Dustin Cates was announced as the new artistic director of Heartland Men’s Chorus today. Cates will assume the role starting with the 2014-2015 season, the 29th season for the chorus.
A search committee comprised of chorus members, past board chairs, community arts leaders, donors and chorus staff conducted a months-long nationwide search to fill the position.
“Dustin exhibited the best balance of all the many attributes the committee was looking for in an artistic director,” says Keith Wiedenkeller, chair of HMC’s board of directors, who also led the search committee.
“His unique blend of choral musical expertise, programming experience, conducting style, people skills, personal charisma, and passion are a great fit for where the chorus is now, but more importantly, for where we hope to be in the future.”
Cates is currently Director of Choral Activities at Olathe East High School and a member of the music ministry team at United Methodist Church of the Resurrection. He holds a Bachelor of Music Education from the University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory of Music and Dance, and a Master of Science in School Leadership from Baker University. He is a member of the National Association for Music Education (NAME) and American Choral Directors Association (ACDA). He serves on the Alumni Board for the UMKC Conservatory of Music and Dance and is the President-Elect of the Kansas Choral Directors Association (KCDA), a group that awarded him the Kansas Outstanding Young Choral Director Award in 2009.
Cates first worked with Heartland Men’s Chorus this year, as a guest conductor for “I Am Harvey Milk.”
“I am humbled and honored to have been named artistic director of Heartland Men's Chorus,” says Cates. “Over the past 28 years, it has become clear that HMC plays a vital role in the richness of Kansas City. It is my hope that we can build on our strong history of music-making, service, and advocacy to transform the lives of our singers and our community by spreading a message of inclusivivity, hope, and love.”
Cates will be the fourth artistic director in HMC’s history, following Gina Scaggs Epifano, Reuben Reynolds III, and Dr. Joseph Nadeau.
The chorus will conclude its 2013-2014 season with “Vegas, Baby,” June 13-15 at the Folly Theater, under the leadership of guest conductor Anthony Edwards. The concerts will coincide with the announcement of the 2014-2015 season, the first under the artistic leadership of Mr. Cates.
Proudly singing out in Kansas City since 1986, Heartland Men’s Chorus is a not-for-profit, volunteer chorus of gay and gay-sensitive people who are making a positive cultural contribution to the entire community. HMC performs a varied repertoire of music, including jazz, Broadway, popular and classical works, and regularly performs with more than 130 singers. In recent years, the chorus has become known for its musical documentary format which uses music, narration and multi-media to illustrate issues of social justice. The chorus performs a three concert season at the historic Folly Theater to an annual audience of more than 7,000, and performs dozens of community outreach performances each year throughout the Midwest.