Dustin S. Cates, Artistic Director of Heartland Men’s Chorus (HMC), announces that the 31th season will open with what is fast becoming one of Kansas City’s favorite non-traditional holiday traditions, Kansas City Christmas! In its third year, Kansas City Christmas has an exciting blend of familiar carols, choral classics and hilariously zany twists on your favorite holiday music. It truly features something for everyone and will leave you in the holiday spirit because it’s “Classy, Brassy and Sassy!”
The Classy start to the evening begins with Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence. Based on a French folk tune, it tells the biblical story of the birth of Christ. Then Classy HMC shines with John Rutter’s Gloria. Written by British born Rutter in 1974, this 17-minute, three-movement work instantly became a favorite among American choruses. “It is by turns touching and thrilling, with everything from soaring, jubilant phrases to catchy rhythms among the beautiful lines of ancient sacred text, and then throw in the power of the brass ensemble with timpani, percussion and organ, and you have the perfect recipe to wow audiences,” said Artistic Director Cates.
Rutter described its origins to Jeremy Siepmann of Naxos Records in 2011, “‘The Gloria was the first of my works to be commissioned in America. I received a letter from a choral conductor in Omaha, Nebraska. His name was Mel Olson, an excellent musician. Among much else, he suggested a sacred work, equally suitable to both churches and concert halls, with a Latin text. So I thought of the Gloria—just about the most famous little piece of Latin that there is. For my instrumental group, I chose a brass ensemble, supplemented by organ, timpani and percussion. And that was the beginning. *
Gloria is sung completely in Latin.
HMC has received special permission from John Rutter himself to perform this unpublished version of his Gloria for men’s voices. Since brass is such an essential aspect of the composition, the production is being performed in collaboration with the Volker Brass Quintet from the UMKC Conservatory of Music and Dance and will be conducted by Cates.
Continuing the more serious, traditional approaches to the holidays, HMC will present Ose Shalom (arr. John Leavitt), a traditional Hebrew text that translates: “The One who makes peace in the heavens, He makes peace for us, for all of us, and let us say Amen.” Staying with the traditional slant, HMC will perform Deck the Hall (arr. Eddy Clement), a new arrangement of a traditional English Christmas Carol, The First Noel (arr. Dan Forrest), a new arrangement of a traditional English Christmas Carol, and I’ve Got My Love to Keep Me Warm (arr. Patrick Sinozich), an Irving Berlin holiday favorite set in a swing style. All three pieces will be accompanied by the Volker Brass from UMKC … In other words . . . Brassy!!
The program continues with a World Premiere, Winter Mantra, commissioned by HMC for Kansas City Christmas and written by composer and University of Missouri–Columbia Freshman, Hans Heruth, with original text by Wesley Sexton. The piece, that also features the Volker Brass Ensemble, speaks of Winter. “The season on the surface may seem dark and cold but, when framed correctly, is full of life,” says Sexton. Heruth and Sexton met at the University of Missouri and started writing together.
What audiences have come to expect out of the second half of Kansas City Christmas is pure entertainment. “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!” On the program are Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, a holiday favorite made popular by Judy Garland arranged by Kansas City composer and friend of HMC, Mark Hayes, O Holy Night (arr. Scott Warrender), traditional carol for soloist and choir with a big twist, The Little Drummer Boy (arr. Lari Goss), an HMC favorite back by popular demand which features a drum line comprised of local high school band students. There’s also a wacky tribute to the holiday elephant-in-the-room… Fruitcake! Lots of other fun songs will fill out the second half to keep you laughing and wanting more (music, not fruitcake!).
“Kansas City Christmas” will be performed at 8 p.m. Saturday, December 3rd and 4 p.m. Sunday, December 4th at the historic Folly Theater, 300 W. 12th Street in Kansas City, and Saturday, December 10th, at Yardley Hall in the Carlson Center, on the campus of Johnson County Community College.
Tickets to the Folly performances are available online at http://hmckc.org/tickets/ or by calling 816-931-3338. Yardley Hall performances must 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. V
Via Press Release
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 2016-2017 season. High resolution photos of the 2016-2017 season can be attained by contacting the chorus office at 816-816-931-3338.
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.
Presenting sponsor of Heartland Men’s Chorus is 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’ 31st season.
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.
Receive updates by joining Heartland Men’s Chorus’ Page at www.facebook.com/hmckc and following @hmchorus on Twitter.
Heartland Men’s Chorus
2016-2017 Season at a Glance
Kansas City Christmas (HOLIDAY SHOW)
December 3-4, 2016 | Folly Theater, Kansas City, MO
Sat., Dec. 3, 8:00 p.m.
Sun., Dec. 4, 4:00 p.m.
December 10, 2016 | Yardley Hall, Carlsen Center, JCCC, OPKS
Sat., Dec. 10, 8:00 p.m.