Heartland 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