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 https://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.



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.


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!


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.



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