DR. STAN HILL | ARTISTIC DIRECTOR
Since joining Modern Men as Artistic Director in August, 2016, and in his 50th 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. 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: the Cathedral High School Chamber Singers, The Arrangement, College of the Desert and Songshine, a non-profit organization that teaches speech therapy through music for people with Parkinson’s Disease and stroke. Most recently Kurt has become the Principal Accompanist for A Cabbello, Modern Men, The Unitarian Universalist Church of the Desert and Desert Outreach Synagogue. Kurt has also recently completed composing a 12-movement piano cycle based on the 12 houses of astrology, which premiered on May 11, 2019.
TOM McGILLIS | SIGN LANGUAGE INTERPRETER
Tom began as sign language interpreter for Modern Men in 2017.Before moving to the beautiful desert of Palm Springs, Tom served in the same capacity for the New York City Gay Men’s Chorus for 28 years. His other artistic credits include Forever Plaid for the Papermill Playhouse, Christmas Revels at Symphony Space and several productions with Very Special Theater Company and George Street Playhouse. Tom has voice interpreted signed productions including Progress at the Hudson guild and Handstone Productions Anna and Danilo. He studied artistic interpretation at the Julliard School. He is a dedicated advocate for individuals with disabilities, heading up efforts for access under the Americans with Disabilities Act in employment, education and the arts, and has served on several advisory boards. He is presented workshops
for GALA Choruses addressing interpreting issues for Choral performances. Tom is enjoying his new life in Palm Springs with his husband Donald Gardenier.
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