BWW Preview: Heartland Men’s Chorus Presents MODERN FAMILIES

Steve Wilson |

Diversity in the American family is the theme of Modern Families presented by the Heartland Men’s Chorus at the Folly Theater on March 28 and 29. The chorus continues with its series of musical documentaries that use music, narration, and multi-media elements to illustrate social issues.

“I wanted to celebrate the love and dignity that all families deserve,” said Dustin S. Cates, Artistic Director for the chorus. “There is no such thing as a ‘typical’ family. It seems every person defines the word family in slightly different way.” Heartland Men’s Chorus, Kansas City’s gay men’s chorus, will present songs and stories specific to LGBT families but Cates expects the concert to appeal to all types of families.

Music from the production is diverse, including classical works, contemporary pop songs, and rap. The program opens with the Lawrence Children’s Choir performing a set of four songs. The men’s chorus joins them in “The Weaver,” a new commission by local composer Jacob Narverud. The first act includes “Luminescence,” an original song by Dr. Andrea Ramsey, which commemorates the birth of Cates son, Emmaus.

The musical documentary comprises the concert‘s second act, and includes “Not My Father’s Son” from the Broadway musical Kinky Boots, Annie Lennox‘s “A Thousand Beautiful Things,” and Rene Clausen’s “Set Me as a Seal.” “Marry Us” and “In My Mother’s Eyes” two popular songs by Robert Seeley will be featured. “Same Love” by Ryan Lewis and Macklemore marks the first time the men’s chorus performs a contemporary rap number and features local rap artist EvoKlone Alex.

Nancy Bean, a Kansas City adoption social worker and member of MAFA, will facilitate a pre-show discussion on the topic of family building in the LGBT community beginning 20 minutes prior to each performance. To further illustrate the diversity in contemporary families, audience members are invited to submit photos of their “modern families” via the chorus’s website, to be shared on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram with the hashtag #OurModernFamilies.

Modern Families runs at the Folly Theater at 8 p.m. on Saturday March 28 and 4 p.m. on Sunday March 29. Purchase tickets by calling 816-931-3338 or online at the Heartland Men’s Chorus website. Photo courtesy of the Heartland Men’s Chorus.