Dustin S. Cates, Artistic Director

Dustin S. CatesArtistic Director
Dustin Cates is a conductor, singer, teacher and proud native of Kansas City, Missouri.  He is passionate about music making and it’s ability to have a positive impact on the human condition.  As a result of his experience as a leader and educator he is in demand as an adjudicator, clinician and conductor throughout the United States.

Dustin was named Artistic Director of Heartland Men’s Chorus in 2014.  Prior to his work with HMC he taught high school choral music in the Kansas City area and served as Associate Director of Worship Arts at The United Methodist Church of the Resurrection.

Dustin is a member of the National Association for Music Education (NAfME) and American Choral Directors Association (ACDA).  He serves on the Alumni Board for the University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory of Music and Dance and the University of Missouri-Kansas City Chancellor’s LGBT Council.  Dustin is President of the Kansas Choral Directors Association and member of GALA Choruses.  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.

Dustin considers his most important roles to be husband to Dr. Raymond Cattaneo, and father to their son Emmaus.

Rick Fisher

Rick FisherExecutive Director
Rick Fisher has served as Executive Director of Heartland Men’s Chorus since 1997. One of his notable accomplishments is surviving 4 years at the Philadelphia College of Bible. Upon finding that their degree was useless in obtaining employment, he decided to become a church musician.

He put himself through bachelor’s and master’s programs in Church Music at Westminster Choir College in Princeton, N.J., by founding, building and running a window-cleaning service. After graduating in 1990, Rick began a new career in church music and eventually sold the cleaning service.

In 1995, his church position was abruptly terminated when Rick came out, revealing that he was gay to his minister. Relocating (for love) to Kansas City, Missouri, Rick discovered HMC and GALA choruses, and with them a job that brought together everything about which he is passionate.

Cliff Schiappa

Cliff SchiappaDevelopment Director
A native of Long Island, N.Y., Cliff graduated from the University of Missouri School of Journalism with every intention of getting back on the plane to return east to “civilization.” Instead, he moved to Kansas City and has lived here since 1980, becoming a huge fan of the city and its people.

Cliff worked for 23 years as a photojournalist, editor and assistant bureau chief at The Associated Press where he covered top stories around the world while seeing his photographs published in thousands of newspapers. In 2007 he made a hard left turn in his career and became the interim executive director of Literacy Kansas City, a non-profit that teaches adults how to read. He then joined the staff of the Heartland Men’s Chorus as development director in October 2008.

His name and face may be familiar to HMC audience members since he started singing in 2002 and has served as chairman of the board of directors. Cliff considers it a wonderful opportunity to combine his passion for the Chorus with his career and is proud of the influence HMC has had on the community, region and nation through its musical programming.

Lamar Sims

Lamar SimsAccompanist
Born in Louisville, Ky., and raised in Selma, Alabama, Lamar Sims holds B.M. and M.M. degrees in piano performance with an emphasis on vocal accompanying and chamber music from University of Maryland College Park. He has extensive and varied experience as a performer, teacher, coach, and director in church, academic, concert, and theatrical settings.

His teachers and coaches include Claudia Faulk, Roy McAllister, Santiago Rodriguez, Bela Nagy, Jorg Demus, Robert McCoy, members of the Guarneri String Quartet, Leon Major, Alcine Wiltz, Richard Crittenden, Timothy Seelig, and Thilde Beuing. Organizations with whom he has collaborated include Friday Morning Music Club, Paul Hill Chorale, Cathedral Choral Society, Washington Opera, National Symphony Youth Fellowship Program, Master Chorale Chamber Singers, and Washington Bach Consort (in the Washington, D.C. area); Turtle Creek Chorale and the Women’s Chorus of Dallas (in Dallas, Texas); and Northland Community Choir, International Center for Music at Park University, and Kansas City Women’s Chorus.

Lamar continues to be active as a teacher and coach of voice and piano, accompanist for Heartland Men’s Chorus, and a collaborative artist with a variety of performers and organizations throughout the KC-metro area.

Rob Hill (Chair) is a retired Army officer and federal employee who specializes in doctrine and leader development at Fort Leavenworth, KS. His military career culminated with command of the American Forces Radio & Television Network, South Korea, after which he joined Turner Broadcasting as VP of Network Operations. Before returning to the Army as a civilian, he worked in higher education administration and obtained an Ed.D. from the University of Missouri. He joined HMC in 2005, after attending a holiday concert, and knew immediately that he wanted to belong. He also serves on the board of the Mid-America Freedom Band.

Keith Hohly (Vice-Chair) is an Evangelical Lutheran Church in America clergyperson who has recently joined the staff of the Bishop of the Central States Synod of the ELCA.  Prior to this he had been the pastor of First Lutheran Church, Mission Hills, Kansas, for 25 years. Pastor Keith was a faithful attender of HMC concerts for many of those years, but beginning with the Chorus’ 25th anniversary season, has become a singing member as well.  Yet what Keith loves most about the Chorus is not just the music, but the community that is HMC. Keith and his wife Debra currently live in Overland Park, Kansas.  They have three children: son Benjamin, who teaches literature at the middle school level in Atchison, Kansas; and daughters Bethany, a teacher’s aide in the Shawnee Mission School District, and Danielle, who attends the University of Kansas.

Tom Sullivan (Treasurer)

Denesha Snell (Secretary) was born and raised in Kansas City, MO where she was active in the arts community via playing the cello and attending Paseo Academy of the Fine and Performing Arts. After graduating she continued her education in Nashville, Tennessee, where she obtained her bachelor’s degree from Tennessee State University. Denesha continued her education at Rockhurst University where she earned her Master’s Degree in Education. Denesha has worked in public health for over seven years, and currently works at the Kansas City Health Department as a Public Health Specialist. She is invested in her community and is involved in several community organizations, including the international service organization Sigma Gamma Rho, and the family organization Jack and Jill of America, Inc. She is also the co-founder and president of the STARS (Sisters That Are Riding Strong) Cycling Club. Denesha is excited about the opportunity to work with the Heartland Men’s Chorus because she believes music is the great equalizer and its language crosses race, gender, religion, class and socio-economic boundaries, and the Heartland Men’s Chorus embodies those ideals.

David Wood (President of the Chorus) 

Kay Barnes is a professor and founding director of the Center for Leadership, HauptmannSchool for Public Affairs, ParkUniversity.  She’s a former Mayor of Kansas City, Missouri, having served from 1999-2007. Currently, she serves on the boards of Arvest Bank (regional board), Convention and Visitors Association, Mid-America Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, St. Luke’s College of Health Sciences, and the Heartland Men’s Chorus.  Serving on the HMC board is a highlight of Kay’s community activities as she has been along-time admirer of the Chorus.

Krista Lang Blackwood During a 25-year-career as a professional artist and arts administrator, Dr. Blackwood has built a reputation for her original approach to arts advocacy,her visionary programming and her high standard of professionalism. More recently, she has become a regular guest and contributor to radio and television programs that cover and promote the arts. She has received national attention for her use of social media to keep the arts relevant in our digital culture. Krista currently serves as Founder, Artistic Director and Managing Director of Octarium, an eight-voice vocal ensemble regarded as one of the “freshest sounds in American choral music.” She was Director of Cultural Arts for the Jewish Community Center of Kansas City from 2011 until 2015. She is also a freelance coach and consultant. Before transitioning to her roles behind the scenes, Dr. Blackwood was a professional mezzo-soprano who toured internationally as a soloist and performed a wide range of musical genres from opera to musical theatre, choral music and oratorio. She has long admired the work of the chorus, both musically and as an agent for social change, and looks very forward to being a part of the group’s future success.

Kevin Bogan is the Director of Traditional/Blended Worship Arts at the United Methodist Church of the Resurrection in Leawood, Kansas.  There Kevin leads a music program consisting of the Resurrection Choir, Orchestra, Voices of Resurrection, Children’s Choirs, Youth Choirs and Orchestra and Handbells.  He is the executive Director of Christmas at Resurrection, the annual Christmas program that ministers to over 18,000 people each season.  Kevin is also involved in local theater having served on the board, directed and musically directed for the Leawood Stage company, as well as Spinning Tree Theater, The Barn Players, Olathe Community Theater, The Theater in the Park, Starlight Children’s Theater and many others.  He has also performed onstage throughout the area for numerous companies.  He recently directed a concert version of “The Music Man” for the Kansas City Symphony.  Kevin is the R & S Chair for the Kansas Choral Director’s Association and a past president of the Fellowship of United Methodists in Music and Worship Arts. Kevin has lived in Kansas City for eleven years.  His first “arts” experience upon moving here was hearing the Heartland Men’s Chorus.  Over the years he has seen the size and quality of the choir improve and looks forward to helping it become the leading men’s chorus in America.  He has a dedication to fine choral singing combined with interesting staging and concert repertoire.  He is excited to be a part of the HMC Board to help the Chorus move ahead in it’s strides to be a thriving artistic part of the Kansas City music scene.

Mike Brown retired from teaching high school journalism seven years ago, but worked halftime for the school district writing curriculum and teaching newspaper and video production after that. He served on the Journalism Education Association board of directors for eight years, during which time he led a commission which established national high school journalism certification with the financial assistance of the Gannet Foundation (now the Freedom Foundation). Mike joined the chorus in the summer of 1997 because he loved music and the positive image of the LGBT community which HMC fosters. He sang in every concert for 17 years and has participated in most outreach performances for the same reasons. For 11 years, Mike chaired the GALA Travel Fund Committee, which is intended to insure that any HMC member who wishes to attend the quadrennial GALA Festival has the funds to attend. He hopes his background and commitment to HMC will allow him to contribute to the work of the board of directors.

Consuelo Cruz has more than twenty years of experience in management, fundraising, strategic planning, and cultural arts initiatives in the for-profit and non-profit sectors. She’s also worked as an interpreter and adjunct Spanish instructor. She is currently the Marketing & Community Relations Manager for Belger Cartage Service, Inc. and its affiliated companies. She’s served on a number of boards and on a series of diversity committees. She feels fortunate to serve on the HMC board which allows her to stay connected to her passion for the arts and her passion for creating synergies in the community and among diverse cultures.

Daniel Silva works for the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce as the Director of Diversity and Inclusion. Daniel also oversees the KC Chamber’s young professional network, genKC. genKC’s mission is to attract and retain young professionals in the Kansas City region by providing them with opportunities to enhance their personal and professional skill set through a variety of networking, community involvement and professional development opportunities. Daniel is active member of Young Latino Professionals of Greater Kansas City and currently serves on the YLP Board of Directors as Vice President of Strategic Partnerships and Initiatives. In this role, Daniel seeks to create, strengthen and/or sustain strategic partnerships and initiatives that positively impact YLP membership, elevate the visibility of YLP, leverage the YLP network to access resources and increase YLP’s sphere of influence to affect positive change in Kansas City and beyond. Daniel also serves on the Hispanic Scholarship Fund Committee, Latino Coalition of Kansas City Board of Directors, American Heart Association of KC Board of Directors, ArtsKC Fund Advisory Council, and Big Brothers Big Sisters Diversity Taskforce.

Sarah Yehle Fulkerson is an attorney working for Healthcare Services Group, an insurer of hospitals, physicians and other health care providers.  She is active in the healthcare legal community and can be found most weekends yelling encouragement from the sidelines at her kids’ soccer games and helping with costume changes at dance recitals.  She has been involved with the Women’s Employment Network working one-on-one with women to create and improve their resumes.   Her husband, Brett Fulkerson, is an attorney practicing at Fulkerson Elder Law in Liberty, Missouri.  A wonderful friend brought her to the chorus and she is excited to be a part of this organization’s work in furthering understanding and empathy through the power of music.

Dr. Tomas Griebling  is delighted to join the Board of Directors for Heartland Men’s Chorus.  He and his partner, Michael Miklovic, are long-time patrons and fans of HMC.  Dr. Griebling is a urologic surgeon and the John P. Wolf 33rd-Degree Masonic Distinguished Professor of Urology at the University of Kansas.  He is Professor, Vice-Chair and Residency Program Director for the Department of Urology; Faculty Associate in The Landon Center on Aging; and Assistant Dean for Student Affairs at the University of Kansas School of Medicine.  He earned his MD and completed his postgraduate training at the University of Iowa College of Medicine in Iowa City, IA.   He completed his Master of Public Health (MPH) at the University of Kansas.  Dr. Griebling has previously served on the Board of Directors for the Good Samaritan Project (GSP) including a term as Board President, and on the Board of Directors for the AIDS Service Foundation of Greater Kansas City.  He is also an active artist, and holds a Certificate in Fine Arts with a concentration in mixed media studies from the Kansas City Art Institute.  A Lifetime Member of the National Flute Association, Dr. Griebling has been honored to appear onstage in several concerts with HMC.

Greg Maupins has been a singing member of Heartland Men’s Chorus for 15 years, onstage for 45 consecutive concerts. Greg previously served two years on the Chorus board as president of the Chorus, elected in 2007 and again in 2008  He has been involved with the Membership Services Committee for more than a decade and has served as the committee’s chairman or its co-chairman for the last five years. Greg has been in retail with Verizon Wireless for 19 years,including 12 in store management. In addition, Greg is a charter member of Crossroads Church, where he plays drums in the band, frequently leads worship and serves on several committees. In every setting, Greg strives to ensure that all voices are heard, a stance that puts Heartland Men’s Chorus near and dear to his heart.

J. D. Perkins retired from Hallmark two years ago after a lifetime career in retail management. He is now self employed dealing in antiques, jewelry, and custom men’s clothing. He is currently President of First Lutheran Church where he also sings in the choir and is a worship assistant. A longtime supporter of the Arts, he is a subscriber to the Kansas City Ballet, The Lyric Opera, The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, and a former member of the Board of Trustees of the Kansas City Conservatory of Music. Entering his twenty-fourth year with the Chorus J. D. has sung sixty-three consecutive concerts. He has also been Chairman of the HMC Garden Party Committee for four years. He is proud to part of an organization whose message positively changes lives, as it has positively changed his.

Matt Schulte works in the World Champion Kansas City Royals front office.  He serves as the role of Marketing Coordinator, assisting with give-a-ways, promotions, kids club, advertising, special events for the team.  He has been involved in executing back-to-back postseason/World Series appearances as well as the All-Star Game festivities.  Matthew has been at the Royals for 5 ½ years and started in the Season Ticket and Group Sales department.  Prior to his career in baseball, he was a student at NYU, graduating with a degree in Sports Management, while also being involved as a residential assistant and campus tour guide.  Matthew grew up in Prairie Village, KS and has lived in Kansas City most of his life.  He currently also serves on the board of the Greater Kansas City Attractions Association.  As a big supporter of the local arts scene, he is excited to join the HMC Board in 2016.

Todd Wegener is a Senior Manager with Grant Thornton where he specializes in budgeting and forecasting – both the processes and technology enablement.  He primarily services Fortune 500 clients in the Midwest.  His background in Psychology, Finance and Technology provides a unique perspective for his clients.  Todd grew up in Northeast Kansas on a farm where his family grew corn and soybeans.  The farm background gave Todd his work ethic and mechanical aptitude and his appreciation for wide open spaces.  He attended Baker University and received his bachelors in Psychology.  In 1989 Todd moved to Kansas City after grad school at the University of Iowa.  He also completed a BS in Computer Science and an MBA at Rockhurst while starting his career in Finance and Technology. In his spare time Todd enjoys working on his 130 year old shingle style Victorian house in the Volker neighborhood, riding his motorcycle and supporting great organizations like the Heartland Men’s Chorus.  He was a singing member for many years and looks forward to a time when his travel schedule will allow him to sing with HMC again.