Monday, December 8, 2014

Tuesday's Free Ticket PUZZLE


HOAMC Partners With Inter-Faith Ministries Project Holiday


Since 1961, Operation Holiday has made holidays brighter for families in need. The program distributes nonperishable food, fresh food vouchers, winter wear and blankets to low-income families and individuals. Children 14 and under receive gifts through a partnership with the Marines’ Toys for Tots program. In 2012, Operation Holiday launched the Teen2Teen program to provide gifts to teens ages 15 through 17.
With the help of many congregations, businesses, organizations, and individuals, the 2013 Operation Holiday served 11,706 people.

Donate To Operation Holiday

You Can Help!
Congregations, businesses, and organizations are invited to organize donation drives among their members. Operation Holiday relies heavily on volunteer-led donation drives to collect cash, non-perishable food, teen gifts, and winter wear to serve the people of this community.

Donation Drive Needs

  • Click here to see our food box wishlist for a family of four.
  • Teens need gifts too! The Teen2Teen program provides gifts to recipients ages 15 - 17. We are extending an appeal to other teens and youth groups to share a little bit with those teens who live with less and who receive few if any gifts during the holidays.  A new gift valued at $10 to $15 would mean a lot.  Please contact Kathleen at 264-9303 if you’d like to run a Teen2Teen donation drive!
  • Also needed: Cash, new blankets, and new/gently-used coats, hats, mittens, and scarves 
    Organizations interested in hosting drives may contact Kathleen by calling 264-9303 or e-mail

    Community Drop-Off Sites
    Drop off your donations at the Operation Holiday Distribution Center (6225 E. Kellogg Dr. S.) or one of our sponsors’ locations:
    H&R Block - the following locations only - 534 S. Rock Rd. (Kellogg & Rock), 2441 N. Maize Rd (New Market Square), 2561 S. Seneca (Pawnee & Seneca) (all donation types accepted), Wells Fargo (non-perishable food, new blankets), In The Bag Cleaners (coats, new blankets), Two Men and a Truck (non-perishable food only), Meritrust Credit Union (non-perishable food only), Dillons Food Stores (non-perishable food starting Dec. 2), Spangles (coats only)

  • You can bring coats, hats, gloves, scarves, and blankets to the Heart of America Men's Chorus concert at Newman University on December 13th and 14th.

    A BIG Thank You to David Cason

    Former accompanist to the HOAMC, David Cason, returned to that position this show to help our regular accompanist, Carol Pracht.  David covered every other rehearsal, but due to scheduling conflicts, he cannot play for the show.  His help and talent are very much appreciated and it was great to have an alumni of the artistic staff return to the fold.  Thank you David!

    Monday Free Ticket PUZZLE


    It's That Time of Year..For FREE TICKETS!

    It is a Yuletide Challenge!

    The Heart of America Men's Chorus is putting on its holiday show next weekend, December 13th and 14th.  What has become our custom is to give away tickets on the blog.

    However, this year I am introducing the Yuletide Challenge.  You must solve the puzzle to win the tickets.  Here are the details...

    To get to the puzzles, go to and click on the blog button or go directly to the blog at

    There will be five puzzles, one for each day Monday through Friday.  They are cryptoquotes, which means you have to substitute in the correct letters for the encrypted letters.  When you solve the puzzle, email me at with the subject heading HOAMC TICKETS.  Include your answer with your name in the body of the email.  Your tickets will be placed at Will-Call at the door of the performance hall and I will email you back to confirm I have received your entry.  The solutions to the puzzles are the names of the songs we will be singing in our concert.

    A sample of a cryptoquote:

    FDW   LQ   WKH   KDW (puzzle)
    CAT     IN     THE     HAT (solution)

    One Hint:

    To decode my key, it has to do with the number of HOAMC Christmas concerts that Deanne Zogleman has directed.

    Good Luck!

    Monday, November 24, 2014

    HOAMC Christmas 2014: Cheers! A Toast to the Holidays

    Join the Heart of America Men's Chorus at the De  Mattias Fine Arts Center on the Newman University campus for our 2014 holiday show, Cheers! A Toast to the Holidays.  The show is on Saturday, December 13th at 7 p.m. and Sunday, December 14th at 4:30 p.m.  The guys have been working hard to bring you an eclectic mix of familiar songs and some from around the world as well as some that you may never have heard before.  Part of the proceeds for this concert will go to Inter-Faith Ministries's program "Operation Holiday."  This is a program that collects coats, gloves, scarves, and hats to distribute to those in need of winter wear. 

    Just in case you are not familiar with Newman University, there is a map included.  The De Mattias Fine Arts Center is south of McCormick Street and DM is the building label on the map.  The part of parking lot A that you are looking for is at the west end of the building.  The entrance is also at the west end of the building.

    Wednesday, October 29, 2014

    HOAMC Ticketing Information

    Tickets for our concerts and most events can be purchased prior to the event by calling (316) 708-4837 or you can purchase them at Creative Awards located at 2801 E. Central in Wichita, KS.

    Bitchy Bingo reservations must be made by calling Rain Cafe and Lounge at (316) 261-9000.

    The HOAMC performance at Botanica is part of "Illuminations 2014" and admission tickets are through Botanica Wichita at 701 Amidon St. in Wichita.  The phone number is (316) 264-0448.  Our performance is on December 16th from 6:30pm until 7:15pm.

    Deck the Halls: A Designer Holiday Fundraiser for HOAMC on November 15th

    Do you need a reason to party?  Would you like to disguise your transition into the holiday spirit by partying the night away for a good cause?

    It is nearing that time of year again.  The Heart of America Men's Chorus is hosting its annual "Deck the Halls" social event and fundraiser.  Along with refreshments provided by the Egg Crate Cafe, there will be a silent auction involving many great items including designer decorated trees, wreaths, and other holiday goodies.  The chorus will also be performing a selection of Christmas carols.

    Tuesday, October 28, 2014

    Witches, Tricks, and Tramps! Bitchy Bingo at Rain Cafe and Lounge on October 30th

    All the tables and booths at Rain are reserved for this Thursday's bingo event but you never know - someone might cancel - we'll squeeze you in. The blackout prize is a Margaritaville Mixed Drink Maker!

    Thursday, October 9, 2014

    Important HOAMC Dates to Remember

    Oct. 16th – Logan’s Roadhouse (East) Fundraiser
    Oct. 20th – HOAMC Board Mtg at Creative Awards @ 6:00 pm
    Oct. 30th – Bitchy Bingo at Rain – Witches, Tricks, and Tramps!
    Nov. 15th – Deck the Halls at Innes Station
    Nov. 17th – HOAMC Board Mtg at Creative Awards @ 6:00 pm
    Dec. 13th and 14th – Cheers!  A Toast to the Holidays
    Dec. 15th – HOAMC Board Mtg at Creative Awards @ 6:00 pm
    Dec. 16th – Caroling at Botanica  6:30 – 7:15
    Jan. 15th – Bitchy Bingo at Rain -  Let it Blow!  Let it Blow!  Let it Blow!
    Feb. 7th – Valley Center Animal League Benefit
    Feb. – HOAMC Casino Night – Date TBD
    March 28th and 29th, 2015 – Cowboys and Rockstars
    April – Bitchy Bingo at Rain – Date TBD
    April – Spring Fling Silent Auction – Date TBD
    June 27th and 28st, 2015 – Red, White, and Cure  (notice the change of date)

    Wichita Pride September 27, 2014

    It was a beautiful evening for performing at Wichita Pride, Saturday. Thanks for participating, everyone, with Special Thanks going to Carole Pracht and Jennifer King. It was a fun get-together!

     photo credit: Mr Brian Johns.

    Logan's Roadhouse Fundraiser for HOAMC October 16th

    Have you ever wanted to donate to the Heart of America Men's Chorus but haven't?  Now there is an easy way to donate to the chorus and get something out of it for you.  Matter of fact, you don't really have to do anything but to go to Logan's Roadhouse at Towne East (where the old Pizza Hut Cafe once was) and eat dinner.  Logan's Roadhouse has graciously partnered with the Heart of America Men's Chorus and will donate a percentage of your pre-tax total (excluding alcohol).  All you have to is show them the attached barcode when you arrive.  You don't even have to print it out, show them on your smart phone if you choose.  This opportunity to help us out while having a delicious dinner will happen on October 16, 2014 from 4 p.m. until they close.  We appreciate your help.

    Wednesday, September 10, 2014

    HOAMC To Perform at "A Sweet Affair"

    The Heart of America Men's Chorus will be performing at "A Sweet Affair," a fundraiser hosted by Dr. Donna Sweet for the emergency fund that funds healthcare for patients with HIV/AIDS who need financial help with those expenses.  It will take place on September 18th.  The chorus is honored to participate in this event and encourages support of this charity.  The theme for this year's event is centered around superheroes.

    Below is an interview with Dr. Donna Sweet about her work in the field of HIV/AIDS.  It appeared in 2010 on and was conducted by Jeff Berry.

    The woman “behind the curtain” in Kansas
    Interview by Jeff Berry

    Jeff Berry: Please tell us a little bit about yourself.

    Donna Sweet, M.D.: I have been doing HIV work since 1983, when I saw my first case in Wichita, Kansas, and I’ve been the principal investigator for the Mountain Plains AIDS Education and Training Center [MPAETC] since 1988. During this period, I spent a great deal of time stumping rural Kansas trying to make life livable for the people who were there because Kansas was not terribly tolerant, as many states weren’t. I spent a lot of time going from small town to smaller school system talking about HIV—what it was and what it wasn’t—and trying to do prevention work. It’s interesting that Kansas, which is not at all progressive or liberal, was one of the better, more progressive states when it came to things like HIV/AIDS education. There was a Governor’s AIDS Task Force that I was on—as a result of that, the school board mandated that HIV education and prevention messages had to be in all school districts in Kansas. That lasted until about 1997 and a much more conservative school board got rid of that mandate. In fact, we went, in the late ’90s or 2000, to a much more abstinence-only based sex education, which has been problematic.
    There are 105 counties in Kansas and I’ve been to most of them, especially any that had a public health department or a hospital, doing HIV education. As a result of that, my name was the one people remembered if they did find AIDS cases and because of that, my clinic, my team, takes care of a little over 1,250 HIV-infected patients. We cover, literally, over three-quarters of the state of Kansas—my clinic is in Wichita. As a result of that, we see many people who live in very small towns. We take care of them and get them enrolled in the system, and then see them in the outreach clinics, so people don’t have to drive the 200-250 miles it would take to get into our system if they physically had to come to Wichita.

    JB: What do you think are the lessons learned in your experience working in Kansas all these years that might inform some other rural communities across the country?

    DS: In rural states like mine, you don’t get anywhere near the amount of money per capita for HIV patients that big jurisdictions like New York and L.A. do. We have divided Kansas into nine case management AIDS areas with a case manager in each of those regions, and we have an outreach case manager who goes with me to each of those clinics, so that all the paperwork can get done, the meds can be had, and whatever it takes is done to get people care.With physicians, our focus has been to try and get them to routinize testing, to find the people in Kansas we don’t know about. I’m continually frustrated that a great many patients, 40–45%, just like the national average, come into our system sick, quite sick, and that just shouldn’t happen anymore. So we spend a lot of time trying to get clinicians to routinize testing, to understand the 2006 CDC Guidelines for routinization of testing which promote at least one HIV test for every American between the ages of 13 and 64, which have largely gone ignored in many places.
    What I tell them is that you don’t have to accept the responsibility of treating these patients—that’s what frightens many clinicians; they just don’t know anything about HIV/AIDS care. I tell them this is how you do the test, this is the opt-out system, you don’t need separate informed consent. Find the patients and then call me. Call me or call somebody, but we’ll make sure we can help you link that individual to care.
    About 45% of the people who come into my system of care have no visible means of health care coverage so we can get them Ryan White, I can get the labs done through the system that I have, and I can give discounts. But it’s very different if you’re ordering one CD4 count, one HIV genotype, and one viral load out in a small system. That reference laboratory is going to charge clinicians a fortune to get that test, and then if the patient doesn’t have the resources to pay for it, the clinics are looking at a big red hole in their budget. Small town physicians are small businesses and they’re struggling right now, especially in primary care.

    JB: So it’s not only fear or lack of awareness among patients or potential people at risk, but also among the providers?

    DS: I can look at anybody and say, “He’s got a cough, he needs an HIV test; he’s got a fever, he needs an HIV test,” because I see it every day. But if somebody’s out in Small Town, Kansas, who doesn’t really think about this because he or she doesn’t see it, it’ll be the fifth thing on their differential, and that’s why it gets missed as often as it does.
    In rural states like mine, you don’t get anywhere near the amount of money per capita for HIV patients that big jurisdictions like
    New York and L.A. do.
    We had a case not too long ago that shows that serendipity works, I guess. A young man was in the hospital with pneumonia, and wasn’t getting better. But the reason I got contacted is because there was an inadvertent needle-stick. A nurse stuck herself when she was drawing blood on him. We’ve encouraged rapid testing in that situation, which this hospital was doing, and the gentleman was HIV-infected. He would not have come to our attention as to why his pneumonia wasn’t getting better because he was being treated as though he had community-aquired pneumonia, and he had bad pneumocystis. So it was an accident, a lucky accident, that he was even found to be HIV-positive before he got even sicker.

    JB: I was reading through some of your Ryan White testimony, when you were talking about the Girl Scout-style fundraising and what you have to do to keep your clinic afloat. Is that typical?

    DS: I think all of us participate in one way or another, be it ASOs [AIDS Service Organizations] that are doing AIDS walks, or those who are contributing to the care of the patients. Ours is largely in part because ADAP in Kansas doesn’t cover anything but anti-infectives and antivirals so, especially since my patients are living longer and getting everything from diabetes to hypertension to lipid problems, there are lots of other medications that they need that are also expensive. I also think it’s important—and all of my peers and people I’ve worked with for years all across this country are doing this—to be involved to some degree in some sort of social activation of their community, and fundraising is one way to keep people aware that it’s still out there, that we still have a problem.

    JB: You also talked about explaining to physicians about the opt-out testing and then having them call you—I’m just wondering, is there someone like you in every rural state?

    DS: There really is. For the most part, there’s a person or group of people that does it in most rural states.

    JB: Due to the flat funding of ADAPs, do you foresee waiting lists becoming a problem in your state?

    DS: No, but I was talking to Dr. Kristin Ries and there is a waiting list in Utah now and apparently, if there isn’t one in Nebraska, it’s about to start [Nebraska had a waiting list of 75 as PA went to press], so, as I’m sure you know, there’s an increasing number of states going on that waiting list.

    JB: So the patients you treat who are insured—are they able to get into the co-pay programs of the companies? Do the providers know about them?

    DS: Well, we certainly do. I think most of us who have many patients, it behooves us to figure out how to get some help, because quite frankly, sometimes those insured patients, with the way co-pays are on some meds, people think they have better insurance than they do until they have to use it. If you’re taking medications that are costing a couple thousand a month, especially if you have to take two, three, or four different scripts, your co-pays may end up being in the hundreds per month. So yes, using some of these newer ways the companies have of helping out with co-pays—$200 every month on this pill—I know you’re aware of those programs, they can be quite helpful.
    B: That’s good to hear. And the patient assistance programs for the uninsured are kind of the same thing, I would imagine.

    DS: Yes, that’s what our case managers and social workers are always on the lookout for. In my little office, there are five of us who are providers—two nurse practitioners, a PA [physician assistant], my junior partner, and myself—we’re all credentialed by the AAHIVM [American Academy of HIV Medicine] as HIV Specialists—and we employ one full-time person who does nothing but patient assistance paperwork.

    JB: In terms of stigma, can you talk a little bit about how that’s a deterrent to care or what might be a way to overcome it?

    DS: Boy, I wish I could figure that out. I’m not sure it’s just the rural nature of communities; sometimes communities in big cities can be fairly closed. It’s still a homophobic society in many parts of the world and there are many of my patients who I think avoid getting the care they need, or the tests they know they need, until they just can’t deal with it anymore because they don’t want to be “found out.” And the “found out” is not so much that they have HIV or AIDS, but it’s that they’re gay. There’s still a very large amount of that that goes on. I have a number of people who don’t ever want me to leave my name on their phone system because somebody else might pick up their calls. That’s the downside of a state like ours. Though I take care of a fairly large number of non-HIV-infected people as well, people jump to the wrong conclusion and sometimes to the right conclusion. We have people in many of our smaller rural towns where there is a local pharmacy, but there’s a pharmacy in Wichita that’s worked with me for years and years. I have no interest in it financially, but it’s just always been wonderful in helping my patients. We have a lot of people in small towns who have this pharmacy fill their prescriptions and mail them to their home in a plain brown wrapper, because they don’t want to go to their pharmacy and pick up their zidovudine or whatever when the pharmacist would know what their diagnosis is.

    JB: Wow. Yeah, I wouldn’t know the answer to that one either, but I think just shining some light on it might help.

    DS: It isn’t as bad as it was 10 years ago and it’s certainly not as bad as it was 20 years ago, but you know, I live in a land of Fred Phelps—I’m sure you’ve heard of Fred—and he’s still active in our part of the world.

    JB: Oh, yeah, I remember, I was in the march through D.C. in ’96 and they were all standing there and we marched by and got the crowd going, got them all to chant, “God doesn’t hate”—it was fabulous, we shouted them down.

    DS: That was good.

    JB: So what keeps you going? I mean it sounds like you’ve got a lot going against you.

    DS: Oh! I love my patients, I love what I do and there’s always something to work to improve. The people in my clinic, we’ve all worked together for a great long time.

    JB: So do you have any words of advice for someone else living in some rural part of the country, patient or provider?

    DS: Well, I would say find out who the local treater is and when we say local, in places like Kansas, I know people who go to dinner and drive 100 miles because that’s the only place if they want a nice restaurant. Find out, through the various ways, you can do it through AAHIVM—they have the website that has credentialed providers and there are credentialed providers in some very small parts of the world if you just look. You can go through the National Clinical Consultation Center, which is part of the AETC network. You can find an AETC that covers every state.

    JB: Yeah, that’s really important, to find a provider. So that’s interesting—driving 100 miles for a meal isn’t uncommon. That kind of puts it in perspective!

    DS: If you ask what is one of the major problems in rural America for access to health care, not just HIV, but any health care, it is transportation, because so many patients don’t have a good car. That’s one of the reasons we started doing the outreach, going to the communities, because it takes a pretty decent vehicle to drive 240 miles both ways, plus that’s going to be a whole long day if you’re sick. A lot of people don’t have access to good transportation and there is no public transportation in a state like Kansas.

    JB: That’s a good point. Is there anything else you’d like to say?

    DS: Well… other than that I love taking care of my patients, it’s an exciting field and we just have to continue to encourage young people going into health professions—physicians, nurses, pharmacists, dentists—to really help take care of this population. It’s growing and I would like to see AIDS mainstreamed enough that people would feel comfortable taking care of AIDS patients. Part of it is the science—it is difficult to keep up—but part of it is still that the smaller you are, the more likely it is that somebody’s going to look askance at you if you have an AIDS patient in the waiting room sitting next to them and they’re there for their well-baby check or their hypertension. That’s something that’s kept clinicians, even interested clinicians, out of the field, because they’re fearful of what the community will think. They certainly have to make a living, so they can’t disregard the feelings of the entire community to take care of a few. I think we really need to continue to de-stigmatize the disease everywhere.

    Bitchy Bingo "Bitches in Labor" a Success at Rain

    The Heart of America Men's Chorus has been hosting Bitchy Bingo at regular intervals at Club Rain in Wichita's Oldtown for quite a while now.  People have come to expect the unexpected as well as a whole lot of fun.  Bitchy Bingo has been a great fundraiser for the chorus and a very positive experience as well.

    Many people that have attended HOAMC's Bitchy Bingo nights have raved about the fun they have had and the great array of prizes to be won.  The guys have a great time coming up with the themes and costumes.  Many of the chorus members are in attendance.  Rain said that for HOAMC's bingo nights, they had received 100 reservations weeks before the event.

    Last week's Bitchy Bingo was themed, "Bitches in Labor."   Stay tuned for more information about the October and January Bitchy Bingo nights.

    Tuesday, July 15, 2014

    HOAMC To Perform at Wichita Pride on September 27

    If you missed "Raise You Up" when HOAMC performed in Wichita and at the Salina Pride, you get another chance.  HOAMC has been asked to perform the show again at Wichita Pride.  The chorus will perform on September 27.  More details will follow.  The chorus entertained a great audience in Wichita in June and received a great reception to the two Salina shows.  The Wichita Pride performance promises to be another fabulous time.

    Save the Date...September 2

    Rehearsal for the holiday show begins on September 2 at Newman University in the DeMattias rehearsal hall on the second floor.  There is a potluck dinner at 6 and rehearsal is at 7.  If you are a newbie, just bring yourself and let us welcome you into the family.

    Thursday, June 19, 2014

    "Raise You Up" Ticket Give-away

    The Heart of America Men's Chorus is giving away tickets to the upcoming show on Saturday and Sunday, June 21 & 22.  We have a pair for Saturday and another pair for Sunday.  All you have to do is send me an email at with RAISE YOU UP in the subject line.  Make sure your name is included in the email and specify the day you want to attend.  Names will be drawn randomly, I will email you back, and your tickets will be placed at will-call for pick-up on the day of the performance.  Please give it a try.  You have nothing to lose and you can gain free tickets to a great show.

    Saturday, June 14, 2014

    About Our "Raise You Up" Beneficiary: PFLAG Wichita Chapter

    When Jeanne Manford marched with her son, Morty, in New York City’s Gay Pride parade in 1972, her sign read, “Parents of Gays Unite in Support for Our Children.” A year later, 20 people attended what would be the first PFLAG support meeting.

    Since that time, the meaning of “support” for PFLAG has grown to include more people than just parents. PFLAG’s support efforts provide encouragement and resources to parents, families, friends, as well as LGBT people themselves. In more recent years, we’ve added special outreach programs for transgender people and their loved ones and straight spouses of LGBT individuals.

    Included here are several resources that can help you find the support that you need. For more personalized support services, contact one of the more than 500 PFLAG chapters across the United States today.

    This vast grassroots network is cultivated, resourced, and serviced by PFLAG National, located in Washington, D.C., the National Board of Directors and 13 Regional Directors.

    PFLAG Wichita
    2930 E. 1st Street
    Wichita, KS 67214-4711
    (316) 683-4643

    Presidential Pride Proclamation 2014

    Presidential Proclamation -- Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month, 2014

    - - - - - - -
    As progress spreads from State to State, as justice is delivered in the courtroom, and as more of our fellow Americans are treated with dignity and respect -- our Nation becomes not only more accepting, but more equal as well. During Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Pride Month, we celebrate victories that have affirmed freedom and fairness, and we recommit ourselves to completing the work that remains.
    Last year, supporters of equality celebrated the Supreme Court's decision to strike down a key provision of the Defense of Marriage Act, a ruling which, at long last, gave loving, committed families the respect and legal protections they deserve. In keeping with this decision, my Administration is extending family and spousal benefits -- from immigration benefits to military family benefits -- to legally married same-sex couples.
    My Administration proudly stands alongside all those who fight for LGBT rights. Here at home, we have strengthened laws against violence toward LGBT Americans, taken action to prevent bullying and harassment, and prohibited discrimination in housing and hospitals. Despite this progress, LGBT workers in too many States can be fired just because of their sexual orientation or gender identity; I continue to call on the Congress to correct this injustice by passing the Employment Non-Discrimination Act. And in the years ahead, we will remain dedicated to addressing health disparities within the LGBT community by implementing the Affordable Care Act and the National HIV/AIDS Strategy -- which focuses on improving care while decreasing HIV transmission rates among communities most at risk.
    Our commitment to advancing equality for the LGBT community extends far beyond our borders. In many places around the globe, LGBT people face persecution, arrest, or even state-sponsored execution. This is unacceptable. The United States calls on every nation to join us in defending the universal human rights of our LGBT brothers and sisters.
    This month, as we mark 45 years since the patrons of the Stonewall Inn defied an unjust policy and awakened a nascent movement, let us honor every brave leader who stood up, sat in, and came out, as well as the allies who supported them along the way. Following their example, let each of us speak for tolerance, justice, and dignity -- because if hearts and minds continue to change over time, laws will too.
    NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim June 2014 as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month. I call upon the people of the United States to eliminate prejudice everywhere it exists, and to celebrate the great diversity of the American people.
    IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this thirtieth day of May, in the year of our Lord two thousand fourteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-eighth.

    Raise You Up: HOAMC Pride 2014

    Monday, April 28, 2014

    HOAMC Celebrates GLBT Pride on June 21 and 22

    The Heart of America Men's Chorus celebrates GLBT pride on June 21 and 22nd.  "Raise You Up" is the title of this year's summer concert. This concert contains pieces that are familiar such as "I Will Survive" as well as some new favorites like "Raise You Up" from the musical "Kinky Boots" music score written by Cyndi Lauper, a well-known fruit fly. Please join the chorus on June 21 and 22nd as we "Sing Out."  Join us one week later on June 28 as we perform at the Salina, Kansas gay pride festival. The chorus was deeply honored to be asked by the festival organizers to be the headline act.

    Saturday, March 8, 2014

    It Gets Better: Heartland Men's Chorus

    The Heartland Men's Chorus in Kansas City was one of the original four choruses to commission and perform the musical adaptation of "Oliver Button is a Sissy."  This is their "It Gets Better" video that is very appropriate for this concert as well as our next concert.

    From the Wichita Eagle

    Heart of America Men’s Chorus tackles bullying

    • Eagle correspondent

    Read more here:

    The Heart of America Men’s Chorus has a knack for matching music with causes dear to members’ hearts.  A few years ago, for example, the group belted out Broadway tunes to benefit the high school fine arts department in tornado-ravaged Greensburg, Kan. More recently, a patriotically themed concert raised money for the Wichita Fraternal Order of Police.

    The chorus – made up of 30 talented amateur singers – is at it again this weekend, using a production based on a well-known children’s book to help the Kansas Children’s Service League and its anti-bullying hotline.  “For the Child in All of Us,” the first half of which is based on “Oliver Button Is a Sissy,” will be performed Saturday and Sunday at Newman University. The show’s second half features hits from Disney movies.

    “We always try to do something that benefits the community,” said Eric Nachtigal, who’s the group’s president, one of its second tenors and an elementary school counselor. “One of the components of this concert is a message of bullying prevention, acceptance and love.”

    Although all of the chorus’ productions are strictly G-rated, Nachtigal said the current one is even more family-oriented. “It’s geared toward children. We’re encouraging parents to bring their children.”

    “Oliver Button is a Sissy,” by Tomie dePaola, tells the story of a boy who must deal with being an outsider because he’d rather paint and tap dance than play sports. The first half of the concert alternates narration of the book (by chorus member Bill Loyd) with songs performed by the chorus.

    Nachtigal said he first saw the show performed by the Heartland Men’s Chorus in Kansas City. “A number of us went and fell in love with it, and had the dream of bringing it back to Wichita.”

    “It’s all about accepting people for who they are and their unique qualities,” he added. “It’s just a wonderful message for everybody.”

    The concert’s second half is filled with songs from Disney movies, including “You’ve Got a Friend in Me” from “Toy Story,” “Pure Imagination” from “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory,” “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” from “Mary Poppins,” “Hakuna Matata” from “The Lion King” and “Hallelujah” from “Shrek.”

    “There’s a nice mix of newer and older Disney,” Nachtigal said.

    The idea, he said, is to “bring the audience to a point where they can imagine that everything is possible and that we’re all wonderful creatures.”

    With an intermission, the show runs about 75 minutes.

    Through a partnership with Arts Partners of Wichita, the chorus also performed two sold-out shows Thursday for local schoolchildren.

    The chorus was formed in 2002 by five men. The group stages three shows a year, during the spring, summer and holiday season. They’re accompanied by pianists and directed by Deanne Zogleman, director of Newman’s music department. Members practice once a week at Newman.

    “They’re just community members who come from all different facets of life,” Nachtigal said. “There are a lot of teachers and businessmen.”

    There are no “tryouts” and anyone is welcome to join, he said.

    In addition to music, Nachtigal said members share a love for their community.
    “We all share that common interest. It’s something we’re really passionate about.”

    If you go

    ‘For the Child In All of Us’

    What: Concert by the Heart of America Men’s Chorus
    When: 7 p.m. Saturday, 4:30 p.m. Sunday
    Where: De Mattias Performance Hall, Newman University
    Tickets: $15 for adults, $5 for students, children 12 and under free with paid adult admission. Available at the door or by calling 316-708-4837.

    Read more here:

    Read more here:

    HOAMC Performs "Oliver Button is a Sissy" for 800 Local Students

    PACKED AUDITORIUM AGAIN!! This was at the beginning of our second school performance for March 6th! Don't miss this show this weekend. Just ask any of these children who attended. Kudos to the Newman University Sloppy Joes Improv Troupe for helping us out!

    We have received many positive responses from teachers and parents.  Teachers and parents wrote to us saying how their children sought help or became empowered to believe that it will get better.  It has been a true honor to perform this piece and truly rewarding that it has helped people. 

    Wednesday, March 5, 2014

    A Story of Bullying: Diana's Story

    There was a girl in my school named Diana.  She had a gorgeous smile.  She was nice and very sweet in her own unique way.  Diana also was from a poor family and was considered overweight.  It shouldn't have mattered, but I guess it did to some.

    Diana tried so hard to make friends and some were nice to her.  However, that bulk of the kids were cruel to her.  They called her the most horrible names.  At lunch, they would say things like "Don't eat your peas...Diana is eating her peas and you will get her cooties!"  Often times, she would laugh it off, but you could see the hurt in her eyes.  She was often excluded from games during recess.  During fourth grade, she had a boyfriend named Mike.  People liked him, but harassed him because he was her boyfriend.  He would shrug it off and smile.  I admired him because he was so visibly her champion.

    She left school in later years.  I heard that she had problems and had struggled in life.  When I would see her parents, I always asked how she was.  One day, her parents were shopping in the grocery store and said to me that Diana had told them how much she had liked me because I was always so nice to her.  I cried that night because I felt like I should have done more.  I often wonder where life has taken her and hope that she has found the happiness, acceptance, and peace that she deserves.

    HOAMC Voices Speak on Bullying: Travis Zirkle

    Tuesday, March 4, 2014

    Sierra Scott to Host "For the Child in All of Us."

    Sierra Scott, a great talent in local journalism, is the host of the Heart of America Men's Chorus's upcoming show, "For the Child in All of Us."  The well known journalist, a victim of vicious bullying, will take to the stage with HOAMC on March 8th and 9th as they perform a piece on bullying titled "Oliver Button is a Sissy."  Sierra Scott currently hosts the "Brett and Sierra Show" with Brett Harris on KWCH 12 (CBS) in Wichita, Kansas.

    HOAMC Members Randy Ervin and Ron Hobart Appear on "The Brett and Sierra Show" on KWCH on Friday, Feb. 28th

    HOAMC members, Randy Ervin and Ron Hobart, appeared on the "Brett and Sierra Show" on KWCH.  They appeared in conjunction with HOAMC's upcoming show "For the Child in All of Us."  The show, in part, deals with the subject of bullying with the presentation of the musical adaptation of the children's story "Oliver Button is a Sissy."

    The show is being presented to school age children on Thursday, March 6th with the public shows on March 8th at 7 p.m. and March 9th at 4:30 p.m.  The performances are at Newman University.  Tickets for the weekend shows are available. 
    Tickets were given away by the "Brett and Sierra Show."  Special pricing is available by checking out HOAMC's Facebook page.  The full segment of the HOAMC interview can be viewed on our Facebook page.  The link is in the upper right hand side of the blog main page.

    HOAMC Voices Speak on Bullying: Al Hoffman

    Tuesday, February 25, 2014

    Arts Partners Collaborates with HOAMC to Bring "Oliver Button is A Sissy."

    About Arts Partners:

    Arts Partners, affiliated with the national Young Audiences Arts for Learning network, is a comprehensive educational program that integrates visual and performing arts into all areas of the curriculum through the planned use of community cultural resources. Arts Partners inspires creativity and learning by using the arts to enhance the classroom experience for PreK-12 students in collaboration with teaching artists and community cultural organizations. This is accomplished through professional development for artists and teachers, and student participation in arts-in-education activities provided by Arts Partners teaching artists and more than two dozen partnering cultural organizations.

    Arts Partners is designed to create a partnership that includes representatives of school districts, teaching artists, and area arts and cultural organizations. Members of the Arts Partners team work together to create a preschool through twelfth grade curriculum that combines classroom study, field trips, performances, workshops and residencies in the visual and performing arts. Arts Partners believes that using the arts for learning allows students to better express themselves, develop higher-order thinking skills, enhance their creativity and strengthen their problem-solving abilities. Arts Partners programs are also designed to promote self-esteem and encourage life-long learning.

    Programs and Goals:
    We offer a variety of arts-in-education programs that are specifically designed by teaching
    artists, curriculum specialists and Arts Partners’ program staff to impact learning for thousands
    of students. Arts Partners’ goal is to offer programs that provide arts learning experiences that
    lead to young people who:

    • Think creatively; make connections between the arts and other areas of learning
    • Engage in creative exploration, critical thinking and problem-solving
    • Understand and use artistic skills and techniques
    • Work collaboratively and have an appreciation and respect for other culturesThe Wichita Public School District’s long-term commitment to arts education.
    The majority of our programs are teaching artist workshops and residencies. The goals are to:
    • Engage the students by allowing them to Experience their art form.
    • Help the students Understand the art form, how the artist creates it, the cultural context
      and how it connects to the curriculum.
    • Allow the students to Create their own art and to talk about their own creative process.
    • Help the students Connect this learning experience to other areas of their studies and life.
    Because we believe that creative minds make communities better, Arts Partners is dedicated to providing opportunities for students to learn in and through the arts. According to a recent survey conducted by the American Management Association, “executives say they need a workforce fully equipped with skills beyond the basics of reading, writing and arithmetic in order to grow their businesses.” They identified the four Cs, critical thinking, communication, collaboration, and creativity as the skills that will become even more important to organizations
    in the future. All of these skills can be developed through arts learning. Arts Partners is helping to educate the next generation of creative thinkers who will have a positive impact on our community.

    Arts Partners not only provides meaningful arts experiences for thousands of students, we are also supporting and promoting attendance at many of the outstanding arts and cultural organizations in Wichita.

    "For the Child in All of Us" Concert Beneficiary is Kansas Children Services League

    Rehearsal from February 18, 2014: Prayer of the Children

    This clip is from the February 18, rehearsal for our show, "For the Child in All of Us."

    Friday, February 21, 2014

    HOAMC Voices Speak on Bullying: Randy Ervin

    For the Child in All of Us, March 8th and 9th

    "For the Child in All of Us" featuring a musical adaptation of the story "Oliver Button is a Sissy."  Join us at Newman University on March 8th at 7 pm and March 9th at 4:30 pm.

    HOAMC Serves Spaghetti and Smiles at the Valley Center Animal League Father Daughter Banquet

    Jason, Bob, Trent, George, and Yamir
    HOAMC had a great time the evening of February 8th cooking a spaghetti dinner and singing for the Valley Center (VC) Animal League's Father Daughter Dinner and Dance! Chorus members served about 200 dinners and even had the girls dancing with their fathers as they sang for them.  Thank you Dawnele Taylor and the Animal League for asking HOAMC to help! We hope you were able to raise some money to keep doing what you do for our community.

    Tuesday, January 14, 2014

    HOAMC Sings at Botanica for the Third Year

    On December 21st, HOAMC sang at Botanica for the Christmas celebration.  The Chorus has sang for the last three years and draws a significant crowd.

    Bitchy Bingo...Cheerleaders Gone Wild...January 23rd at Rain

    The Heart of America Men's Chorus will be hosting "Bitchy Bingo...Cheerleaders Gone Wild" at Rain on January 23rd at 7 p.m.  Please mark this date on the calendar as all are sure to have a great time winning some fabulous prizes.

    Sue Campbell

    The Chorus has lost a lady who was an inspiration to many.  Sue and her partner, Connie Condray, attended almost all of our concerts from the very first to last summer's concert.  She will be missed.

    Statements from President Obama and Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton

    Friday, January 3, 2014

    Rehearsal for "For the Child in All of Us."

    Rehearsal for the upcoming show, "For the Child in All of Us," starts on Tuesday, January 7th at Newman University.  There will be a potluck dinner at 6 p.m. with rehearsal at 7 p.m.  We are NOT an exclusive club and welcome all male singers above the age of 18.  We have a great deal of fun and would love for more to join us.  We also do a lot of hard work, but our Artistic Director Deanne Zogleman guides us and helps us as a group and as individuals, so even if you are a singing novice, you still have a place with us.

    Hope to see you there!

    Thursday, January 2, 2014

    Our Next Show In March

    Our next show will feature music and issues dealing with "For the Child in All of Us."  It will feature, in part, music based on the children's story, "Oliver Button is a Sissy," which is about a child who is bullied because he chooses to be artistic and be a dancer rather than the stereotypical male child.  Please stay tuned for more information.  Our shows for this concert are on March 8th and 9th.

    HOAMC Christmas Concert 2013

    The Chorus had a wonderful time performing "Santa's On His Way" Sunday! Thanks to everyone who made it to the concert on December 7th and 8th - in spite of the cold. We couldn't do it without you and we hope that our music put you in the Holiday mood!

    A special Thank You goes out to all the volunteers that help us put it all together for you - and also to MCs Robert Tolley and Sierra Scott. And, of course, Santa and Buddy the Elf!

    The Chorus wishes the most wonderful Holiday Season and the very best for the New Year.