Heartland Men’s Chorus has announced its 29th season, the first under the artistic leadership of Dustin S. Cates. Cates was chosen as artistic director after a national search earlier this year, and guest conducted the chorus during the spring 2014 program I Am Harvey Milk.
The season will begin with the holiday concert, Kansas City Christmas, December 5-7, 2014. The program will highlight local holiday traditions, as well as local musicians. Five Kansas City area composers, including Eugene Butler, Jake Navarud and Mark Hayes, will create new arrangements for the chorus.
More than 3,000 audience members join the chorus for its holiday program due to its mix of traditional music and outrageous humor. This season’s offering will follow the same proven format, with well-known carols (“Lo, How a Rose E’er Blooming,” “I’ll Be Home for Christmas”) and some holiday hijinks courtesy of cast members from Kansas City’s Late Night Theatre.
March 28 and 29, 2015, the group presents Modern Families. The chorus has achieved critical and popular success with previous “musical documentaries,” combining music, narration and multi-media to illuminate a timely social issue. The changing face of American families was an issue close to Cates’s heart. He and his partner Raymond Cattaneo became parents to a son, Emmaus, born in 2011.
“The two most important aspects of my life are my family and music making,” said Cates. “When working to create a series of meaningful, diverse and entertaining concerts for HMC’s 29th season exploring the power, dignity and love of families in all forms was a natural starting point.”
Lawrence Children’s Choir will join HMC for the concert, which includes such varied offerings as “Not My Father’s Son” from the Broadway musical Kinky Boots, an encore performance of the popular song “In My Mother’s Eyes,” and Andrea Ramsey’s “Luminescence,” a song written to commemorate the birth of Cates’s son.
The chorus closes the season with A Little Bit Wicked June 13-14, 2015, a concert celebrating the music of composer Stephen Schwartz. Currently represented on Broadway with Wicked and Pippin, Schwartz’s catalogue includes the musicals Godspell, The Magic Show and Children of Eden, plus scores for the films Enchanted, Pocahontas, and The Hunchback of Notre Dame.
The program also includes lesser-known Schwarz works, including “Keramos,” Schwartz’s choral setting of a Henry Wadworth Longfellow poem. The finale to the concert will be the Midwest premiere of “Testimony,” a poignant new work inspired by the video testimonials of the “It Gets Better Project.”
Also on tap for the season will be The Big Gay Sing. Part raucous variety show and part audience sing-along, the event is modeled after the wildly popular New York City Gay Men’s Chorus event of the same name. A venue and dates for The Big Gay Sing will be announced later in the year.
The chorus will welcome new members when rehearsals begin on September 2, 2014. Cates expects the group to perform with 130-150 men this season. Heartland Men’s Chorus is Kansas City’s gay men’s chorus, singing out in the Midwest since 1986.
All performances take place at the Folly Theater, 300 West 12th Street, Kansas City, Missouri. Season tickets from $72.00 – $114.00 are available now by phone at (816) 931-3338 and online at https://hmckc.org.
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