Kansas City's Gay Men's Chorus
Kansas City's Gay Men's Chorus

Fact Sheet

Artistic Director: Dustin S. Cates

Executive Director: Rick Fisher

Development Director: Cliff Schiappa

Board Chair: Rob Hill

Chorus President: David Wood

Founded: September 1986; 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization

Membership: approx. 190 (150 singing, 40 non-singing)

Repertoire: Eclectic mix of men’s choral music including classical, jazz, gospel, traditional, contemporary and popular styles

Annual Subscription Series: 3 programs/7 total performances

Performance Venue: Folly Theater, 300 West 12th Street, Kansas City, Missouri

Subscription Concert Attendance (2013-2014): 6,525

Community Outreach and Special Event Performances: Approximately 12 per year (during the 2014-2015 season, more than 8,000 people saw the Chorus perform at community outreach performances)

Merchandise: Ten commercial CDs in release, and two DVDs of extraordinary concert events: “The Few, the Proud,” examining gays and lesbians in military service (narrated by Col. Margarethe Cammermeyer), and “All God’s Children,” focusing on the spiritual lives and experiences of the GLBT community (narrated by Rev. Mel White).

Member: GALA Choruses, the international association of the lesbian and gay choral movement; and Chorus America, serving the spectrum of professional, volunteer, youth and symphony/opera choruses

Annual Operating Budget: $717,483 (ticket sales account for approximately 35%)

Audience Demographics (2014 Survey):

  • Arts Savvy: 80% of our audience has attended one or more local performing arts events in the past 12 months.
  • Educated: 77% of our audience has a Bachelor’s degree, with more than 40% also having completed graduate studies.
  • Affluent: More than 58% our audience members have an annual household income of more than $75,000.

HMC represents a unique element in the cultural diversity of the region that we serve:

  • As a performing force, we are the largest men’s chorus in the region.
  • In terms of infrastructure and budget, we are the largest community chorus in the region.
  • We are the premiere cultural institution in the region serving the GLBT community, and the oldest such organization.
  • By budget size, we are the largest GLBT organization in the region.

Excellence in Performance

HMC is among the most well-reviewed local arts organizations:

  • “Heartland Men’s Chorus has proven itself an irreplaceable part of Kansas City’s diverse and vital arts community,” Mickey Coalwell, The Kansas City Star
  • “The choir consistently proves itself one of the most exciting and talented choral groups working in the Midwest,” Melina Neet, Pitch Weekly
  • “Amazing clarity, precision and refinement—and, when needed, plenty of power,” Scott Cantrell, The Kansas City Star

National recognition includes:

  • 1998 GLAAD (Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) Award
  • Performed at the 2009 American Choral Directors Association national convention
  • Chosen to perform at the national signature event of the Lewis & Clark bicentennial, “A Journey Fourth.”
  • 2011 OUTMusic Award, “Outstanding Choral Recording.”

Advancing Men’s Choral Music

The Chorus has commissioned or co-commissioned several major works, including:

  • I Am Harvey Milk, a song cycle written by Broadway composer Andrew Lippa celebrating the life and legacy of one of the first heroes of the LGBT civil rights movement.
  • A Very Special Christmas Special, by Eric Lane Barnes and David Maddux, an entertaining and twisted revue of television holiday specials of years gone by.
  • The Promise: A Christmas Miracle, by Robert Seeley and Robert Espindola, a moving song-cycle that explores the holidays through the eyes of a family during a time of war.
  • Life is a Cabaret, a concert tribute to the songwriting team of Kander and Ebb. About the concert, John Kander wrote in The Kansas City Star, “That night was something special…I have raved about it ever since.”
  • Oliver Button is a Sissy, a half-hour musical based on the children’s book by Tomie De Paola. The work received its Kansas City premiere with Mr. De Paola narrating, and marked the first “Family Matinee” performance of the Chorus. HMC was also honored to be included as part of the Folly Theater Kids Series.
  • Two Flutes Playing, by Kansas City composer Mark Hayes, a major work featuring orchestra and dance.
  • Country Angel Christmas, also based on a children’s book by Tomie De Paola.

The Chorus also has commissioned several song arrangements, featuring the talents of Greg Gilpin, Eric Lane Barnes, Mark Hayes, Scott Farthing, Paul Siskind, Jacob Narverud and others. Newly commissioned works and arrangements are regularly included in HMC’s subscription concerts.

Building Community

Heartland Men’s Chorus supports a diverse cross section of the community through its outreach programs, which include benefit performances, complimentary concert tickets and volunteer efforts. Some of the benefiting organizations include:

  • AIDS Service Foundation
  • AIDS Walk Kansas City
  • The Center Project
  • Human Rights Campaign
  • Kansas City Free Health Clinic
  • KCPT Public Television
  • Leukemia and Lymphoma Society
  • MainStream Coalition
  • Missouri Citizens for the Arts
  • National Gay and Lesbian Task Force
  • Passages
  • Pride Kansas City
  • SAVE, Inc.
  • Shawnee Mission School District
  • Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation
  • Topeka AIDS Project

Reaching Out to Diverse Audiences

In addition to hundreds of performances in the Kansas City metro area, HMC has performed throughout the two-state area: Columbia, Jefferson City, Joplin, Springfield and Maryville in Missouri and Baldwin City, Lawrence, Wichita and Topeka in Kansas. HMC has shared stages with other GALA choruses in St. Louis, Chicago, Washington, Denver, Tampa, San Jose, Miami, Dallas, Portland, London, Paris, Hamburg and Montreal.