top of page

Artistic Staff

DR. STAN HILL | ARTISTIC DIRECTOR

StanHill-directing1.jpg

Since joining Modern Men as Artistic Director in August, 2016, and in his 54th 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 Naked Man, Exile, ExtrABBAganza, Misbehavin’!, Metamorphosis, Through a Glass, Darkly and The Kushner Trilogy and MOMENTum and many others. 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 Naked Man 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. Stan is a member of the National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS), and was on the voice faculty of California State University, Fullerton for four years. He is published in the 1986 edition of the NATS Journal. As a Choral Artistic Director, he brings a unique perspective on vocal pedagogy to his chorus rehearsals and assists singers with vocal problems.

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.

KURT JORDAN | PRINCIPAL ACCOMPANIST

KurtJ2019.jpg

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. Kurt is the Principal Accompanist for Modern Men, Desert Outreach Synagogue, and Coachella Valley Classical Voices. He is a staff accompanist at College of the Desert where he had the privilege of music directing Man of La Mancha last spring. 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

TMcGillis photo2.jpg

Tom McGillis is a freelance American Sign Language interpreter, providing services to the Deaf community of the Coachella Valley in a wide variety of settings: academic and medical, conferences and meetings, and social gatherings and events. This season marks Tom’s sixth as American Sign Language interpreter for Modern Men.

Tom’s career in American Sign Language interpretation spans more than 40 years and has focused on interpreting artistic performances. He served as the principal American Sign Language interpreter for the New York City Gay Men’s Chorus from 1988 until 2016. Locally, he has been seen onstage at Desert Theater Works for The Mouse Trap, Nunsense

Amen, Escape to Margaritaville, and The Last Five Years, and at the Desert Rose Playhouse for The Rocky Horror Show, and Those Musclebound Cowboys of Snake Pit Gulch. Tom also interpreted concerts at Rock the Park in Palm Springs, and for the Palm Desert Concerts in the Park series. Prior theatrical interpreting credits include Forever Plaid at the Paper Mill Playhouse in 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 and Handstone Productions’ Anna and Danilo, both in New York City.

Tom studied artistic interpreting at the Juilliard School in New York City. He is a graduate of the interpreter training program at the New York Society for the Deaf. 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 holds a Master’s in Business Administration degree from Baruch College of the City University of New York. In addition to interpreting and advocacy on behalf of the Deaf community, he has had a long career in human resources, serving most recently as Vice President of Human Resources for an international marketing research company. A New Jersey native, he lived in New York City for more than 30 years before moving to

Palm Springs with his husband, Donald Gardenier (MM Baritone) where they have lived since 2016.

RON WHEELER | PRODUCER

RonW.jpeg

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.

bottom of page