HMCKC Welcomes New Creative Team Member

The Heartland Men’s Chorus (HMCKC) is excited to announce the addition of choreographer Valerie Martin to its creative team. Martin will be joining the HMCKC family for her first production, “HMCKC presents AFTER ALL: 60 YEARS OF CHER!”

Martin is no stranger to the Kansas City theater scene, having previously choreographed and/or directed for Theater in the Park, The Barn Players Community Theatre, OCTA – Olathe Civic Theatre Association, White Theatre at the JCC, and the Church of the Resurrection. She also has a long history of activism and advocacy and is the resident choreographer for Shawnee Mission West and Blue Valley West high schools, and she also teaches private lessons and coaching.

Martin’s work with Sharp Women, LLC includes choreographing “Overture the Musical,” which won the Best of Fest-Audience Choice Prize at the New York Musical Festival in 2019.

“I am excited and humbled to join the HMCKC family,” said Martin. “Working with the Chorus is a true combination of allyship and art, and I’m thrilled to get to share my joy and love of dance with new collaborators and audiences.”

The Heartland Men’s Chorus is thrilled to have Martin on board and looks forward to her contributions to the upcoming production of “AFTER ALL: 60 YEARS OF CHER!”

For more information about the Heartland Men’s Chorus and upcoming events, please visit

HMCKC Become Leading Men of Broadway

Here is your next chance to see members of the chorus on stage before our next concert!

The Heartland Men’s Chorus joins your Kansas City Symphony for BROADWAY’S LEADING MEN – the music of Andrew Lloyd Webber, Stephen Sondheim, Rodgers and Hammerstein, and more. Jack Everly conducts, September 23-25 at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts.

Jack Everlyguest conductor
Heartland Men’s Chorus, Shawn Cullenartistic director/conductor
Ben Crawford, guest vocalist 
Jim Hogan, guest vocalist 
Jacob Dickey, guest vocalist 
Shereen Pimentel, guest vocalist 

Friday, September 23, 2022 8:00 PM  Sunday, September 25, 2022 2:00 PM

More info and tickets at


Heartland Men’s Chorus Announces New Executive Director

HMCKC announces the promotion of HMCKC Development Director, Dudley Hogue to Executive Director after the retirement of Rick Fisher on June 30, 2022. 

Dudley has served the Heartland Mens Chorus Kansas City in a variety of roles, on and off stage. He has been a performer, Board Chair, Production Manager, Choreographer, and event chair all prior to becoming the Development Director in 2019.

“I am incredibly excited to become the Executive Director of the Heartland Men’s Chorus Kansas City,” Hogue says. “It is important to me to continue the legacy of the Chorus and improve community building while increasing support for this fine organization.” 

In his former life, Dudley was the Executive Director of the New York City Gay Mens Chorus, Executive Director of the Kansas City Womens Chorus, Board member for GALA Choruses, as well as Advancement Director and Interim Executive Director for GALA Choruses, during which he helped plan GALA Festivals. Dudley has been seen on the stages of many community theater productions throughout the Kansas City region and has been on several not-for-profit boards across the country. Dudley is passionate about LGBTQIA causes, and what the performing arts can do to move us all closer to equality. 

Heartland Men’s Chorus Hires First Business Manager

After 36 seasons, HMCKC is growing and expanding with the hiring of Vince Pugh in the newly created position of Business Manager. Vince started July 1st in the new role and he will manage the day-to-day operations of the organization, including accounting functions, and ticket sales.  He will also assist in event planning and donor relations. 

Vince Pugh brings years of organizational and project management experience with a passion for the performance arts. Most recently, Vince worked at the Mid-America LGBT Chamber of Commerce where he led all marketing, events, and programming. Vince understands the importance of community and what’s required to help foster an organization built on creativity.

Vince has a diverse background in event planning, musical theatre, and interdepartmental management. His experience married with his love for people has him eager for this new chapter.

In his free time, he enjoys running marathons, performing, and spending time with his husband, David and their two fur babies, Stevie and Birdie.

HMCKC Becomes Top 2022 AIDS Walk Kansas City Team

HMCKC Becomes Top 2022 AIDS Walk Kansas City Team

For the past 34 years, Kansas City has come together to raise money to support those men, women, and children affected by HIV and AIDS with AIDSWalkKC and the AIDS Service Foundation. The foundation provides educational and financial resources to four local organizations that directly support the more than 5,700 men, women, and children in Kansas City affected by HIV/AIDS.

Heartland Men’s Chorus kicked off our fundraising campaign to support AIDSWalk Kansas City 2022 at the end of February and set a goal of $15,000. Heartland Men’s Chorus has a long history of support and is one of the many proud sponsors of this iconic event. As members of the organization, we came together and created fundraising pages, participated in raffles to raise money during rehearsals, collected donations after our Spring and Summer concerts, and donated to personal fundraising pages. In addition, on the day of the walk, during the opening ceremonies, we entertained and created event energy by singing three songs from our Spring concert.

We are proud of the efforts of our membership and the support of all those who donated. We raised $14,036 and, although short of our $15,000 goal, ended as the top contributing fundraising team for 2022. We know all these funds stay local and look forward to being an AIDSWalkKC 2023 Partner.

HMCKC’s First Executive Director is Retiring After 25 years!

After 25 years of dedicated service to HMCKC, Executive Director Rick Fisher will retire on June 30, 2022. In Heartland Men’s Chorus Kansas City (HMCKC) history, only one individual has served as Executive Director.

For over two decades, Rick has worked diligently to ensure the financial security of the Chorus. He has established himself as a leader in the local LGBTQIA and Kanas City arts communities. Throughout the changing history of the last 25 years, Rick has served as an unwavering and constant influence for the Chorus.

Rick’s legacy looms large in the history of HMCKC. It seems only appropriate that his accomplishments be recognized as he retires. At his suggestion, we are asking you to join us in honoring him by donating to our endowment fund, a fund that Rick helped create. We hope to raise $25,000 to celebrate Rick and ensure a bright future for HMCKC. Any questions regarding the endowment fund and/or this fundraising effort can be sent to Dudley Hogue, Development Director, at

Rick will be honored at our performances of Unbreakable at the Folly Theater on June 11 and 12, 2022. We hope you will be there to help us celebrate Rick and his invaluable contributions to Heartland Men’s Chorus.

HMC Announces Artistic Director Appointment

For Immediate Release

CONTACT: Rick Fisher



Heartland Men’s Chorus Announces Artistic Director Appointment

KANSAS CITY, MO (May 1, 2020) — The board of directors  of Heartland Men’s Chorus (HMC), today announced Shawn Cullen has been appointed as the permanent Artistic Director of the Chorus. High res photos and video for media use can be found here.

Shawn Cullen, educator, conductor, and artistic director, has earned a reputation for his dedication to musical excellence and striving to make a difference within the communities of which he is part. Of his new role, Shawn said, “”I love being a part of a magic that only music can make. I get to see the impact of such a one-of-a-kind experience for the singers each week-and on the faces of our amazing Kansas City audiences that support the HMC legacy.”

His past leadership includes eight years as Artistic Director/Conductor for Reveille Men’s Chorus & Desert Voices Mixed Chorus, Southern Arizona’s GALA Choruses, and most recently as director of HMC’s small ensemble, Burnt Ends. Recognized for his skills as a versatile music educator, Mr. Cullen has held positions in K-12 instrumental/vocal music, adjunct faculty at the University of Arizona Fred Fox School of Music and conductor for the Arizona Repertory Theater with many credits including “Into the Woods”, “Avenue Q”, “The Full Monty”, and “EVITA.” Mr. Cullen is currently a Graduate Teaching Fellow at the University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory completing course work towards his Ph.D. and serves as Director of Music at the Shawnee Mission Unitarian Universalist Church. Mr. Cullen holds a Bachelor’s of Music Education and a Masters of Music in Conducting from the University of Arizona and is a proud member of the national board of directors for GALA Choruses.

Cullen has served as Interim Artistic Director for the 2019-2020 season, while HMC conducted a national search for a permanent director. The cost of the search was generously funded by former chorus member, Cliff Schiappa, in memory of his mother, Norma S. Menck. Search Committee chairperson, Steve Dodge, said, “we held all of the applicants to an extremely high level of performance in the areas of education, musicianship, experience, accomplishments, and artistic vision. We were delighted to find all of those qualities already in our midst in our very own Shawn Cullen.”

HMC currently does not have a concert scheduled due to the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic, but planning is underway for the next concert season. An announcement about future performances is expected in the next few weeks.


ABOUT HEARTLAND MEN’S CHORUS – Heartland Men’s Chorus ( is Kansas City’s gay men’s chorus, now in its 34th 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 26 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.”

Honoring the 50th Anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising 

Libby Hanssen  | KC Studio

February 27, 2019

Heartland Men’s Chorus Presents World Premiere of “Quiet No More: A Choral Celebration of Stonewall 50”

In March, the Heartland Men’s Chorus honors the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall uprising as they present the world premiere of “Quiet No More: A Choral Celebration of Stonewall 50.”

Co-commissioned with the New York City Gay Men’s Chorus and Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles, along with over 20 other ensembles, it is the largest co-commissioned project in the history of gay and lesbian choruses.

The eight-movement work, from six composers, honors the events (sometimes termed “riots,” while others prefer “uprising”) that occurred in and around Greenwich Village’s Stonewall Inn. It began June 28, 1969, when a police raid on a gay-friendly bar turned into nights of protests, lighting the flame for LGBT activism. Every year since, the anniversary of the gay liberation movement is marked by Gay Pride Marches in New York City and across the world.

Instead of recreating the timeline of events, the work “celebrates the big ideas Stonewall stands for,” said Dustin Cates, artistic director of the Heartland Men’s Chorus.

“‘Quiet No More’ is starting in the heart of the country, which I think has some symbolism,” said Cates. Predating Stonewall, LGBT rights activists from across the country met in Kansas City in 1966 for the National Planning Conference of Homophile Organizations, the first nationwide meeting of this kind. Today, a historical marker in Barney Allis Plaza designates this meeting. “Some say the gay rights movement began (here),” said Cates, “and that Stonewall is where it took off.”

Jason Cannon is one of the forces behind the creation of “Quiet No More.” He sang with the NYCGMC for 15 years but has since taken a more behind-the-scenes role, writing and directing. He spearheaded the research, which took nine months, and wrote the creative brief for the composers, as well as the dialogue between the works, which serves to set the stage for Greenwich Village in 1969.

“It was fascinating to take a deep dive into the nuances of this event that happened in 1969,” said Cannon. “I have always heard about the uprising in broad terms, and it was interesting to dive into the details. The weather was very hot on the night of the uprising, there was a full moon, the bouncer at Stonewall would flash lights on the dance floor to signal that the cops were in the lobby.”

“What I learned was that it was not an easy thing to trace. A lot of the people who had been at the uprising are no longer living. And because there was such a whirlwind of activity, even amongst people who were there, there are disputes about what actually happened.

“It’s still a little bit of a mystery and we try to maintain some of that mystery. We decided it wasn’t our job necessarily to solve the puzzle, but we did our best to take what the historians had pieced together and present it in a way we thought the audience can try to experience,” said Cannon.

He likens the performance more to a radio play than a historical documentary, letting the music and words facilitate the audience’s imagination. “It was more of a goal to place the audience into, as best we could, some sort of experience that emulates what happened, and let them decide where they would have been standing at that time,” he said.

“Quiet No More” includes contributions from Michael Shaieb, Our Lady J, Julian Hornik, Michael McElroy, Ann Hampton Callaway and Jane Ramseyer Miller, familiar forces in the LGBT chorus world and beyond.

This method, said Cannon, brings together different points of view, different voices and different music styles. “We gave these composers a lot of creative license. We really wanted their voices to shine through,” he said.

In June, New York City Gay Men’s Chorus performs “Quiet No More” in Carnegie Hall, as part of WorldPride, a month-long celebration of LGBT pride. It’s the first time the international celebration will be held in the United States.

A cohort of 400 singers from choruses across the country joins together in this performance. “We are sending a delegation of our singers . . . there’s no venue big enough for all the members of all the choruses, except maybe Madison Square Garden,” joked Cates. Similarly, a delegation will travel to Los Angeles in July for a performance in Walt Disney Hall that also celebrates the 40th anniversary of the Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles.

Along with “Quiet No More,” HMC performs works that “highlight some things that are uniquely Kansas City and the LGBTQIA community,” said Cates, including the participation of fellow LGBT musical organizations: Heartsong, a small ensemble from the Kansas City Women’s Chorus, and Choral Spectrum, a recently formed Soprano, Alto, Tenor, Bass (SATB) LGBT chorus.

“The other half of the concert will take a modern day look at the LGBT rights movement, with the narrative that advocacy for these rights is advocacy for the rights of all of us,” Cates said.

Much of that repertoire speaks to the need to live with authenticity and hope, such as “This Is Me” from “The Greatest Showman;” Annie Lennox’s “A Thousand Beautiful Things;” “You Will Be Found” from “Dear Evan Hanson;” to the more humorous “Way Ahead of My Time.”

That half of the concert closes with “All Of Us” from Craig Hella Johnson’s “Considering Matthew Shepard.” This piece was part of the service at the National Cathedral, where Shepard’s ashes, 20 years after his murder, were interred in October 2018.

Though Stonewall was a violent reaction to injustice, spurred by anger and fear, over the past 50 years this legacy has transformed into a message of unity, perseverance and pride.

Thirty minutes before each performance, Stuart Hinds, Assistant Dean for Special Collections and University Archivist at UMKC, will discuss the pivotal role of Kansas City in the national struggle for gay and lesbian civil rights before the 1969 Stonewall uprising. Hinds will also touch on Kansas City’s very active social scene during the same period.

Heartland Men’s Chorus presents “Stonewall 50: All of Us” March 23 at 8 p.m. and March 24 at 4 p.m. at the Folly Theater, 300 W. 12th St. For information visit

HMC’s “From the Heart”

HMC’s “From the Heart:”  A virtual “greatest hits” that connects with long-time audience members and the community.

KANSAS CITY, MO (September 29, 2017) — Dustin S. Cates, Artistic Director of Heartland Men’s Chorus (HMC), announced Monday their 32nd year will start for the first time in the month of November by adding a fall performance, From the Heart, at The United Methodist Church of the Resurrection in Leawood, Kansas. A goal of Artistic Director Cates since he began in 2014 has been expanding to a fourth concert to help raise awareness of the chorus with new audiences in southern Johnson County.  

The concert is at 7:30 p.m., Friday, November 10, in the magnificent new Church of the Resurrection sanctuary under Resurrection Window, the world’s largest stained glass window. From the Heart celebrates the chorus that has made a huge impact in the LGBT community in the heartland. The performance will include audience favorites from years past, a veritable “Greatest Hits” of the Chorus. The concert will also feature Kansas City musician Mark Hayes, an internationally known and award-winning composer, arranger, pianist and conductor who has more than 1,000 publications in print. His work includes compositions for piano, orchestras, jazz combos, small ensembles and choruses of all kinds. “Creating beautiful music for the world” in his home here in Kansas City, Hayes’ local roots are a blessing for Heartland Men’s Chorus as he’s composed more music for HMC than any other composer. Hayes will perform music from his recently released piano solo album.

In addition, HMC will perform “I Sing Out,” “Grace,” and back by popular demand “Like Dust I Rise,” commissioned for HMC’s 30th Anniversary season. Based upon four of Maya Angelou’s poems including “On the Pulse of Morning,” “Caged Bird,” “Equality,” and “Still I Rise,” the composition powerfully addresses discrimination as Angelou’s words resonate with hope and personal resilience in the face of opposition. Chorus member Steve Dodge has written “Each time we sing ‘Equality,’ I am reminded of the forces at work to take away hard earned rights of the LGBT community. As we sing her words, we stand together to send a message that no one is free until we are ALL free. ‘Equality, and I shall be free.’”

Completing the performance are works including “A Thousand Beautiful Things,” by Annie Lennox, a song that holds surprising meaning for long-time chorus member Todd Gregory-Gibbs. “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.” In addition, the chorus will sing favorites “Thanksgiving Song,” by Mary Chapin Carpenter, “I Love You More,” by Ann Hampton Callaway, (from “Tyler’s Suite,” sung by soloist Nancy Nail), and “Dust in the Wind,” by Kerry Livgren, among others. Nancy Nail reminisced about singing the role of Jane Clementi (who lost her son to suicide after being cyber bullied by his college roommate). “It’s not about me…Nancy Nail … when I sing it. It’s quite emotional but such an important message. It’s about telling the ones we love how important they are, and how much we love them and support them,” said Nancy.

Tickets to the fall performance From The Heart at the United Methodist Church of the Resurrection are on sale now. Purchase online at or call816-931-3338.

ABOUT HEARTLAND MEN’S CHORUS – Heartland Men’s Chorus ( 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 24 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. The Kansas City Star has called Heartland Men’s Chorus “one of the most beloved arts institutions in Kansas City.”

Visit 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 816-816-931-3338.


Parking at HMC Venues

Information for Folly Theater parking can be found online at 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 at COR is readily available and free to the public. Parking is also free and freely available at JCCC’s Carlsen Center.


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 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 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!


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 to are on sale December 4th.

We hope you’ll 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 to 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. All season subscribers receive free tickets to From the Heart.



Please direct all media inquiries to Rick Fisher, 816-931-3338 or


Tickets on Sale Now for Kansas City Christmas!

KCC16 HMC website graphicHeartland Men’s Chorus
2016-17 Season Kicks Off with a
“Classy, Brassy and Sassy” Kansas City Christmas

Tickets are on sale NOW for what is fast becoming one of Kansas City’s favorite non-traditional holiday traditions, Kansas City Christmas! In its third year, Kansas City Christmas brings an exciting blend of familiar carols, choral classics and hilariously zany twists on your favorite holiday music.

What is helping to build the audiences of Kansas City Christmas? According to critics, it’s the unusual combination of a more serious first half combined with a really eclectic second half. It features something for everyone and will leave you laughing out loud and ready for the holidays.

Artistic Director, Dustin S. Cates, recently commented on the fun task of choosing the music, “I love my job! Where else can you combine John Rutter’s Gloria with a wacky tribute to the holiday love-it-or-hate-it FRUITCAKE?”

To help take things to a feverish height, add in the Volker Brass from UMKC Conservatory of Music and Dance and you have a celebration you can’t miss.
“Classy, Brassy and Sassy!”

So don’t wait! Get your tickets now . . . you have two locations from which to choose, the Folly Theater or Yardley Hall at Johnson County Community College.

“Kansas City Christmas” will be performed at 8 p.m. Saturday, December 3rd and 4 p.m. Sunday, December 4th at the historic Folly Theater, 300 W. 12th Street in Kansas City, and Saturday, December 10th, at Yardley Hall in the Carlson Center, on the campus of Johnson County Community College., in Overland Park, Kansas.

Tickets to the Folly performances are available online at or by calling 816-931-3338. Yardley Hall performances must 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 today!