For Immediate Release
CONTACT: Rick Fisher
Heartland Men’s Chorus Announces Artistic Director Appointment
KANSAS CITY, MO (May 1, 2020) — The board of directors of Heartland Men’s Chorus (HMC), today announced Shawn Cullen has been appointed as the permanent Artistic Director of the Chorus. High res photos and video for media use can be found here.
Shawn Cullen, educator, conductor, and artistic director, has earned a reputation for his dedication to musical excellence and striving to make a difference within the communities of which he is part. Of his new role, Shawn said, “”I love being a part of a magic that only music can make. I get to see the impact of such a one-of-a-kind experience for the singers each week-and on the faces of our amazing Kansas City audiences that support the HMC legacy.”
His past leadership includes eight years as Artistic Director/Conductor for Reveille Men’s Chorus & Desert Voices Mixed Chorus, Southern Arizona’s GALA Choruses, and most recently as director of HMC’s small ensemble, Burnt Ends. Recognized for his skills as a versatile music educator, Mr. Cullen has held positions in K-12 instrumental/vocal music, adjunct faculty at the University of Arizona Fred Fox School of Music and conductor for the Arizona Repertory Theater with many credits including “Into the Woods”, “Avenue Q”, “The Full Monty”, and “EVITA.” Mr. Cullen is currently a Graduate Teaching Fellow at the University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory completing course work towards his Ph.D. and serves as Director of Music at the Shawnee Mission Unitarian Universalist Church. Mr. Cullen holds a Bachelor’s of Music Education and a Masters of Music in Conducting from the University of Arizona and is a proud member of the national board of directors for GALA Choruses.
Cullen has served as Interim Artistic Director for the 2019-2020 season, while HMC conducted a national search for a permanent director. The cost of the search was generously funded by former chorus member, Cliff Schiappa, in memory of his mother, Norma S. Menck. Search Committee chairperson, Steve Dodge, said, “we held all of the applicants to an extremely high level of performance in the areas of education, musicianship, experience, accomplishments, and artistic vision. We were delighted to find all of those qualities already in our midst in our very own Shawn Cullen.”
HMC currently does not have a concert scheduled due to the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic, but planning is underway for the next concert season. An announcement about future performances is expected in the next few weeks.
ABOUT HEARTLAND MEN’S CHORUS – Heartland Men’s Chorus (www.hmckc.org) is Kansas City’s gay men’s chorus, now in its 34th season. Founded in 1986 with 30 singers to make music, HMC quickly became a safe oasis for a community scarred by fear and hatred, while plagued by a virus. Now with 120 singers, HMC is a vital part of Kansas City’s robust arts and cultural scene, making the historic Folly Theater its performance home for 26 years. HMC also presents regional outreach concerts in a five-state area and has performed nationally and internationally in joint concerts with other GALA choruses. They regularly perform at GALA Choruses International festivals. The Kansas City Star has called Heartland Men’s Chorus “one of the most beloved arts institutions in Kansas City.”