August 13, 2014 at 2:52 pm EDT | by Lou Chibbaro Jr.
Gay Men’s Chorus performer Mark Hennen dies at 58
Mark Steven Hennen, gay news, Washington Blade

Mark Steven Hennen

Mark Steven Hennen, a singer and dancer with the Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington for more than 10 years who has worked as a touring director for internationally known entertainers, died June 15 at a hospice in Arlington, Va., following a six-year battle with pancreatic cancer. He was 58.

According to information provided by his friend Rick Davis, Hennen was born and raised in West Branch, Mich., where he worked on his family’s dairy farm through his high school years. He graduated in 1980 from the University of Detroit Mercy, a Jesuit school, where he received a bachelor’s degree with a major in theater.

While pursuing a life-long career in the entertainment industry, Hennen lived and worked in Minnesota, Rhode Island and California, among many other places, Davis said in a biographical write-up.

Along the way he worked as an actor and model before becoming a tour director for many big-name acts, Davis said. Among them was his role in handling the logistics operations for a European tour of British singer-songwriter Phil Collins and Collins’ rock group Genesis.

Hennen also toured with U.S. country music singer, songwriter and actress Reba McEntire and with famed Beatles singer Ringo Star.

Most recently, Henning served for 11 years as a booking director for Feld Entertainment, which produces the Ringling Brothers & Barnum and Bailey Circus and Disney on Ice, among other entertainment acts.

“To those in the entertainment industry, Mark was known as ‘Radar,’ a moniker he received from Phil Collins, who felt Mark’s work habits matched the dutifully efficient character from the television show M*A*S*H,” Davis said in his write-up.

Among other things, Hennen was a “very active” member of the Washington National Cathedral Episcopal parish, Davis said.

The Gay Men’s Chorus honored Hennen with its prestigious Harmony Award recognizing his leadership and devotion to The Care Corps, a chorus project that supports chorus members in times of illness and other personal hardships.

Hennen is survived by his two sisters and their spouses, Maurene and Larry Hennen Schumann of Whitehall, Mich.; Lois and John Hennen Wheeler of Poway, Calif.; a nephew, Paul, and his spouse Jenny Schuman of Spring, Tex.; and a grandnephew and a number of grandnieces.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Maurice and Marilyn Hennen of West Branch, Mich. Hennen is also survived by his life-long friend Drew Bell and a large loving family of friends.

A “Celebration of Life” service is scheduled for 10 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 16, at the National City Christian Church in Washington, D.C. Davis said Hennen’s remains were cremated “for scattering on the old Hennen farm” near West Branch, Mich.

Hennen has requested that any memorial contributions be made to the Federal City Performing Arts Association, Inc., the organization that operates the Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington, at 2000 P St., N.W., Suite 730, Washington, D.C. 20036.

Lou Chibbaro Jr. has reported on the LGBT civil rights movement and the LGBT community for more than 30 years, beginning as a freelance writer and later as a staff reporter and currently as Senior News Reporter for the Washington Blade. He has chronicled LGBT-related developments as they have touched on a wide range of social, religious, and governmental institutions, including the White House, Congress, the U.S. Supreme Court, the military, local and national law enforcement agencies and the Catholic Church. Chibbaro has reported on LGBT issues and LGBT participation in local and national elections since 1976. He has covered the AIDS epidemic since it first surfaced in the early 1980s. Follow Lou

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