Men’s choruses perform tribute to Harvey Milk

Aaron Pellish | Columbia Missourian

COLUMBIA — The Heartland Men’s Chorus of Kansas City and the Gateway Men’s Chorus of St. Louis performed a rehearsal Saturday night of “I Am Harvey Milk,” a collection of songs about gay rights icon Harvey Milk.

The choruses put on a free preview performance at Columbia’s Missouri United Methodist Church as a warm-up for performances in Kansas City and St. Louis later this month.

The performance was composed by award-winning composer Andrew Lippa and conducted by Tim Seelig, artistic director and conductor of the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus. The Heartland Men’s Chorus was one of six gay men’s choruses to commission the musical.

Seelig said he wanted to perform at the Missouri United Methodist Church because of its acceptance of Columbia’s homosexual community. Seelig said the musical is different from other biographical works of art focused on Milk, such as the 2008 film “Milk” and the 1982 biography “The Mayor of Castro Street,” because it is designed to make audiences empathize with Milk as a regular man.

The choruses will officially open “I Am Harvey Milk” at the Folly Theater in Kansas City on March 29.