Join an Army of supporters who wish to commemorate the World War I (WWI) Centennial by becoming co-commissioners of a major new choral work that honors all who have served and sacrificed.
Kansas City is home to the National World War I Museum and Memorial.
Given this connection to WWI and to commemorate the war's centennial, Heartland Men's Chorus has commissioned an oratorio for men’s voices, soloists, and chamber ensemble titled We, The Unknown (WETU).
WETU tells the story of how America's first Unknown Soldier was selected. According to the Arlington National Cemetery website, the story goes like this:
WETU envisions Sgt. Younger's daunting task and gives voice to his internal thoughts as he undertakes it. It also gives voice to the four Soldiers from whom the Unknown is chosen: one African American, one gay, one told from the perspective of his mother, and one expressing fear of going into battle.
Those who have heard the WETU story have found it resonates personally and powerfully. Almost everyone has a connection to someone who has served, to the values of selfless service and sacrifice, and to honoring the fallen.
HMC has raised approximately two-thirds of the funds needed to bring this oratorio to the stage. It believes others will want to be part of this undertaking. WETU not only seeks to honor those who served in WWI but all who have served and sacrificed in the century since, many in silence about their authentic selves. Your contributions to this project will make you not only co-commissioners of the choral work but also co-honorers of these men and women.
Reviewed as “gorgeous” (Washington Post) and “stunning” (Lawrence Journal-World), the music of Timothy C. Takach has risen fast in the concert world. Applauded for his melodic lines and rich, intriguing harmonies, Takach has received commissions from various organizations including the the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, St. Olaf Band, Cantus, Pavia Winds, Lorelei Ensemble, VocalEssence, the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center, The Rose Ensemble, and numerous high school and university choirs. His compositions have been performed on A Prairie Home Companion, The Boston Pops holiday tour, multiple All-State and festival programs and at venues such as the Library of Congress, Kennedy Center and Royal Opera House Muscat.
Takach is not unfamiliar with WWI, as he co-created the theatrical production of All is Calm: the Christmas Truce of 1914, by Peter Rothstein. The critically-adored show has had over 100 performances since its premiere in 2006.
The libretto for We, The Unknown is a mix of original text by Kansas City poet, Pat Daneman, and Lt. Col Robert Hill, U.S. Army, Retired (who conceived WETU and sings with HMC) and poetry and texts of the period. The libretto includes Alan Seeger's I Have a Rendezvous with Death and John McCrae's In Flanders Fields.
Heartland Men's Chorus
Now in its 32nd season, Heartland Men’s Chorus provides excellence in performance while advancing men’s choral music, building community, and reaching out to diverse audiences. The members of HMC have joined together for the purpose of making music as a not-for-profit, volunteer chorus of gay and gay-sensitive people who are making a positive cultural contribution to the entire community. The Chorus' artistic director is Dustin Cates and its executive director is Rick Fisher.
HMC performs a varied repertoire of music, including jazz, Broadway, popular and classical works. In recent years, the Chorus has become known for its musical documentary format which uses music, narration and multi-media to illustrate issues such as social justice, bullying, coming out, and new definitions of family.
Heartland Men’s Chorus is registered with the IRS as a tax-exempt, 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization.
Indivisible: Songs of Resistance and Remembrance
WETU will be part of HMC’s summer concert, Indivisible: Songs of Resistance and Remembrance, that explores the dynamic that occurs between patriotism and protest in a democracy. Sometimes, as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. showed us, protest becomes a means of expressing one’s patriotism or love of country. Similarly, those who have fought and died for our nation—particularly those in uniform—do so in order to preserve one of democracy’s most cherished and fundamental rights—that of free expression, including protest.
The concert will be June 9th and 10th at the C. Stephen Metzler Hall at the Folly Theater, downtown Kansas City. Tickets go on sale March 26 through the chorus website, http://hmckc.org.
The reward levels are named after the battles/campaigns in which U.S. servicemen fought between 1917 and 1918.
Each level builds on all previous levels (except for tickets to world premiere, which are for the exact number specified):
Cambrai - For a donation of $10 or more, you'll receive our sincere thanks delivered via a hand-written note, along with a personalized bookmark. Your name will also appear on the WeTheUnknown.org website.
Vittorio Veneto - For a donation of $25 or more, you'll also be acknowledged in the concert playbill as a donor to the We, The Unknown (WETU) Project and receive a high-res digital photo of the production to be used as a screensaver.
Lys - For a donation of $50 or more, you'll also receive a digital photo album of the concert and related events, with captions.
Montdidier-Noyon - For a donation of $100 or more, you'll also receive a limited-edition enamel pin of a red poppy, symbolic of WWI.
Champagne-Marne - For a donation of $150 or more, you'll also receive a printed concert playbill, signed by the artistic team.
Aisne-Marne - For a donation of $250 or more, you'll also receive an Indivisible concert poster, signed by HMC (upon request, as some might prefer a clean poster).
Somme Offensive - For a donation of $500 or more, you'll receive one (1) ticket to the WETU world premiere (travel & lodging not included) and also receive a WETU T-Shirt.
St. Mihiel - For a donation of $750 or more, you'll also receive an audio recording of the WETU oratorio, along with a digital copy of the libretto, with sheet music for one song, selected by the composer.
Ypres-Lys - For a donation of $1000 or more, you'll receive two (2) tickets to the WETU world premiere, June 9, 2018 (travel & lodging not included), and also membership in the exclusive HMC Heartland Soul Society (to include a Society lapel pin).
Meuse-Argonne - For a donation of $2500 or more, you'll receive four (4) tickets to the WETU world premiere, June 9, 2018 (travel & lodging not included), and also attendance at a pre-concert reception to meet the creative team and a personal tour of the National World War I Museum and Memorial.
$12,500+ Achieving this threshold or greater will enable HMC to enhance production of the world premiere to include these aspects, among others:
- Motion video and other graphical elements.
- First-rate musicians to be part of the chamber ensemble.
- Period costuming and more realistic set design.
- High-fidelity recording of the oratorio.
Additionally, this threshold will enable us to provide VIP seating to 15 veterans identified by local non-profits as deserving of recognition. These veterans may be dealing with homelessness or emotional and physical challenges, or simply facing difficulty in transitioning out of the military into civilian life.
Facts about WWI provided in the rewards section in the right column come from http://www.american-historama.org/1913-1928-ww1-prohibition-era/american-battles-in-wwi.htm
Risks and challenges
We are committed to premiering We, The Unknown, June 9 & 10, 2018 at the Folly Theater, downtown Kansas City. As previously mentioned, approximately two-thirds of the money to underwrite the commission has already been raised and while we will likely find ways to bridge the difference, we feel strongly that "democratizing" the process and allowing everyone interested in history, service to country, the military, equality, justice, and honoring the Unknown should be part of this project.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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