From Heartland Men’s Chorus, a Glorious, Globe-Sweeping Ride

Capture the high, people! Capture the high! I just had to leave the calamitous din of the Bistro 303 to come rushing home and set my thoughts down to inform you about the sensational spring concert sung by the Heartland Men’s Chorus this evening at the Folly Theater, Kansas City, Mo. What I’m trying to do is to capture the high I felt from beginning to end of the illustrious performance of God-knows how-many-men assembled to join in song to a packed house for the opening night of what is cleverly called Global Destination: A Non-Stop Flight. You just had to be there to appreciate the title.
As artistic director, Joseph P. Nadeau explains in the program notes (and I will quote) “Global Destinations focuses on the beautiful sound of the Heartland Men’s Chorus, showcasing the amazing diversity of men’s choral music around the world. Our journey begins in Australia and quickly sweeps across the globe, touching down in many exotic locations, including Russia, Ireland, Indonesia, Spain and Israel.”
There is more good news to come, and you’ll find it in here somewhere. Here’s a clue . . . it has to do with an upcoming event being performed at the Folly Theater on June 9 and 10. Don’t ask questions, just book your tickets now or you’ll be the only ones at home that weekend, OK? So, back to the program.
In total, 12 countries having little in common but music were visited. Songs were performed in their native languages, which is sort of relaxing to the ear because you know you don’t know the words and aren’t about to hum along, so you’re forced to sit back and enjoy the sounds, the rhythms, the cadence, the sheer perfection of the human voice. Pause for breath. I just love the sound of a man’s voice. Make that all men’s voices. In particular, the ones that form the HMC. They give me goose bumps in unexpected places. But, enough about me … let’s talk about them!
How can I describe the opening number, which lingers in my mind long past the finale? Again I quote, “Past Life Memories” by Australian composer Sarah Hopkins combines ancient and modern singing techniques.” It was hauntingly beautiful and primal in execution, partially based on Aboriginal chant combined with the unusual technique of overtone singing wherein “much of the chorus sustains a drone, while a few singers improvise using only the shape of their mouths,” creating an effect of cascading whistle-like sounds. But no one is whistling -- we hear vowel sounds created by the singers. It’s indescribable, beginning as subdued and rising in power to that of the first dawn of creation. I truly hope they have captured this phenomenal experience on one of their CDs. I’d love to witness either dawn or sunset with someone special while listening to that.
The two works especially commissioned for this event were thoroughly engaging. “Amen” by Dan Forrest was subdued, ecclesiastical and reminiscent of my days being raised in the Roman Catholic faith (which is most likely where I got my sense of drama and love of theater). The music is hypnotic.
Doug Helvering’s “Sobane Iculo” was equally fascinating with a more powerful delivery, as one might expect from a work based upon African Zulu tribal chants. It comprised a medley of African songs from Zulu to Zimbabwe and roused the audience to a standing ovation.
I wish I had space to laud every single person connected with our Heartland Men’s Chorus, unmistakably among the best in the nation. Lest I forget, I want to pay special tribute to sign-language interpreter Rick McAdams, whose fluid motions and expressive, beautiful face bring special appreciation and kinship to both the hearing and hearing-impaired.
The Heartland Men’s Chorus is one of Kansas City’s best venues of music appreciation for the younger set as well. Don’t hesitate to take the kids. Seated directly to my right was a young man who was intently engaged in the performance. I observed him scanning the program notes and sitting on the edge of his seat in a display of utter concentration. Upon returning from intermission, I couldn’t help but “chat him up,” as the English say. I learned that his name was Stephen, that he was 11 years old and that he was there with Scott, his father. Bravo, Scott, for making sure Stephen becomes a well-rounded individual.
I almost forgot … the happening on June 9 and 10 is titled The Pink Carpet: Gays, Lesbians and Hollywood. As if that’s not enough, fans of Will and Grace (and who isn’t?) will get to see Karen’s nemesis, that Emmy-winning, short-in-stature-but-huge-on-insult comic Leslie Jordan narrating the program.
Finally, thanks to all the opening night patrons who arrived bejeweled and bedazzling. I saw so many diamonds, rubies, emeralds, and pearls, set in gold and platinum, it reminded me of Tiffany’s window at Christmas … and that was just the male portion of the audience. Who says Kansas City is a cow town?

WhistlePig + Alfa Romeo F1

SHOREHAM, VT (September 13, 2023) — WhistlePig Whiskey, the leaders in independent craft whiskey, and Alfa Romeo F1 Team Stake are waving the checkered flag on a legend-worthy release that’s taking whiskey to G-Force levels. The Limited Edition PiggyBack Legends Series: Alfa Romeo F1 Team Stake Barrel is a high Rye Whiskey selected by the Alfa Romeo F1 Team Stake drivers, with barrels trialed in their wind tunnel to ensure a thrilling taste in every sip.

The third iteration in WhistlePig’s Single Barrel PiggyBack Legends Series, the Alfa Romeo F1 Team Stake Barrel is bottled at 96.77 proof, a nod to Valtteri Bottas’ racing number, 77, and the precision of racing. Inspired by Zhou Guanyu, the first Chinese F1 driver, this Rye Whiskey is finished with lychee and oolong tea. Herbal and floral notes of the oolong tea complement the herbaceous notes of WhistlePig’s signature PiggyBack 100% Rye, rounded out with a juicy tropical fruit finish and a touch of spice.

Keep readingShow less
by Spectrum Medical Care Center

Nurse Practitioner Ari Kravitz

When I started medical transition at 20 years old, it was very difficult to get the care I needed for hormone replacement therapy because there are very few providers trained in starting hormones for trans people, even though it’s very similar to the hormones that we prescribe to women in menopause or cisgender men with low testosterone.

I hope more providers get trained in LGBTQ+ healthcare, so they can support patients along their individual gender journey, and provide the info needed to make informed decisions about their body. I’ve personally seen my trans patients find hope and experience a better quality of life through hormone replacement therapy.

Keep readingShow less

Descanso Resort swimming pool and lounge area

Descanso Resort, Palm Springs' premier destination for gay men, just received Tripadvisor's highest honor, a Travelers' Choice "Best of the Best" award for 2023. Based on guests' reviews and ratings, fewer than 1% of Tripadvisor's 8 million listings around the world receive the coveted "Best of the Best" designation. Descanso ranked 12th in the top 25 small inns and hotels category in the United States. Quite an accomplishment!

Open less than two years, Descanso Resort offers gay men a relaxing and luxurious boutique hotel experience just minutes away from Palm Springs' buzziest restaurants, nightclubs, and shopping. Descanso has quickly established itself as a top destination for sophisticated gay travelers, earning hundreds of 5-star guest reviews and consistently ranking in Trapadvisor's top positions alongside brother properties Santiago Resort and Twin Palms Resort.

Keep readingShow less