HMC Presents “Stonewall 50”

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT: Rick Fisher

816.931.3338

hmc@hmckc.org

For Tickets: 816.931.3338 or hmckc.org

Heartland Men’s Chorus’ 33rd Season Continues

With “Stonewall 50: All of Us” Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the Gay Rights Movement.
Performance to include Quiet No More
commissioned by 20 Gay Choruses Nationwide.
HMC to Perform World Premiere March 23-24, 2019 at Folly Theater


KANSAS CITY, MO (January 29, 2019) — Dustin S. Cates, Artistic Director of Heartland Men’s Chorus (HMC), announced Friday that HMC would indeed premiere the work, Quiet No More: A Choral Celebration of Stonewall 50, commissioned by the New York City Gay Men’s Chorus, the Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles, Heartland Men’s Chorus and 17 other GALA Choruses throughout the United States. “Even with all the show stopping productions we’ve done,” said Cates, “in our 33 years, we’ve not done something THIS BIG,” he said with emphasis. “Produced by two dozen gay choruses, including THE BIGGEST gay choruses in the U.S., and WE get to perform it FIRST! It’s quite an honor. We are basically telling the story of the Gay Rights Movement through song, poetry, pictures and videos.” But HMC’s Spring Concert, called “Stonewall 50: All of Us,” is more than the story of the six days of Stonewall. It is also a show created to change hearts and minds through an uplifting celebration of life.

“Stonewall 50: All of Us” – March 23-24, 2019 at The Folly Theater

Scheduled for Saturday and Sunday, March 23-24, 2019, in the newly renovated Folly Theater, HMC will begin the concert with a celebration for “All of Us!” “With a variety of song styles and production elements, this concert is designed to help you forget the weird wild world we all get to experience every day and celebrate what it means to be alive,” said HMC Executive Director Rick Fisher.

The moving concert opens with a crowd and chorus favorite, “This is Me,” arranged by Tim Sarsany. The perfect beginning for “Stonewall 50,” “‘This is Me’ is a powerful story of self-acceptance; it’s an anthem for the marginalized, disenfranchised, the bullied and the outcast,” said Fisher. “’This Is Me’ is all about standing up for yourself, being proud of who you are, and accepting yourself with all your insecurities,” continued Cates. “It’s about stepping out from the shadows, not with hesitation, but bravely, boldly, proudly.” “There’s a defiance in this song,” furthered Cates, “that signifies the start of that journey towards self-acceptance. You get a real sense in this song that after years of being ground down and mistreated, it’s about reaching a point where you’re not going to take it anymore. This is not about trying to change you, but changing how you feel about yourself and your place in the world. We felt there couldn’t be a better message to kick off our celebration of Stonewall.”

The first act continues with similar songs of celebration and inspiration to continue the fight . . . songs like:

The Song We Sing by Jake Narverud

Sanctuary by Ola Gjeillo
You Will Be Found by Pasek & Paul
Music in the Air Arr. Ryan Murphy

1000 Beautiful Things, Arr. Tim Sarsany

Way Ahead of My Time, Arr. Jake Narverud

Also joining HMC in this celebration of inclusion are two LGBTQ+ choral groups in Kansas City, Choral Spectrum and “Heartsong,” a subgroup of Kansas City Women’s Chorus.

Newly formed in 2018, Choral Spectrum is a mixed chorus for both male and female voices that serves the LGBTQ+ community, including straight allies, and performs all types of music from classical to pop to spiritual to secular.  “Heartsong” of Kansas City Women’s Chorus is a special a cappella group of singers whose main purpose is to serve as ambassadors to the community. They also perform as part of KCWC’s main stage concerts. Kansas City Women’s Chorus was founded in 1999 and today performs with 100+ women from diverse ages, ethnicities and religious backgrounds. According to Choral Spectrum Artistic Director and Conductor, Dr. Michael Robert Patch, “LGBT choirs came from a need for social activism. Many of those same issues still persist today. LGBT choirs are also a place of community. They are a place where people can be who they truly are. In some ways, the music is secondary to the power that is ignited when people of like minds come together for a cause. The music is the vehicle for that power. We can use music to touch people in meaningful ways. And, the stories we tell through song can help to guide the audience to learn and grow while also being entertained.”

WORLD PREMIERE EVENT – “Quiet No More”

The second half of the concert features the WORLD PREMIERE of Quiet No More: A Choral Celebration of Stonewall 50. This eight-movement work is co-commissioned by LGBTQ+ choruses from across the U.S., including project co-founders, Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles and New York City Gay Men’s Chorus. It is the largest collaboration in the history of LGBTQ choruses. The New York performance at Carnegie Hall on June 27th, 2019, will be one night before the 50th Anniversary of the Stonewall Riots and will include more than 400 singers gathering from 20 choruses across the country on stage in Carnegie Hall.

Quiet No More was written to commemorate the Stonewall rebellion, widely seen as one of the most pivotal moments in LGBTQ+ history. It not only tells the story of the Stonewall Inn that took place in New York City on June 28, 1969, but more importantly, celebrates the vast legacy and worldwide change that started from those events that June. The protests at Stonewall lit the fire for PRIDE, the effects of which are still as vital today as they were 50 years ago. Quiet No More honors the courage of those pioneers for social justice and equality; it encourages each of us to join in the renewed spirit of resistance for the future; and, most importantly, it sings for all of us. Stonewall may have sparked an uprising, but the movement continues to this day, not just for LGBTQ+ individuals, but for all victims of bullying, hate, intolerance, and violence.

Quiet No More features the voices of six diverse LGBTQ composers, including:

  1. Michael Shaieb – Co-Founder of FatLab, composer of Through a Glass Darkly and Composer for theatre, film, TV
  2. Our Lady J – American classical pianist, TV writer, singer & song-writer of Pose & Transparent
  3. Julian Hornik – Composer of Dear Evan Hansen, lyricist & librettist based in Brooklyn, NY
  4. Ann Hampton Callaway – Jazz singer, songwriter, actress
  5. Michael McElroy – Broadway Inspirational Voices, Composer, Tony Nominee & College Professor
  6. Jane Ramseyer Miller – Artistic Director of GALA Choruses & One Voice Mixed Chorus

The work will have some classical elements but will also feature musical theater, jazz and other popular styles, with women and other minority composers central to the project. One movement will contain a newly composed anthem that all choruses involved in the project will sing and record on YouTube with the goal of creating a national social media campaign to take place in May and June 2019. In addition, some members of HMC will travel to Los Angeles and New York in June 2019 when the two co-commissioners present the work to create the multi-choir massed performances in both cities. “We’ve had a number of our members indicate their desire to be a part of the Carnegie Hall performance. We anticipate the entire “Stonewall” song cycle to be an extremely moving and uplifting experience for all of us, individually and certainly collectively,” said Fisher.

Quiet No More:  A Choral Celebration of Stonewall is the keynote happening of the first ever World Pride month in New York, and has been publicized as “the Pride Month event you can’t miss.”

Stonewall 50: All of Us combines the Stonewall story with previously unheard voices and the latest historical insights. It will be balanced with the stories of The Stonewall Inn’s lasting impact, combining the work with messages of love, acceptance, joy and celebration, in a collaborative effort whose size has never before been experienced in the LGBTQ+ community.

Pre-Show Talk Featuring Stuart Hinds

30 minutes prior to each performance of “Stonewall 50,“ Stuart Hinds, Assistant Dean for Special Collections and Archives at UMKC, and the Curator of the GLAMA (Gay & Lesbian Archive of Mid-America) Collection, will discuss the surprisingly pivotal role of Kansas City in the national struggle for gay and lesbian civil rights before the 1969 Stonewall uprising. He will also touch on Kansas City’s very active social scene during the same period. This interesting talk is offered at no additional charge to those having purchased a concert ticket.

Tickets to Stonewall 50: All of Us at the newly renovated Folly Theater 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.