DR. STAN HILL | ARTISTIC DIRECTOR
Since joining Modern Men as Artistic Director in August, 2016, and in his 53rd year in conducting, Dr. Stan Hill brings to Coachella Valley audiences his witty, humanistic and iconoclastic approach to choral music and conducting. Well known in choral circles nationally, Stan served for 11 years as Artistic Director of the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus and then for 12 years as Artistic Director of Minnesota’s Twin Cities Gay Men’s Chorus before moving to Palm Springs in 2012.
A dynamic conductor, arranger, clinician and vocal coach, Stan’s career spans the entire spectrum of elementary, secondary, university, church
and community choruses. He has conducted every configuration of vocal ensemble and chorus with every combination of instrumentation from small ensembles to full symphony orchestras.
Dr. Hill has commissioned and premiered some of the most successful music in the gay men’s chorus repertoire, including NakedMan, Exile, ExtrABBAganza, Misbehavin’!, Metamorphosis, Through a Glass, Darkly and The Kushner Trilogy and MOMENTum. Modern Men recently released their first in-studio recording for our CD of that new commission, MOMENTum. He has produced 13 CDs, several videos, and has written countless arrangements for men’s choruses. In 2012, Hill was honored with GALA Choruses’ highest accolade: The Lifetime Achievement Award. In July 2016 Stan conducted the 20th Anniversary performance of NakedMan with over 350 singers and full orchestra for the Opening Blockbuster Concert of the Gay and Lesbian Association of Choruses (GALA) conference in Denver. In October 2016 Stan was honored by the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus with the title Conductor Laureate for the work he did to make SFGMC the extraordinary ensemble it is today, and for his tireless efforts for the chorus and community during the worst days of the AIDS pandemic.
A native of Southern California, Stan earned his Bachelor of Music and Master of Music degrees, both in conducting, from California State University, Fullerton, where he studied under noted choral directors Harold Decker and David Thorsen. He earned his PhD from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, completing his dissertation on Laryngeal Physiology. He is a member of the National Association of Teachers of Singing and the American Choral Directors Association.
Kurt developed an intense interest in learning the piano after having seen The Phantom of the Opera with his parents at age 10. He studied under the guidance of Joann Algier throughout middle and high school, during which time he discovered a love of music using multiple pianos. This passion was further explored at Azusa Pacific University while studying with Dr. Robert Sage. Kurt performed several recitals of material he arranged for two and three pianos, the recordings of which have received radio play in Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, Santa Cruz, Boston, Austin and Beirut. In 2009, Kurt had the honor of performing the West Coast premiere of Alvin Curran’s 7.5 hour long piano song cycle, Inner Cities 1-13, as well as the U.S. premiere of movement 14 at Burning Man in 2013. Kurt graduated
from Azusa Pacific University in 2010 with a BA in Music Theory and Composition. He is involved as accompanist for many musical groups throughout the Coachella Valley including: Met to Broadway, the Cathedral City High School Chamber Singers, College of the Desert and Green Room Theatre. Kurt is the Principal Accompanist for Modern Men and Desert Outreach Synagogue. Kurt has also composed several large-scale works for piano solo, a song cycle for piano and soprano and most recently, a piano sonata.
TOM McGILLIS | SIGN LANGUAGE INTERPRETER
This season is Tom’s fifth as the American Sign Language interpreter for Modern Men and is a freelance interpreter working throughout the Coachella Valley. Tom was the sign language interpreter for the New York City Gay Men’s Chorus from 1988 until 2016. His other interpreting credits include The Rocky Horror Show and Those Musclebound Cowboys of Snake Pit Gulch, both at the Desert Rose Playhouse, Forever Plaid at the Paper Mill Playhouse (Millburn, NJ), The Christmas Revels at Symphony Space in New York City, and several productions with the Very Special Arts Theater Company and at the George Street Playhouse in New Brunswick, NJ. Tom has also voice interpreted signed performances, including Progress at the Hudson Guild Theater in New York City and Handstone Productions’ Anna and Danilo. He is a
graduate of the New York Society for the Deaf’s interpreter training program and studied artistic interpreting at the Juilliard School in New York City. Tom has served on advisory boards and panels to help increase access, particularly in employment and the arts. He has presented workshops for the Gay and Lesbian Association of Choruses (GALA) on issues in interpreting choral performances. Tom also has had a long career in human resources, serving most recently as Vice President, HR for an international marketing research company. He moved to Palm Springs from New York in 2016 with chorus member Donald Gardenier, his husband of 32 years.
RON WHEELER | PRODUCER
Ron has been involved in singing, acting and production since he was a child. He started in the world of theater as a child in productions for Junior University in San Bernardino performing in The Wizard of Oz and Pinocchio. As a teenager he became involved with San Bernardino Civic Light Opera learning from professionals in the back of the house as well as front of house. As an adult he has played many leading roles such as Harry Roat in Wait Until Dark, Garry Lejeune in Noises Off, Jed in Fifth of July, Charlie Brown in You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown, Mayor Shinn in The Music Man, the Tin Man in The Wizard of Oz, Angie in Gypsy as well as credits for choreography and direction in Fiddler on The Roof, A Christmas Carol and Gypsy. Ron was previously the producer for the Palm Springs Gay Men’s Chorus as well as Harmonic Voices of Palm Springs. He has been the producer for Modern Men since 2016.
KURT JORDAN | PRINCIPAL ACCOMPANIST