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Mythical Odyssey Sets Sail

As part of my desire to give back to the local community, I'll volunteer my time and talent toward causes and organizations whose mission I support. One such organization is the Kansas City Heartland Men's Chorus. This men's chorus has become a cornerstone of the arts & cultural scene as well as an empowering and healing presence within the LGBTQ community for over 30 years.

I found my way into this organization during my own coming out phase and they were there to support that chapter of my life. I suppose volunteering my energy and efforts for this organization is my way of showing gratitude for helping me find my own true voice.

For the second consecutive year, I've been a part of the Dinner of Note committee, which is comprised of a number of chorus members and its community who work tirelessly to create an unforgettable evening of entertainment to raise funds supporting community outreach and building programming to sustain its mission. For the second year, I've been on the committee to help bring the theme to life and conceptualize how the evening will unfold. Not only are we competing for the same dollars from supporters who attend numerous arts and cultural events, we're also striving for a top place within the tiers of annual fundraisers that sets itself apart from others.

I'm quite excited to share the theme of "Mythical Odyssey" and how we're bringing the theme to life, even as I'm writing this blog entry. This year's event will take place September 22nd at the Arvest Theatre at the Midland ( Midland Theatre in downtown Kansas City ). Tickets are currently on sale at The change of venue from a hotel ballroom to one of the most recognizable landmark theaters in KC was strategic as we work to refresh this long-standing signature event.

I've learned that a picture is worth a thousand words so if you have only one shot to make a first impression, you'll have a better rate of success if you spend more time prepping upfront so that fewer words are needed when you actually make the reveal. I do this through the use of mood boards. A mood board should reflect the essence, colors, emotions and a sense of awe and wonder – all so viewers do the least amount of work to arrive at the destination where you desire them to go. Their reaction should be palpable, ignite immediate conversation and create an endorphin rush. I think these boards helped to deliver my intent to the committee. They're relatable, yet provocative and cheeky – a little sexy skin never 'hurt nobody', lol...

These images help capture the essence of the theme by helping illustrate a visual language to which viewers can more easily understand the intent.
Mythical Odyssey Mood Board - Mount Olympus

We invite our guests up to Mt Olympus where we've been honored by a request to dine with the three most powerful Greek Gods of the ancient world — Zeus and his brothers Poseidon and Hades, who incidentally have all arrived to rule this realm for one epic night. They bring their entourage of Olympian Gods and Goddesses who join them as they hold court for this epic event. As the evening's program plays out, we will start our descent into the realm of Hades, God of The Underworld.

Mythical Odyssey Mood Board - The Underworld

Fundraisers have become somewhat formulaic in that after the seated dinner portion and live auction pledging have all ended, you start to lose the crowd, either because they've spent their wad of cash or it's past their bedtimes, or both. Our goal is to challenge ourselves to keep the evening in play. I'll share in a separate blog entry the entertainment portion of the evening and the show we're mounting for our audience that will stop them faster than a glare from Medusa.

Anyway, back down to where I was headed – The Underworld. Hades, God of said place, always get a bum rap because he's stuck amongst the zombie dead in a place that looks a lot like an endless explosive replay of Mt. Vesuvius at Pompeii . Well, guess what!? That's where the evening will take us – on a direct descent to the place where we have permission to lose our inhibitions and pious posturing. We'll be treated to steamy hot SFX and staging, that invite us to dance away the evening until the clock strikes midnight and the portal between our earthly realm and that of the ancient Greek deities closes for good.

Our ultimate hope is that we give our audiences an unforgettable experience that they'll be talking about for days, weeks and months long after the ancient Greek Gods have vanished. We also hope to raise funding to help sustain the Heartland Men's Chorus as they embark on their own odyssey to go where so few arts organizations have gone – ascending to new heights of making music that delivers their vision of enlightening, inspiring, healing and empowering listeners and supporters within the resounding echoes of their powerful voices.

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