Thursday, April 24, 2014

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Absolutely Elated About This

Announcing HMC’s New Artistic Director

Heartland Men’s Chorus is excited to announce Dustin Cates as its new artistic director. 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 spring, 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.

Getting to Know You: A Musical Q & A 

What music did you listen to growing up?

I listened to a pretty wide variety of music. My mix-tapes included hip-hop, R&B, country, pop, classical and (of course) musicals!

We’ve seen you jogging—what’s on your iPod workout playlist?

Well, I’m a choir geek, so there’s plenty of choral music on my playlist but I’ve also got some current stuff like Lorde, Katy Perry, Bastille, Pentatonix and a sweet techno version of Dolly Parton’s “9 to 5!”

What choral or classical work gives you goosebumps?

One of my favorite time periods in music history is the Renaissance. There is so much great choral music from this era. One of my favorites is the William Byrd “Ave Verum Corpus.” This piece and others like it have lots of overlapping vocal lines that rise and fall which ultimately culminate in a beautiful chord—there’s nothing better!

What’s the first song you taught to (or sang to) your son, Emmaus?

We adopted Emmaus in late August. School had started and my a cappella choir at Shawnee Mission South was working on a piece called “I Dreamed of Rain.” It’s a great arrangement of a song by jazz singer Jan Garret. The emotions and feelings that flood your heart when you become a new Dad took this really beautiful piece of music to a new, even more meaningful place. 

Now that Emmaus is a toddler he’s beginning to develop his own repertoire. His current top 5 include: “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star,” “The Itsy Bitsy Spider,” “Old McDonald Had a Farm,” “Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes” and “Dies Bildnis ist bezaubernd schon” from Mozart’s The Magic Flute. (Okay…not really.)

You’ve conducted high school students, church choirs, and the men of HMC. Which group is harder to control?

While there are many similarities, maintaining order in a choir full freshman boys is a challenge like none other on the face of the earth.

What is the first song you ever sang in public?

“Silent Night” in my preschool Christmas program.

Do you and your husband have a song that you consider “your song?”

We’ve never had a song that was “ours”. I suppose the closest thing would be “Beautiful Things” by Michael and Lisa Gungor. Raymond, Emmaus and I walked down the aisle at our wedding to this song. The text speaks to how powerful love is in transforming our lives: All this pain, I wonder if I’ll ever find my way, I wonder if my life could really change at all. You make beautiful things; you make beautiful things out of dust. You make beautiful things; you make beautiful things out of us.

Do you have a “guilty pleasure” song that you’re embarrassed to admit you love?

I love Christmas. I listen to Christmas music all year long. It’s sort of an addiction…along with the eight Christmas trees.

You guest conducted HMC in spring. What surprised you about the experience?

I agreed to guest conduct HMC thinking it would be fun. I knew the chorus was outstanding and collaborating with Tim Seelig would be a valuable experience. Both of those observations turned out to be true. But then I got to know the guys and their stories and the experience that I thought was going to be “fun” became transformational. I was taken by what a powerful community HMC is both to its members and to Kansas City.

What song makes you want to get up and dance?

I’m not certain it takes a song but rather a number of drinks and good friends.

What is one musical piece you can’t wait to perform with HMC?

Raymond and I commissioned my friend Andrea Ramsey, to write a piece in honor of the birth of our son Emmaus and the death of my father. The text was written by Blair Ginsburg, a former student of mine who is studying Creative Writing at KU. My chamber choir at Olathe East premiered the piece, “Luminescence,” in 2013. It was also performed at the National American Choral Director’s Association convention last spring. I’ve asked Andrea if she would write a setting for men’s voices to premier with HMC!

© 2012 Heartland Men's Chorus PO Box 32374, Kansas City, MO 64171-5374Phone: 816-931-3338 Fax: 816-531-1367

Friday, April 18, 2014

Great Email To Get Today

I know. It's not that much but it nonetheless brought a smile to my face earlier. I kinda can't wait to pick this up, I adore her and some comedy would be a welcome relief.

Kansas City Public Library - Plaza Branch
Plaza Branch
4801 Main St
Kansas City, MO

          William Keil Rosen
          Kansas City, MO

Dear William Rosen,
"Library Material PICKUP Notice" Requested Item(s) is available for pickup from
the Library. (See Return Address) These material(s) will be available for
pickup for 6 days from the date on this notice.
Thank you

  1   Uganda be kidding me / Chelsea Handler
      Handler, Chelsea.
      call number:818.602 H23U 2014         

Monday, April 14, 2014

Senator Roy Blunt Is An Asshole: Volume 943

April 14, 2014

In this MegaVote for Missouri's 5th Congressional District:

Recent Congressional Votes
Senate: Unemployment Benefits Extension – Passage
Senate: Equal Pay – Cloture
House: Budget Resolution – Passage
Editor's Note: Both the House and Senate are in recess until the week of April 28.

Recent Senate Votes
Unemployment Benefits Extension – Passage - Vote Passed (59-38, 3 Not Voting)

Senators passed a bill on Monday that, as amended, would extend unemployment benefits through May 31, 2014.

Sen. Roy Blunt voted NO
Sen. Claire McCaskill voted Not Voting

Equal Pay – Cloture - Vote Rejected (53-44, 3 Not Voting)

The Senate failed to invoke cloture on a bill that would amend the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (PL 75-718), requiring employers to demonstrate that wage gaps between men and women with similar qualifications in similar jobs have a business justification. The bill would also prohibit employers from retaliating against employees seeking salary information to investigate gender discrimination in wages.

Sen. Roy Blunt voted NO
Sen. Claire McCaskill voted YES

Recent House Votes
Budget Resolution – Passage - Vote Passed (2019-205, 8 Not Voting)

On Thursday, the House adopted a concurrent resolution that would provide $2.842 trillion to fund the federal government in fiscal 2015. The resolution assumes $5.1 trillion in spending reductions over 10 years and reductions in personal and corporate tax rates.

Rep. Emanuel Cleaver II voted NO

When Will There Be A Time To Love?

"A Time To Love" (feat. India.Arie)

We have time for racism
We have time for criticism
Held bondage by our ism's 
When will there be a time to love

We make time to debate religion
Passing bills and building prisons
For building fortunes and passing judgements
When will there be a time to love

At this point in history we have a choice to make
To either walk a path of love
Or be crippled by our hate

We have time to cause pollution
We have time to cause confusion
All wrapped up in our own illusions
When will there be a time to love

We make time to conquer nations
Time for oil exploration
Hatred, violence and terrorism
When will there be a time to love

At this moment in time
We have a choice to make
Father God is watching
While we cause mother earth so much pain
It's such a shame

Not enough money for
The young, the old and the poor
But for war there is always more
When will there be a time to love

We make time for paying taxes
Or paying bills and buying status
But we will pay the consequences
If we don't make the time to love

Now's the time to pay attention
Yes now is the time... to love...
A time love... Love...
A time to Love
Please, please won't you tell me
When will there be a time to love...

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Does Anyone Have $1,500 I Can Borrow?

Just got this email from google glass:

Hi there,

Hooray - it's Saturday morning! Whether you're curled up with cereal and cartoons or hitting the weekend warrior path, we have some exciting news for you.

We're seeking new Explorers and we're opening up some spots in the Glass Explorer Program. Any adult in the US can become an Explorer by visiting our site and purchasing Glass ... including you!

This isn't the same Glass you saw last April. In the past year, we've released nine software updates, 42 Glassware apps, iOS support, prescription frames, and more, all largely shaped by feedback from our Explorers. The Explorer bundle costs $1,500 + tax and includes Glass, charger, pouch, mono earbud, and your choice of a shade or a frame for no additional charge. Check out the styles of frames and shades and pick your favorite.

Spots are limited, so mark your calendar if you want to get in. Sorry, you can't prepurchase, but you can find us on Tuesday at

Use this link to add a reminder for April 15th to your Google Calendar. Explore the frames and shades and select your complimentary style here.

For help purchasing please visit the Glass Help Center.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

YouTube Videos Surface of HMC and GMC's Performance in St. Louis

This always happens with every show...and it's going to keep on happening because everyone has a portable movie studio on their phones now....So..some clips surfaced on youtube today of the Heartland Men's Chorus performance in St. Louis and also some of the Gateway Men's Chorus. I promise it wasn't me this time Rick Fisher! HAHAHA!

So here's one clip of us singing "Give 'Em Hope". He said the reason why he had to stop recording was because his phone ran out of memory. I completely understand how that It's still pretty cool though:

Gateway Men's Chorus singing "Light"

Gateway Men's Chorus singing "Candlelight"

Google Voice Widget

my charger has officially kicked the bucket this until I get a new one my phone is dead. My google voice number is ....well use this widget.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Senate Panel Votes To Declassify Torture Report

This is awesome:

Senate panel votes to declassify interrogation report
By Jeremy Herb

The Senate Intelligence Committee on Thursday voted to declassify parts of its controversial report on Bush-era interrogation tactics, paving the way for the report’s public release.

The Intelligence panel voted 11-3 to declassify the report’s 400-page executive summary and its conclusions and recommendations.

Read the story here.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

We Are All Harvey Milk

Phenomenal review of my show this weekend from KCMetropolis:

We Are All Harvey Milk

By Anthony Rodgers   
Tue, Apr 01, 2014

Collaborating with the Gateway Men's Chorus from St. Louis, the Heartland Men's Chorus presented an evening of encouraging song and a grandiose tribute to the work and message of Harvey Milk.

“We gotta give them hope.” These words of Harvey Milk, the first openly gay person elected to public office, were taken to heart by the Heartland Men's Chorus, who joined with the Gateway Men's Chorus from St. Louis this weekend at the Folly Theater. After each ensemble sang selections of their own, Andrew Lippa's large work I Am Harvey Milk received its Midwest premiere, forcing an element of introspection on the part of everyone present and a call for action to end all remaining hate.

The Gateway Men's Chorus started the concert with a performance of Candlelight, a work by their conductor, Al Fischer; due to some timid sounds from the lower voices, the work was a bit unstable. However the ensemble quickly regrouped for a thrilling choral version of “Simple Joys” from Pippinto demonstrate their exceptional musicality. Intoning the words of John Donne, No Man Is An Island resembled the solemnity of a Germanic Requiem, and the chorus's clean intervals sung at a soft dynamic were impressive. Borrowing again from musical theatre, GMC closed with “Light,” the final number from Next to Normal, unifying all of their works in a subtly inspirational set and what seemed to be their own tribute to the Harvey Milks of the world.

The Heartland Men's Chorus began their segment with Dan Forrest's The Music of Living, a subdued fanfare that showcased the sheer power of the men's combined voices. I Met A Boy was a humorous and humbling juxtaposition of the years 1958, 1976, and 2010, highlighting societal changes in regard to homosexuality. A beautiful timbre was created at the beginning of Inscription of Hope, a piece remembering the Holocaust, by piano, string quartet, oboe, and a wordless choir. The rich, dark sound in the choir continued through the opening of Give 'Em Hope, which gradually shifted to a lighter, gospel style, during which it was hard not to feel inspired to dance along.

I Am Harvey Milk was an ambitious project involving both choruses, three soloists, a chamber orchestra, and a great deal of projected imagery. Not a biographical work, the oratorio-like work instead examined various aspects of Milk's life, asking the listener to examine his or her place in a changing world and find something relatable in the life and words of one iconic man.

The voice of Milk haunted the hall before the large chorus began the movement “I Am The Bullet,” influenced by postminimalism, speaking to a silent population of opinion-less persons. Converting the Folly into a 1970s disco, “Friday Night in the Castro” was a lively number involving group choreography that was engaging overall, although risky at times when not everyone remembers to fully participate. As homosexual slurs were written on a screen like graffiti, the words echoed through the room with a modified version of the familiar rhyme “Sticks and Stones,” and as the terms shifted to include derogatory slang for racial groups, the global impact of hateful words grew realized and heavy. The projections were distracting at times, however, particularly during the beautiful “San Francisco.” Perhaps the most rousing of the numbers was the finale, “Tired of the Silence,” as Milk's moving words rallied listeners to victory by being one's self.

As Harvey Milk, Tom Lancaster was a perfect fit, bringing elements of his musical theatre background to this concert stage, truly embodying the icon himself. His voice during “You Are Here” was commanding, supple, and always under control. Portraying a young Milk, Cam Burns had a remarkable voice, full of the innocence and ambition desired from the character. Sylvia Stone, soprano, faltered often on sustained lines, going noticeably flat, but her stage presence was spot-on with each portrait, and the recitative sections in “Leap” were clean and easily understood.

Additional elements of the event included the well-balanced chamber ensemble that was never overbearing or overpowered. Sign language interpreter John T. Adams did more than offer his interpretive services, dancing along with the music happening behind him—an appreciated subtlety. The lighting effects were well done, always appropriate to the moods and lyrics of individual movements and pieces.
All in all, these components worked together to convert an anticipated choral concert into the uplifting and inspirational event that it was, echoing the message of Harvey Milk that “hope will never be silent."

Heartland Men's Chorus, featuring special guests Gateway Men's Chorus of St. Louis
I Am Harvey Milk
March 29–30 (Reviewed Saturday, March 29, 2014)
Folly Theater
300 W. 12th St., Kansas City, MO
For more information visit

Top Photo: Tom Lancaster (Harvey Milk) with Heartland Men’s Chorus and Gateway Men’s Chorus (Photo courtesy of Heartland Men’s Chorus)  
By Anthony Rodgers

Excerpt From Obamas Speech In Belgium

In the end, the success of our ideals comes down to us -- including the example of our own lives, our own societies. We know that there will always be intolerance. But instead of fearing the immigrant, we can welcome him. We can insist on policies that benefit the many, not just the few; that an age of globalization and dizzying change opens the door of opportunity to the marginalized, and not just a privileged few. Instead of targeting our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters, we can use our laws to protect their rights. Instead of defining ourselves in opposition to others, we can affirm the aspirations that we hold in common. That’s what will make America strong. That’s what will make Europe strong. That’s what makes us who we are.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Claire McCaskil Responds To My Inquiry

April 1, 2014
Dear Mr. Rosen,

Thank you for contacting me regarding the unacceptable problem of sexual assault in the military.  I appreciate hearing from you on this important issue, and I welcome the opportunity to respond.

In December, 2013, I joined a bipartisan group of my colleagues in passing the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2014, which included historic reforms I fought to include that address sexual assault in the military.  This legislation will force the military to better protect survivors and hold perpetrators accountable.  Rape and sexual assault have no place in the military, and I am pleased that these historic reforms will become law. 

As a former prosecutor who has tried many challenging rape and sexual assault cases, I have held the hands of survivors of sexual assault.  I have comforted them about their fears in testifying against those who attacked them.  I know how difficult it is for a survivor to come forward.  Survivors must be encouraged to report the assaults against them, perpetrators must be held accountable, and survivors must receive the care they need.  Unfortunately, the U.S. military has failed to provide such an environment for victims of sexual assault in its ranks, leading to unacceptably high numbers of unreported incidents, insufficient numbers of prosecutions and inadequate support of victims.  In the face of this crisis, I have joined with many of my colleagues in the Senate to work to pass laws to force change and to further demand that military leaders act to remedy this situation.  Getting more survivors to report the crimes that have been committed against them is a particularly important step in changing the tide of sexual assault in the military. 

One especially important provision in the NDAA strips military commanders of the authority to vacate or nullify a jury verdict, a provision I fought to include after I learned of a case at Aviano Air Force base in Italy where a military commander used his authority to dismiss a jury conviction against a military sex offender, reinstate him in the Air Force, and expunge his record.  My provision will ensure that this never happens again.  The bill also strengthens accountability in the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) by requiring commanders to provide written justification for any modification they make to a criminal sentence.

To prevent commanders from dismissing a sexual assault case against the advice of legal counsel, the NDAA includes a provision requiring that any case involving sexual assault where a commander overrules the advice of a Staff Judge Advocate to proceed to court martial be automatically referred to the civilian Service Secretary for a final decision on how to proceed.  This means the top civilian leaders in the Department of Defense will have the final decision on whether to take these cases to court martial.  The bill also makes it a crime under the Uniform Code of Military Justice to retaliate against a servicemember who has reported a crime.  In addition, any person found guilty of an offense of rape, sexual assault, forcible sodomy, or an attempt to commit any of those offenses will be required to receive a punishment that includes, at a minimum, a dismissal or dishonorable discharge.

The NDAA also includes a number of provisions strengthening protections for survivors.  For example, the NDAA requires each of the military services to provide victims with their own lawyer, which will provide a level of legal support that is unmatched in the civilian justice system.  I also fought to include provisions ensuring that military commanders have the authority to move from a unit an individual accused of sexual assault in order to protect a victim from unwanted contact with the reported perpetrator and requiring a commander to receive input from a victim before arriving at any decision to modify the sentence of a convicted offender.  These changes will serve to create a more supportive environment where a victim's voice can be heard and where victims will feel safer and more confident about reporting crimes against them, a step that requires both strength and courage.

In addition, recent media reports have detailed the case of a female Midshipman at the U.S. Naval Academy who was subjected to nearly 30 hours of intimidating and invasive questioning by attorneys representing her alleged assailants during an Article 32 proceeding - a pre-trial investigation required before a case can be referred to a general court-martial.  Too often, victims come forward only to be re-victimized during the Article 32 process.  The NDAA includes a provision I fought for that will ensure that victims who come forward to report sexual assault are not harassed and intimidated during Article 32 proceedings.  Specifically, the bill will limit the scope of the proceedings to the question of probable cause and would allow a victim to submit a sworn statement rather than undergo direct questioning at the proceeding.

The reforms enacted in the NDAA represent a significant first step in how the military handles cases of sexual assault within its ranks, however further improvements are needed.  For this reason, on March 10, 2014 the Senate passed a bill that I introduced, S. 1917, the Victims Protection Act of 2014, by a vote of 97-0.  This bipartisan bill builds on the reforms passed into law with the NDAA, including the elimination of the "Good Soldier Defense." The Victims Protection Act specifically prevents individuals from using good military character as a valid defense against sexual assault charges. Additionally, this legislation would, among other things, ensure commanders are held more accountable by linking their promotion reviews to their handling of allegations of sexual assault and the treatment of those under their command who report these crimes.

I believe that the reforms included in the Victims Protection Act and the NDAA represent the strongest possible protections for victims.  As you may know, an alternative approach, proposed by Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, would strip commanders entirely of their responsibilities, including their ability to convene and proceed to courts martial.  I do not believe that this approach would result in stronger protections for victims or increased prosecutions.

Over the past two years, there have been at least 93 cases in which prosecutors declined to pursue charges, but in which a commander ultimately decided to proceed to a court martial.  Those 93 survivors would not have had their day in court under this alternative proposal.  In fact, the ongoing case at the Naval Academy will proceed to a court martial because the Commander at the Naval Academy has ordered a trial, even though the Judge who conducted the initial investigation recommended that the case not proceed to trial.  Without a commander being involved and being interested in maximizing discipline as well as empowering a victims' voice, this victim would never get her day in court.

Additionally, stripping commanders of their ability to move cases forward removes a key tool for protecting survivors - command support is crucial in creating a climate of acceptance and protection for survivors, a climate that is vital for increasing the number of victims who feel comfortable coming forward to report.  Removing the chain of command from the decision making process has been tried by some of our allies and has not resulted in an increase in reporting of sexual assaults.  In fact, a panel created by Congress to study sexual assaults in the military verified that none of America's allies who made this change did so to protect victims, and none saw significantly more victims come forward.  Finally, removing commanders from this process would create a separate, parallel legal systems for handling sexual assault, resulting in a number of constitutional and procedural problems that would only serve to re-victimize survivors and prolong legal proceedings.  For all of these reasons, I strongly believe that the reforms in the NDAA will better protect victims and hold perpetrators accountable.   

The historic reforms included in the NDAA and the Victims Protection Act are a step in the right direction to combat sexual assault in the military.  However, if the military continues to fail to address the crisis of sexual assault, more changes will be forthcoming.  I will not rest until I am confident that survivors in the military feel comfortable coming forward, perpetrators are fully held accountable, and survivors are receive the care and support they need.

Again, thank you for contacting me. Please do not hesitate to contact me in the future if I can be of further assistance to you on this or any other issue.


Claire McCaskill
United States Senator

P.S. If you would like more information about resources that can help Missourians, or what I am doing in the Senate on your behalf, please sign up for my email newsletter at