beginning 20 minutes prior to each performance.

To further illustrate the diversity in contemporary families, audience members are invited to submit photos of their “modern families” via the chorus’s website, to be shared on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram with the hashtag #OurModernFamilies. To date, more than 50 photos have been received.

“Modern Families” is the second concert in the HMC’s 29th season. 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 “Modern Families” at 8:00 p.m. March 28, and 4:00 p.m. on March 30. 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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Heartland Men’s Chorus Is Home for the Holidays

Kansas City ChristmasHeartland Men’s Chorus will celebrate all things Kansas City in its holiday concert, appropriately titled “Kansas City Christmas,” December 5-7, 2014, at the Folly Theater. The first concert of the group’s 29th season is also the first under the direction of its new artistic director Dustin S. Cates.

“Pride in our city and our community is at an all-time high,” says Cates. “It seems like every week Kansas City is included on a ‘Top Ten List’ of the best places to live, to work or to visit. And the performance of the Kansas City Royals in the World Series has renewed pride in our city like I’ve never experienced before. I wanted my first concert as artistic director to reflect the spirit, flavor and music of my hometown.”

The program will contain a merry mix of traditional carols, sacred music, and the outrageous humor for which the chorus has become known. The Saturday performance will feature a “sly” surprise, with the appearance of a special guest artist known to every Kansas City resident.

Music written and arranged by local composers will be highlighted throughout the concert.

The chorus will sing “Gloria,” written by Eugene Butler, a prolific composer with a long history in Kansas City. Two other local composers will be represented with two songs each. The chorus will perform works arranged by Mark Hayes (“I’ll be Home for Christmas” and “Variations on Jingle Bells”) and John Leavitt (“Bashana Haba ‘ah” and “Lo, How a Rose E’re Blooming”).

New commissions by Kansas City’s Lyndell Leatherman (“I Saw Three Ships”) and Jacob Narverud (“Three Messiah Settings for Men’s Chorus”) will be debuted at the concert.

Several guest artists will appear on the bill, coming from the diverse worlds of local politics, pop music, classical music and the alternative theatre scene. The Sunday performance will feature a guest appearance by Mayor Sly James. A long time supporter of the arts in Kansas City, the mayor will croon the solo in “I’ll Be Home for Christmas.”

Up and coming “indie” pop sensation Dustin Rapier will join HMC to perform “Christmas in Kansas City.” Soprano Sarah Tannehill Anderson will be featured as a soloist in the “Messiah” choruses. Local audiences have heard her work with the Lyric Arts Trio, Kansas City Chorale, Kansas City Symphony and the Bach Aria Soloists.

Two performers from the world of drag will be among the highlights of the second act. DeDe Deville will join HMC in a tribute to the ubiquitous Disney film Frozen, and Genewa Stanwyck will appear as “Angie, The Christmas Tree Angel.”

Rounding out the guest artist roster is the Park Hill South High School Drumline, who will provide a choreographed interlude to “The Little Drummer Boy.”

The concert marks the start of the 29th season for HMC, 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 “Kansas City Christmas” at 8:00 p.m. December 5 and 6, and 4:00 p.m. on December 7. 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

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/