By Bob Evans
Heartland Men’s Chorus always presents a great evening of entertainment with all of their productions, and this latest show continues that tradition, this time focused on a newly commissioned work that salutes Veterans of WWI.
“Indivisible,” the name of the concert, salutes the unknown/unidentified remains of American veterans while telling the story of the selection of the WWI soldier to be encrypted in the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. For Act I, the somber concert features the new piece, “We, the Unknown,” a piece explains how four coffins with the remains of four soldiers were aligned and another soldier was to lay a boquet of flowers upon one coffin to designate those remains to be buried in the tomb and commemorate all unknown casualties.
This new piece written by Timothy C. Talach with libereto by Pat Dameron and Robert Hill filled the first act of the concert. Individual performers in this piece were John Edmonds, Christopher Kurt, Christopher Puckett, Donald M. Sanchez, and Aidan Soder. All performed famously and delivered their solos with emotional impact.
“The first half of the concert features the World Premiere of a new choral work titled, We, The Unknown,” a spokesman for HMC said. “The WETU project tells the ‘story’ of how the Unknown Soldier of WWI was selected. WETU celebrates the importance and significance of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, both as a literal resting place for those unknown who paid the ultimate sacrifice and as a symbol of the nation’s sacred honor to remember their service. HMC was inspired to commission this piece because 2018 is the centennial of our nation’s involvement in World War I and because Kansas City is home to the National World War I Museum and Memorial. The WETU project has been endorsed by the National World War I Centennial Commission. We are also honored that the men of the United States Army Soldiers’ Chorus, an ensemble of the U.S. Army Field Band, will be joining us in performance.”
For the second act, entitled “Indivisible: Songs of Resistance and Remembrance,” the chorus performed a series of songs that shows the positive and negative parts that comprise a democracy. The act featured music from Michael Jackson, , and a and an Academy Award-winning song, to piece inclusive of racial problems in Selma, Alabama at the time of Dr. Martin Luther King’s life and death.
The Music in Act II included; “Uprising of Love,” “Man in the Mirror,” “Tell My Father,” “This Grass,” a set of songs perormed by the United States Army Soldiers Chorus, “Homeland, “Seven Last Words of the Unarmed|,” “Glory,” and finally, “Aquarius/Let the Sun Shine In.”
“Bringing people together is at the center of why Heartland Men’s Chorus exists,” said musical director Darren Cates. “Particularly in today’s polarized political climate, our hope is that this concert will offer an opportunity to consider and empathize with experiences different than our own, to celebrate the path to many of the freedoms we enjoy today, and to remember the sacrifices that were made on our behalf. We called this concert Indivisible because it is our aim that, through our music, storytelling and moving theatrical staging, our audiences leave feeling more united than divided—that we are one in working for the causes of liberty and justice for all.”
More information about the Heartland Men’s Chorus of Kansas City and tickets to future seasons and preformances can be found on the HMC website. Hmckc.org
Indivisible was performed at 8 p.m. Saturday, June 9 and 4 p.m. Sunday, June 10 in the C. Stephen Metzler Hall at the historic Folly Theater, 300 W. 12th Street, in downtown Kansas City, Missouri.