HMC Presents Indivisible

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT: Rick Fisher

816.931.3338

hmc@hmckc.org

For Tickets: 816.931.3338 or hmckc.org

 

 

Heartland Men’s Chorus Presents
“INDIVISIBLE”
Featuring Songs of Resistance & Remembrance plus the World Premiere of “We, The Unknown,”
A Choral Commission in Cooperation with
The National World War I Memorial & Museum,
Plus Special Guests
The Men of the U.S. Army Soldiers’ Chorus


Performances June 9 and 10, 2018 at The Folly Theater

 

KANSAS CITY, MO (March 26, 2018) — Heartland Men’s Chorus (HMC), announced Monday their 32nd season continues in June with INDIVISIBLE: SONGS OF RESISTANCE & REMEMBRANCE.

 

With the prejudice, inequality, bias and discrimination happening in the world around us, Heartland Men’s Chorus will present our response in song. Joining forces with the National World War I Memorial and Museum and the men of the United States Army Soldiers’ Chorus, “Indivisible” will celebrate the principles of our great nation’s founding . . . that ALL are created equal.

 

The first half of the concert features the World Premiere of a new choral work titled, We, The Unknown (WETU). The WETU project tells the “story” of how the Unknown Soldier of WWI was selected. WETU celebrates the importance and significance of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, both as a literal resting place for those unknown who paid the ultimate sacrifice and as a symbol of the nation’s sacred honor to remember their service. HMC was inspired to commission this piece because 2018 is the centennial of our nation’s involvement in World War I and because Kansas City is home to the National World War I Museum and Memorial. The WETU project has been endorsed by the National World War I Centennial Commission. We are also honored that the men of the United States Army Soldiers’ Chorus, an ensemble of the U.S. Army Field Band, will be joining us in performance.

 

We, The Unknown was conceived by Rob Hill, a Heartland Men’s Chorus member and Board member, retired Army Lieutenant Colonel and third-generation soldier whose paternal grandfather served in World War I and retired as a Brigadier General. The idea came to him after hearing how America’s Unknown Soldier was selected. Hill wondered, “What if the person selected was gay or African-American or someone who was afraid to go to into battle?” Initially, Hill considered almost every other format possible to tell the story. But when Hill joined Heartland Men’s Chorus, he decided that a choral work for men’s voices was the best medium to pay tribute not only to the Unknown Soldier but all who have served, many in silence.

 

“Remembering and honoring the dead is easier when they are known, when their names are spoken aloud. The purpose of the WETU Project is to honor the unknown, not only the unknown soldiers of WWI, but all who—in some way—have served and been forgotten, or serve but are forced to hide their authentic selves, or are missing in action,” said Hill.

 

Rather than use existing music, HMC’s artistic director, Dustin S. Cates, recommended a new commission and suggested composer Timothy C. Takach for the job. Takach, who co-created the theatrical production All is Calm: the Christmas Truce of 1914, with Peter Rothstein and sang with Cantus, one of the U.S.’s premier men’s vocal ensembles, is quickly becoming among the most sought-after choral composers in the nation.

 

“Working on We, the Unknown has been an exciting process for me,” said Takach. “My main collaborative partner during most of the creation was Robert Hill, who conceived the project and was one of the librettists. The first and main part of my creative process involved the words and the storytelling we wanted to tell, so Rob and I talked at length about the characters in the piece, their individual stories, and how best to bring them to life. Just as each character has a unique story to tell, I wanted to make sure that the musical character was different for each of them, too. The next step involved planning the pacing of the piece, who sings or plays when, and making sure the texture shifts and changes of character help keep the listener not only musically engaged, but emotionally, too. Certainly there are moments of sadness in these stories. But there are also the moments of pride, of doubt, of fear, and of love. This piece takes an anonymous person, whomever lies in the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, and conjectures about who they could have been. It takes the unknown and makes them known. Bringing these people to life has been a joy.”

 

Hill drafted the libretto based on a number of sources, particularly historical narratives about the role of Sargent Edward F. Younger in choosing the Unknown Soldier. Younger’s task was to select one coffin among four and the libretto gives voice to the four lives represented by the coffins:

  1. The first speaks of his fear and trepidation facing battle, but also the comradeship he feels for his fellow Soldiers.
  2. The second, an African-American, speaks of his desire to be seen as equally committed to his country and equally deserving of respect and honor.
  3. The third speaks of his love for another Soldier, hoping to see a better tomorrow for them both.
  4. The fourth, spoken through his mother, representative of Gold Star Mothers (those whose sons have died in battle), conveys a coming-of-age and how, even in war, beauty is still possible.

The libretto is a mix of original lyrics, poetry and narrative of the WWI era, including Alan Seeger’s I Have a Rendezvous with Death and John McCrae’s In Flanders Fields. Once he completed the draft, Hill felt a poet’s touch was needed. After some research, he reached out to Pat Daneman, past director of Hallmark Card’s writing studio, whose refinement of the lyrics gives each character their unique, very human voice. Hill said of Daneman, “Pat Daneman was the perfect writer to bring to this project. I discovered her poetry online and it resonated with me immediately. All I can say is that she transformed my crude characterizations of the four Unknowns into fully rounded individuals. Each Unknown became more authentic and vivid. Without question, Pat elevated the libretto to inspired and heartfelt art.”

 

We, the Unknown, the World Premiere, will take place 8:00 p.m., Saturday, June 9th, in the C. Stephen Metzler Hall at The Folly Theater. It is a theatrical telling of a choral work for men’s voices, soloists and chamber ensemble with 12 songs describing the stories of the Unknown. Single tickets available online beginning Monday, March 26.

 

The second half of our summer concert, Indivisible: Songs of Resistance and Remembrance, explores the dynamic, both positive and negative, that occurs between patriotism and protest in a democracy. Sometimes, as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. showed us, protest becomes a means of expressing one’s patriotism or love of country. Similarly, those who have fought and died for our nation, particularly those in uniform, do so in order to preserve one of democracy’s fundamental rights . . . that of free expression, including protest. Heartland Men’s Chorus hopes to shine a positive light on protest and share a message of inclusivity, equality and social justice for this season ending performance. The repertory will include:

 

  1. Uprising of Love| Arr. Pakk Hui – This “anthem” was written by singing/songwriter Melissa Etheridge to support the safety and dignity of all people in the LGBTQIA community.
  2. Man in the Mirror| Arr. Ed Lojeski – The iconic Michael Jackson song that encourages each of us to look inside ourselves to create meaningful change in the world.
  3. Tell My Father| Arr. Andrea Ramsey – An emotional piece about the perils of combat arranged by Kansas City-based composer and friend of HMC, Andrea Ramsey.
  4. This Grass| Jacob Narverud – A world premiere of a piece written by Jacob Narverud, with text by UMKC director of Choral Studies, Dr. Robert Bode, to honor the lives lost in the senseless racially charged events in Charlottesville.
  5. A Set of Songs Performed by the United States Army Soldiers Chorus
  6. Homeland| Z. Randall Stroope – A soaring piece that is based on melody by Gustav Holst – “Homeland, the country that I love, hold out your arms to me. I strive for you, and give you the best I hope to be.”
  7. Seven Last Words of the Unarmed| Joel Thompson – A gripping work using the last words of seven unarmed black men who were shot by police officers.

 

  1. Kenneth Chamberlin
  2. Trayvon Martin
  3. Amadou Diallo
  4. Michael Brown
  5. Oscar Grant
  6. John Crawford
  7. Eric Garner

 

  1. Glory| Arr. Eugene Rogers – This Academy Award and Grammy Award Winning song, originally performed by rapper Common and singer John Legend, was written by Legend for the motion picture, Selma, which portrays the 1965 Selma to Montgomery marches. It will serve as a powerful ending to another incredible season of HMC concerts, spreading love and acceptance in a world of turmoil and hate.

 

 

Artistic Director Cates summed it up best saying, “Bringing people together is at the center of why Heartland Men’s Chorus exists.  Particularly in today’s polarized political climate, our hope is that this concert will offer an opportunity to consider and empathize with experiences different than our own, to celebrate the path to many of the freedoms we enjoy today, and to remember the sacrifices that were made on our behalf. We called this concert Indivisible because it is our aim that, through our music, storytelling and moving theatrical staging, our audiences leave feeling more united than divided—that we are one in working for the causes of liberty and justice for all!”

 

Indivisible will be performed at 8 p.m. Saturday, June 9th and 4 p.m. Sunday, June 10th in the C. Stephen Metzler Hall at the historic Folly Theater, 300 W. 12th Street, in downtown Kansas City, Missouri.

 

Tickets to both performances 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. Come as you are, or come in full military uniform. But visit hmckc.org today!

 

ABOUT HEARTLAND MEN’S CHORUS – Heartland Men’s Chorus (www.hmckc.org) is Kansas City’s gay men’s chorus, now in its 32nd 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 25 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.”

 

Visit www.hmckc.org for more information about Heartland Men’s Chorus 2017-2018 season. High-resolution photos of the 2017-2018 Season can be obtained by contacting the chorus office at 816-816-931-3338.

Heartland Men’s Chorus Presents “ABBA-Cadabra!”

Put On Your Disco Boots and Channel Your Inner Dancing Queen as HMC Celebrates One of the Greatest Bands in Pop Music History!
Performances March 24 and 25, 2018 at The Folly Theater

Featuring 17 of ABBA’s Most Iconic Hits!

KANSAS CITY, MO (February 12, 2017) — Heartland Men’s Chorus (HMC), announced Monday their 32nd season continues in March with ABBA-Cadabra!  Who better to bring one of the greatest pop phenomenons in the history of music back to life than Kansas City’s gay men’s chorus!

Featuring the most iconic hits from one of the world’s most beloved bands, ABBA-Cadabra will be a musical extravaganza that includes a full evening of toe-tapping ABBA favorites. It will take you back to the 1970’s and have you screaming, “Thank you for the music” before the curtain falls.

The ABBA phenomenon began in 1974 in Brighton, England, where “Waterloo” became the winner of the Eurovision Song Contest. That hit song was truly the break through for the quartet, made up of Swed’s Agnetha Faltskog, Bjorn Ulvaeus, Benny Andersoon and Anni-Frid Lyngstad, who, with their short skirts and headbands, would go on to sell more albums than any other group second only to The Beatles. They ruled the international disco music market for a decade with their long blonde hair and their long list of chart topping music.

Under the baton of Artistic Director Dustin S. Cates, Heartland Men’s Chorus will be donning platform shoes and bell-bottom pants to celebrate all that is ABBA including (but certainly not limited to) iconic favorites like:

  • “Does Your Mother Know” – This 1979 single was atypical but a fun piano-driven, boogie-disco song that will truly be performed “HMC style” with tons of fun!
  • “Super Trouper” – One of ABBA’s biggest hits that begs to be sung at the top of one’s lungs, it opens with a cappella magic then finds the addictive staccato chorus.
  • “Mamma Mia” – Undoubtedly set in history by the Broadway play and the movie led by Academy Award Winner Meryl Streep, no ABBA show is complete without it.
  • “Dancing Queen” – No ABBA concert produced by a gay men’s chorus would be complete without the iconic “Dancing Queen.” It is the masterpiece that’s outlasted the disco era to become a standard of modern-day dance music that can get a room moving with its opening notes.

Artistic Director Cates summed it up best saying, “The curtain will be rising on ‘ABBA-Cadabra’ with more sparkle than a disco ball! We’re even choosing audience members to come backstage and be made over like Agnetha, Bjorn, Benny and Anni. Our concerts always have something for everyone and will leave you with a message and a song in your heart.  It will be a performance for all ages . . . anyone who loves the music of ABBA will love this concert!”

ABBA-Cadabra will be performed at 8 p.m. Saturday, March 24th and 4 p.m. Sunday, March 25th in the C. Stephen Metzler Hall at the historic Folly Theater, 300 W. 12th Street, in downtown Kansas City, Missouri.

Tickets to both performances 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. Come as you are. Or come dressed as ABBA! But visit hmckc.org today!

ABOUT HEARTLAND MEN’S CHORUS – Heartland Men’s Chorus (www.hmckc.org) is Kansas City’s gay men’s chorus, now in its 32nd 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 25 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.”

Visit www.hmckc.org for more information about Heartland Men’s Chorus 2016-2017 season. High-resolution photos of the 2016-2017 Season can be obtained by contacting the chorus office at 816-816-931-3338.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:

Parking

Information for Folly Theater parking can be found online at www.follytheater.org. The parking garage, immediately west of the Folly Theater, is the primary parking garage for Heartland Men’s Chorus patrons. Event parking is $8 per car and may be purchased upon arrival (cash only at the gate).

Sponsors

HMC’s 32nd Season is underwritten by Hotel Phillips. Other sponsors include the Muriel McBrien Kauffman Foundation; Missouri Arts Council; Hall Family Foundation, Richard J. Stern Foundation for the Arts, Arts Council of Greater Kansas City, and the Kansas City Neighborhood Tourist Development Fund (NTDF).

Student Discounts

Student tickets are available for $7 (with valid ID, one ticket per ID). They may be purchased in advance by calling the HMC box office at 816-931-3338 or at the door prior to the performances based on availability. The Box Office opens one hour prior to all performances.

Social Media

Receive updates by joining Heartland Men’s Chorus’ Page at www.facebook.com/hmckc and following @hmchorus on Twitter.

 

Heartland Men’s Chorus

2017-2018 Full Season at a Glance

 

From The Heart (FALL SHOW)

November 10, 2017 | Church of the Resurrection, Leawood, KS

Friday, Nov. 10, 7:30 p.m.

Packages With Beaus (HOLIDAY SHOW)

December 2-3, 2017 | Folly Theater, Kansas City, MO

Sat., Dec. 2, 8:00 p.m.

Sun., Dec. 3, 4:00 p.m.

December 9, 2017 | Yardley Hall, Carlsen Center, JCCC, OPKS

Sat., Dec. 9, 8:00 p.m.

ABBA-Cadabera (SPRING SHOW)

March 24-25, 2018 | Folly Theater, Kansas City, MO

Sat., Mar. 24, 8:00 p.m.

Sun., Mar. 25, 4:00 p.m.

We hope you’ll put on your disco boots and channel your inner dancing queen as HMC celebrates one of the greatest bands in popular music history. Featuring everything in the ABBA repertoire from “Take a Chance on Me!” to “Mamma Mia,” you’re sure to be singing at the top of your lungs before the curtain falls. We plan to be completely silly and have a great time to say, “Thank you for the music!” Single tickets available now.

 Indivisible (SUMMER SHOW)

June 9-10, 2018 | Folly Theater, Kansas City, MO

Sat., June. 9, 8:00 p.m.

Sun., June 10, 4:00 p.m.

Ever wonder about the phrase “With Liberty and Justice for All?” We certainly do and with the prejudice, inequality, bias and discrimination happening in the world around us, Heartland Men’s Chorus will present our response, “Indivisible.” HMC will be joining forces with the National World War I Memorial and Museum to celebrate the principles of our great nation’s founding . . . that ALL are created equal. Single tickets available online beginning Monday, March 26.

###

Please direct all media inquiries to Rick Fisher, 816-931-3338 or hmc@hmckc.org.

 

From the Heart – Tom Dillon

My name is Tom Dillon. I am in my third year as a Baritone with Heartland Men’s Chorus.  Originally from Connecticut, I spent some time in Minnesota and South Carolina as well. I moved to Missouri in 1998 and settled my family here. In 2013, I began living as my authentic self after a 20-year marriage ended that produced three great kids.  In the process of finding myself I participated in my church’s production of “Godspell.” At age 44, it was my first participation in musical theater, outside of high school/college/church choir.

While continuing my coming out journey, I attended my first HMC concert, “A Little Bit Wicked,” in June 2015. I met some terrific guys in the chorus over the summer and in September I auditioned. The chorus opened up a new outlet of support, friendship and a chance to have fun. One of my older brothers passed away at the age of 49 and that experience taught me to live life. So I have stepped out of comfort zones, performed as a reindeer, and have even been granted a few solos.  Performing with HMC has also given me an opportunity to lend my voice to the message we bring through song and performance.  Paraphrasing Dustin Cates, HMC Artistic Director, “When a gay men’s chorus sings some of these lyrics they take on a whole new meaning!” I couldn’t agree more.  Sometimes in rehearsals I tear up just singing certain phrases, and internalizing and personalizing them.  Music is powerful. My hope is that my singing helps to articulate that meaning for those listening.

As a late bloomer, HMC has been a safe place for me to explore who I am and to flourish. I have taken the opportunity to be involved in planning HMC events like our annual gala fundraiser, Dinner of Note, and some social gatherings as a way to broaden my horizons. I enjoy lending my voice outside of singing.  I feel a part of the HMC family as it has become an extension of my own amazing blood family. The friendships I have formed have sustained me at this stage in my life.

Tom Dillon

From the Heart – Holden Kraus

I am (now) an Upper Tenor 2 with HMC and joined the Chorus as a Lower 1st Tenor in January of 2015 in A Little Bit Wicked. I fell in love with the sound of the Chorus during KC Pride as I sat on a bench in the Power and Light District listening to the greatest hits of The Beatles. I knew, at that moment, that I needed to be a part of HMC! Unfortunately, due to my schedule, I had to wait a little bit to make that a reality.

 

I am an 8th grade Math teacher at West Middle School in Lawrence. I have taught 8th grade Math, Algebra 1, and Geometry for the last 6 years. I am a proud graduate of Pittsburg State University with a Masters degree in Mathematics and I am currently pursuing an Interdisciplinary Ph.D. in Curriculum & Instruction (fancy phrase for “teaching”) with a focus in Mathematics at UMKC. 7 semesters to go!

In my free time (you know.. between semesters in the winter), I enjoy reading good books, travelling to Seattle, and puttering around Kansas City exploring new shops and events. Most of my time now is spent reading research articles and writing papers so any little sliver of free time is greatly cherished!

I joined HMC because I needed to feel connected to the LGBTQ+ community and because I have always loved to sing. In the short two years that I’ve been with the Chorus, I have made friends that will last a lifetime. There are always new connections to be made and I think the Chorus is a great way to do that!

Holden Kraus

Heartland Men’s Chorus Takes Momentum from Leawood Debut into Kansas City Holidays

“Packages With Beaus” will have three performances in 2017 including two at Folly Theater and one at JCCC’s Yardley Hall

KANSAS CITY, MO (Nov. 15, 2017) — Following last Friday’s debut concert at The United Methodist Church of the Resurrection in Leawood, Rick Fisher, Executive Director of Heartland Men’s Chorus (HMC), confirmed Wednesday that it was one of the largest audiences before which the chorus has ever performed. “Taking that kind of momentum into the regular season is exhilarating and helps to confirm that our mission and message resounds throughout Kansas City. We are especially thrilled to have attracted such a large crowd in that part of the metro area and right before we open our regular season,” said Fisher. HMC’s 32th season will open with its popular holiday spectacular, Packages With Beaus. One of Kansas City’s favorite non-traditional holiday traditions, Packages With Beaus has an exciting blend of familiar carols, choral classics and hilariously zany twists on beloved holiday music. It offers something for everyone and leaves you humming your favorite holiday tunes and ready to wrap all those packages!

“The first act is by turns touching and thrilling, with everything from soaring, jubilant praise, to catchy rhythms, to beautiful lines of sacred text. Throw in the fabulousness of our guest artists, Well-Strung, Claybourne Elder, and the UMKC String Quartet, and you have the perfect recipe for celebrating the holidays,” said Artistic Director Cates.

Well-Strung, the critically acclaimed singing string quartet, will be featured December 2-3, at the C. Stephen Metzler Hall in the Folly Theater; and Broadway sensation, Claybourne Elder, will take the stage with HMC, December 10th, at Yardley Hall on the Johnson County Community College campus, accompanied by the UMKC String Quartet.

Well-Strung is a string quartet with a modern twist featuring Edmund Bagnell (first violin), Christopher Marchant (second violin), Daniel Shevlin (cello) and Trevor Wadleigh (viola). The group plays well known classical pieces while singing pop music hits from the likes of Taylor Swift, Rihanna, Kelly Clarkson, and other pop stars for a uniquely engaging experience. The New York Times recently called Well-Strung, “A talented quartet of men who sing and play instruments brilliantly, fusing pop and classical music from Madonna to Beethoven.” Conceived by Marchant and Mark Cortale, the foursome formed in 2012, and have since gained international attention. They have performed at the Vatican in Rome and at a gala for President Obama. Hillary Clinton requested a special performance by Well-Strung after the release of their viral music video, “Chelsea’s Mom.” They have also performed on the The Today Show, and live onstage with artists such as Kristin Chenoweth, Neil Patrick Harris and Audra McDonald.

Claybourne Elder is a Drama Desk, Lucille Lortel and Theatre World Award nominee. He starred on Broadway as “Buck” in the original cast of Bonnie and Clyde, in Sunday in the Park with George (starring Jake Gyllenhaal) and Sondheim on Sondheim at the Hollywood Bowl. He is also known for playing Pete O’Malley on the CW Series, “The Carrie Diaries.” Additionally he worked with Stephen Sondheim as “Hollis” in Road Show, in Two by Two (alongside Jason Alexander), and A Star is Born (with Idina Menzel). Plus he’s appeared many times in Kansas City at both the Kansas City Repertory Theatre (in such performances as Into the Woods, Angels in America, Sunday in the Park With George, Santaland Diaries) and Starlight Theatre (Cinderella). Claybourne made his solo debut at Feinstein’s/54 Below, Broadway’s supper club, and his show You and Me and Sondheim has played to sold out houses around the country and London.

The holiday concert begins with Nearer My God to Thee, a powerhouse arrangement of a familiar hymn, followed by Craig Courtney’s Festival Gloria. Described as “pure praise,” it is a choral arrangement performed by only the most accomplished of choruses. Then HMC shines with One Light (A Hanukkah Song), with music based on Tua Bethlem Dref, a traditional Welsh Carol with words and arrangement by Evan Ramos.

Continuing the more traditional approach to the holidays, HMC will also feature the following in Act I:

  • One of the most popular Christmas Carols of all time, O Come All Ye Faithful (arr. Dan Forrest), originally written in Latin (Adeste Fideles) and attributed to several writers in the 1700s, it was conceived as a Christmas hymn.
  • African Noel (Andre Thomas), whose catchy words are sung in a round;
  • While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks (Craig Courtney) a new arrangement of a familiar Christmas Carol that is tender but powerful.
  • Hallelujah (from “Mount of Olives”) (Ludwig Van Beethoven/adpt. Dustin S. Cates), is an oratorio by Beethoven portraying the emotional turmoil of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane prior to his crucifixion. The Hallelujah has been rendered the most popular of the work’s movements.
  • The Ground/Ola Gjello, “Heaven and earth are full of thy glory.”
  • Hands (arr. Dustin S. Cates), the lyrics say it all:
    If I could tell the world just one thing
    It would be that we’re all ok
    And not to worry because worry is wasteful
    And useless in times like these
    I will not be made useless
    I won’t be idled with despair
    I will gather myself around my faith
    For light does the darkness most fear
  • Go Where I Send Thee (Arr. Paul Caldwell & Sean Ivory), a traditional African-American spiritual song, it is known as “The Holy Baby” or “Born in Bethlehem” and gives a Biblical meaning to the work.

As always, audiences have come to expect Act II of HMC’s annual holiday concert to be pure joy. “With a bit of a holiday pops feel, it’s all kinds of fun,” said Cates. “The hilarious performances by members of Heartland Men’s Chorus are truly what bring this portion of the program to life!”

“Packages With Beaus” will be performed at 8 p.m., Saturday, December 2nd and 4 p.m., Sunday, December 3rd in the C. Stephen Metzler Hall at the historic Folly Theater, 300 W. 12th Street in Kansas City; and Sunday, December 10th, 4:00 p.m., at Yardley Hall in the Carlsen Center, on the campus of Johnson County Community College.

Tickets to the Folly performances are available online at http://hmckc.org/tickets/ or by calling 816-931-3338. Yardley Hall performances can be purchased through the Carlsen Center Box Office at 913-469-4445. Prices range from $18 to $43 with special student pricing at $7 (some ticket fees apply and vary by location). Come as you are, dress is casual, be ready for fun, but visit hmckc.org today!

ABOUT HEARTLAND MEN’S CHORUS – Heartland Men’s Chorus (www.hmckc.org) is Kansas City’s gay men’s chorus, now in its 31st season. Founded with 30 singers to make music, HMC quickly became a safe oasis for a community scarred by fear and hatred and plagued by a virus. Now with 130 singers, Heartland Men’s Chorus is a vital part of Kansas City’s robust arts and cultural scene. HMC has made the historic Folly Theater its performance home for 24 years, and is now expanding to Overland Park with one concert in December. The Kansas City Star has called Heartland Men’s Chorus “one of the most beloved arts institutions in Kansas City.”

Visit www.hmckc.org for more information about Heartland Men’s Chorus’ 2017-2018 season. High resolution photos of the Chorus can be obtained by contacting the chorus office at 816-931-3338.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:

Parking

Information for Folly Theater parking can be found online at www.follytheater.org. The parking garage, immediately west of the Folly Theater, is the primary parking garage for Heartland Men’s Chorus patrons. Event parking is $8 per car and may be purchased upon arrival (cash only at the gate). Parking is free and freely available at JCCC’s Carlsen Center.

Sponsors

HMC’s 32nd Season is underwritten by Hotel Phillips. The Muriel McBrien Kauffman Foundation, Missouri Arts Council, Hall Family Foundation, Richard J. Stern Foundation for the Arts, Arts Council of Greater Kansas City, and Neighborhood Tourist Development Foundation (NTDF) also are among the many supporters of Heartland Men’s Chorus’ 32nd season.

Student Discounts

Student tickets are available for $7 (with valid ID, one ticket per ID). They may be purchased in advance by calling the HMC box office at 816-931-3338 or at the door prior to the performances based on availability. The Box Office opens one hour prior to all performances.

Social Media

Receive updates by joining Heartland Men’s Chorus’ Page at www.facebook.com/hmckc and following @hmchorus on Twitter.

 

Heartland Men’s Chorus

2017-2018 Performances

From The Heart (Not Part of Season Subscription)

November 10, 2017 | Church of the Resurrection, Leawood, KS

Friday, Nov. 10, 7:30 p.m.
Packages With Beaus (HOLIDAY SHOW)

December 2-3, 2017 | Folly Theater, Kansas City, MO

Sat., Dec. 2, 8:00 p.m.

Sun., Dec. 3, 4:00 p.m.

December 10, 2017 | Yardley Hall, Carlsen Center, JCCC, OPKS

Sun., Dec. 10, 4:00 p.m.
Single tickets to Packages with Beaus are on sale October 16th.
Wrap yourself in HMC holiday packaging and finish it off with the perfect “Beau” to kick off your holiday merriment. At the Folly Theater, December 2-3, we’re beside ourselves to announce Well Strung, the hunkiest boys with bows, will be joining us to share their world-renowned string quartet magic. On December 10, in Johnson County’s Yardley Hall, we’ll be coming back for the second year and bringing our friend and Broadway sensation, Claybourne Elder, fresh from New York in “Sunday in the Park with George.” The perfect combination of familiar carols, choral classics and hilariously zany twists on adored holiday music; Heartland Men’s Chorus has become Kansas City’s favorite non-traditional holiday tradition!


ABBA-Cadabra (SPRING SHOW)

March 24-25, 2018 | Folly Theater, Kansas City, MO

Sat., Mar. 24, 8:00 p.m.

Sun., Mar. 25, 4:00 p.m.
Single tickets go on sale December 11th.

Put on your disco boots and join our dancing queens as HMC celebrates one of the greatest bands in popular music history. Featuring everything in the ABBA repertoire from “Take a Chance on Me!” to “Mamma Mia,” you’re sure to be singing at the top of your lungs before the curtain falls. We plan to be completely silly and have a great time as you say, “Thank you for the music!” Single tickets available online beginning Monday, December 11, 2017.

 

Indivisible (SUMMER SHOW)

June 9-10, 2018 | Folly Theater, Kansas City, MO

Sat., June. 9, 8:00 p.m.

Sun., June 10, 4:00 p.m.

Ever wonder about the phrase “With Liberty and Justice for All?” We certainly do and with the prejudice, inequality, bias and discrimination happening in the world around us, Heartland Men’s Chorus will present our response with, “Indivisible.” HMC will be joining forces with the National World War I Memorial and Museum to celebrate the principles of our great nation’s founding . . . that ALL are created equal. Single tickets available online beginning Monday, March 26, 2018.

 

Season tickets starting at $72 are on sale to the public through Packages With Beaus.

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Please direct all media inquiries to Rick Fisher,
816-931-3338 or
hmc@hmckc.org.

From the Heart: Huge Success!

Following Heartland Men’s Chorus’ debut concert, November 10, 2017, at The United Methodist Church of the Resurrection in Leawood, Rick Fisher, Executive Director of Heartland Men’s Chorus (HMC), confirmed that it was one of the largest audiences the chorus has ever enjoyed. “Taking that kind of momentum into the regular season is exhilarating and helps to confirm for staff and chorus member alike that our mission and message is resounding throughout Kansas City. We are especially thrilled to have attracted such a large crowd in a new area of the community and right before we open our regular season,” said Fisher.

The magnificent new sanctuary at The Church of the Resurrection with The Resurrection Window (that stretches nearly 100 feet across and three stories high) served as a beautiful backdrop to the 90-minute concert. The concert featured a veritable “greatest hits” of the Chorus, including favorite “Like Dust I Rise.” Based upon four Maya Angelou poems (“On the Pulse of Morning,” “ aged Bird,” “Equality,” “Still I Rise”) the work was composed by internationally renowned composer and resident Kansas Citian, Mark Hayes, who was on hand to perform with the Chorus as well as several of his own pieces from his recent album. The Angelou poem, “Still I Rise,” was “spoken” by Angelou herself to excerpts of her writings flashings across the 100-foot screen.

According to Mike Alley of KCMetropolis, “There were several times I was brought to tears as the evening progressed. In those moments, sometimes it was the beauty of the melodies, and sometimes it was the sentiment in the lyrics, introductions, or spoken-word narratives. At other times, it was probably due to hearing such music within the vibrant sanctuary, with its amazing one-hundred-foot stained glass sculpture above the choir loft; or the projections of colorful sunsets, volcanoes, ocean waves, and excerpts from Maya Angelou’s inspiring poems flashed at exactly the right time during a song. But in the end, it is the seamless merge of the tenor, baritone, and bass parts, and the clarity of the phrasing and enunciation by the Chorus’ 80 voices under Cates’s baton that made the 14 songs and medleys performed work. Trust me, folks: hearing this level of proficiency, hearing the harmonies, dynamics, and crisp lyrics all working together this well in live performance by 80 voices is something very, very special.”

To view photos of the concert, click here to link to Photographer Susan McSpadden’s photo gallery.

Todd Gregory-Gibbs on “1,000 Beautiful Things”

Todd Gregory Gibbs

Beginning rehearsals for musical documentary “Modern Families” (presented March 2015), I didn’t anticipate the relationship I was about to have with Annie Lennox’s remarkable song “A Thousand Beautiful Things” (“Bare” 2003).

I first joined HMC in 1990 and a lot can happen in 27 years. My chorus family has been beside me through many milestones; both triumphs and tragedies

It was early 2015 and I was navigating a rough patch. As we rehearsed, I felt drawn to “A Thousand Beautiful Things,” arranged for HMC by Tim Sarsany.

Explaining any direct correlation between how I was feeling (lost, sad, angry…) and the song itself would be tough, but I felt “Thousand” – especially the way HMC sang it under Dustin’s direction – was unique and powerful, important. I auditioned for the solo and was gifted with the opportunity and privilege of singing it for “Modern Families,” which for me became a profoundly meaningful (not to mention cathartic) experience.
I assumed we were finished with “Thousand,” and naturally said goodbye to singing the solo. I was thrilled when Dustin asked if I’d sing it again for HMC’s 30th anniversary concert “I Rise” (presented June 2016), and I jumped at the chance.

I can’t describe it fully, but it’s something like being a superhero, with 200 of your best superhero friends by your side, taking down injustice and ignorance. Then there’s the sound from the chorus itself: awe-inspiring; dramatic, glorious! Who wouldn’t want to do that again?

During rehearsals for “I Rise,” I learned we’d perform “A Thousand Beautiful Things” again that summer, for GALA Choruses 2016 Festival in Denver. Again, thrilled: imagine being a superhero with 200 of your best superhero friends by your side taking down injustice and ignorance before an audience of thousands MORE superheroes who ALSO take down injustice and ignorance, every day!

Before GALA, we also included “Thousand” in HMC’s “Testimony Tour,” an outreach effort presented throughout the state of Kansas. We were welcomed graciously everywhere we sang, particularly at the Equality House in Topeka (truly a beautiful thing).

“A Thousand Beautiful Things” has indeed been a privilege to sing with HMC. It’s been an outlet for every negative feeling I’ve had, but much more importantly, it’s presented an opportunity to rejoice for any and every reason. To rejoice even if only for being alive at this time, in this place, out of all human history. That’s the nearest I can come to describing what it means to me.

As I’m writing, we’re rehearsing for HMC’s first-ever fall offering, “From the Heart.” I’m grateful and pleased we’re singing “A Thousand Beautiful Things” one more time, in a new (to us) venue, hopefully for an audience of many old and new friends!

Rev. Carol Stubbs Smith on “I Sing Out”

Carol Smith2

When I chose to fund Heartland Men’s Chorus’ commissioning of composer Mark Hayes to create a piece that would support HMC’s vision statement, I had no idea how perfect his work would be, that with every crescendo it would enlighten, inspire, heal and empower… and then some!

Times have changed, thank goodness, for LGBT men and women and their family and friends, letting their truth be known… it didn’t used to be and still isn’t in some faith communities and certain parts of our country.

I’ve had the privilege of listening to their stories through counseling and in many advocacy trips both near and far. Many others have been thrown out of their homes into the streets to fend for themselves. One extreme case was shared. After coming out to his parents a young man’s pastor-father placed a gun in his son’s room and said “you know what to do with it.” That’s beyond the pale. But there also are millions who say the accept their son or daughter but emphasize that homosexuality is a sin and many take that insult in order to keep a relationship with family.

But there is an alternative. My son’s story is happily different. Twenty five years ago he got up the courage to come out to his father and me. As gay positive as I thought I was, I cried. It’s an automatic reaction. In that moment, a mother may feel as if s the hasn’t known her son or daughter and grieves that he hasn’t felt like telling her before. My son actually nurtured me in that moment, asking me to explain. I did, and the moment passed in brief time. His father also accepted him unconditionally as did his sister and the rest is a happy family history.

Carol SmithEven if the coming out experience is in adulthood it is vital to the quality of life for any LGBT person and loved ones.

HMC strives to support LGBT persons in living an honest and full life. Not only in concerts but in long trips and to local schools they reach out to all ages voicing their encouragement.

Mark Hayes has penned a song that does this beautifully, showing in music that “there’s got to be a better way.”

If you are in the closet, you are living the life of a former prejudiced time, you are missing out on an open and honest life. Your are hiding. If you are a parent or family member or friend the same is true. If quietly supporting them, or worse, not supporting at all… now is the time to get off the bench and openly be there for them.  SING OUT!

“Life gets better, the future’s brighter, burdens are lighter when with our voices we sing out.”

Gay or straight, I urge you to find ways to stand up for inclusion in this retro-political era of leaders who strive for exclusion.

Join the chorus or one of the many fine Kansas City organizations advocating for what is right. What is the alternative? Hiding in the closet you have built for yourself or loved ones? I ask you to Sing Out! Bless you in your continued journey.

Nancy Nail on “I Love You More”

Nancy Nail

HMC Guest Soloist Nancy Nail Shares Thoughts on What Singing the Role of Jane Clementi in Tyler’s Suite Has Meant to Her.

Singing “I Love You More” from Tyler’s Suite has been life changing for me. I have always, always enjoyed singing with HMC but this song has become very special. After getting the call to sing in Identify with HMC in March of 2017 from Dustin Cates, I have to admit that I knew nothing about Tyler Clementi or Tyler’s Suite. Shame on me. But what I found out was mind-blowing.

Tyler was a talented young musician who committed suicide after being bullied by his freshman roommate. An 18-year-old college student at Rutgers University, Tyler was being intimate with another man when his roommate surreptitiously recorded it and put word of it on the Internet.  Humiliated, Tyler killed himself by jumping off the George Washington Bridge. After hearing about the tragedy, Broadway composer Stephen Schwartz gathered a team of renowned composers to raise awareness about anti-gay bullying. Tyler’s Suite is based upon hundreds of hours of interviews with the Clementi family after Tyler died, and gives voice to the experiences of Tyler and his family, shining a light of hope on tragedy. One of the songs written, “I Love You More,” represents the voice of his mother, Jane Clementi.

Through all of my research, I wanted to learn more about Tyler. But more importantly, for my role with the Chorus, I wanted to learn about Jane. In college, I majored in acting and have always approached singing from an “actor’s” point of view.  It was important to me to understand Jane Clementi. What I found was that Jane, through such a horrible tragedy, had chosen to take her pain and start a foundation in the name of Tyler. Jane created a place for conversations, a place to elevate issues, to help people understand, to bring topics out into the light, to take away shame and embarrassment. What an incredibly strong woman!

So every time I sing “I Love You More” I am doing so as “Jane.” My strength to sing comes from her. To sing it in any other way, at least for me, would do the song an injustice. It’s not about me … Nancy Nail … when I sing it. It’s about Jane and her family. It’s quite emotional, but the song brings such an important message. Make sure to tell the ones we love how important they are, and how much we love them and support them. As a mother of two children, I can’t imagine having to go through what Jane endured. I must admit, when learning the solo at home, I could NOT make it through to the end for several weeks, as I would start to cry and have to walk away. As every emotion of losing a child would sweep over me, I literally could not continue.

Singing “I Love You More” at the Folly last March and getting to meet and know Jane Clementi was really amazing. Then to be asked to “understudy” Ann Hampton Callaway at Lincoln Center in May with DCINY and Dr. Tim Seelig conducting! Well it was truly one of those “Ah Hah” moments that I will never, ever forget. The song has absolutely changed me. I told Jane Clementi as I have told others that have asked how I get through the song without crying. I can’t quite explain it because I did not know Tyler, but I feel him around me every single time I sing it. I know that Tyler is with me every step of the way.

Brian William on “Everything Possible”

Brian Williams I fell in love with Fred Small’s beautiful lullaby, “Everything Possible,” when I first heard it on The Flirtations maiden album in 1990.  Chills still run down my spine whenever I hear it sung by Heartland Men’s Chorus.

“Everything Possible” is a parent’s song of unconditional love and affirmation, and of unlimited possibilities for living a genuine and authentic life. The parent’s offer, in the opening verse, to “sing you a song no one sang to me,” makes me wonder how different my growing up, and my life, would have been if my parents had sung a similar song to me.  Tears well up in my eyes when the lullaby affirms:

You can be anybody you want to be,

You can love whomever you will.

You can travel any country where your heart leads

And know that I will love you still.

I grew up in a fairly conservative, white, Protestant, rural community.  Conformity to social norms was strictly enforced at school, at church, and at home.  If you wanted the friendship and respect of your peers, and if you wanted to succeed in school and in life, you had to look and behave just like everyone else.  Nonconformists were taunted as “sissies” or “tomboys” or “queers”, and no one could be friends with someone like that.  In response, the song counsels:

Brian & SteveDon’t be rattled by taunts, by games,

But seek out spirits true.

If you give your friends the best part of yourself,

They’ll give the same back to you.

If only that could have been true, both for me and for untold numbers of LGBT youth who learned to hide and deny our true selves in order to conform.  It is unfathomable how much energy is wasted by trying to conform and “pass”’; unimaginable how many young gay lives have been lost to teen suicide or maimed by bullying and harassment.

The ultimate moral of the lullaby is grounded in love.  After opening the world of possibilities and encouraging the listener to pursue their dreams and to be true to their authentic selves, the song exhorts:

And the only measure of your words and your deeds

Will be the love you leave behind when you’re done.

My late partner, Steve Metzler, and I loved the powerful message of this song so much that I asked Heartland Men’s Chorus to sing it at his funeral.  So many of our friends came up later to ask about “that song,” and how moved they were by it.  This song embodies the HMC vision:  “Our voices enlighten, inspire, heal and empower.”