Heartland Men’s Chorus end the season with an outstanding show

Steve Wilson | Examiner.com

The Folly Theater in downtown Kansas City, Mo. came to life Saturday June 8 with the summer concert of the Heartland Men’s Chorus. The program titled Heart and Soul, Music of the 50’s closes out the 2012-2013 season.

This was yet another fantastic performance by the members of the Heartland Men’s Chorus. Many of the songs were uplifting, toe tapping and from the sounds around the lower balcony, being sang by several members of the audience. Audience participation was encouraged especially during the “Mitch Miller Medley.” In the program was a sheet with the music to several numbers including “The Yellow Rose of Texas” and “Shine On, Harvest Moon” among others. Josh Krueger performed a solo during the sing along of “Hot Diggity.”

Each year a chance to be a guest conductor is raffled off to the audience. This year during the sing along the winner conducted the song “Heart Of My Heart.” She was later called on to again appear on stage, not as a conductor, but as Mona Lisa, as the chorus sang the song of the same name.

The first act ended with “Triplets And Timpani Medley,” which included a solo by Jeff Williams, performing “Be My Love.” Several songs were accompanied by both male and female dancers. Though the choreography was appropriate the actual dancing may have been missing a few steps. Even with the minor timing errors they were fun to watch and added to the entertaining chorus.

Inside the chorus is a group of six men known as the Heartaches and includes Todd Kendall Gregory-Downs, Jeff Williams, Brandon Shelton, John Edmonds, Shawn Revelle and Dana Wood. The group sang “Standing on the Corner” and then opened the second act with “Sh-Boom (Life Could Be a Dream)” and then performed “Why Do fools Fall In Love.” As fabulous as the entire chorus is, it still is enhanced by the Heartaches. The second act proved to be even more upbeat than the highly enjoyable first act with songs like “Jailhouse Rock,” “Blue Suede Shoes” and “Catch A Falling Star.”

One of the highlights of the show was baritone John Edmonds solo of “I Went To Your Wedding” during the “Wedding Medley.” The hilarity that ensued when Edmonds began to cry an exaggerated sobbing as he sung had the audience laughing and giggling through the entire number. The creativity of the number was remarkable.

Though this production is the jukebox sounds of the fifties the Heartland Men’s Chorus was not to be outdone by the likes of such superstars as Janet Jackson and Mariah Carey. During a dance number a female dancer wearing a poodle skirt was faced with the dreaded wardrobe malfunction. After trying to continue dancing while holding it up she finally had to run off stage clasping onto it tightly. Her dance partner looked like a lost puppy as he started to dance alone and then ran off following her.

The show continued on Sunday. The only regret of the show is that it is the last one until December when the chorus performs “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” to kick-start their 2013-2014 season.