Ad Astra Music Festival

Est. 2014 in Russell, Kansas

Samson Cast



JAMES REESE is an avid ensemble, chamber, and solo musician whose singing has been praised for its "intensity and sensitivity...spirituality and eloquence." (Chestnut Hill Local) Next season, James looks forward to Messiah with Nicholas McGeegan and Philharmonia Baroque; American Voices, a recording and tour of American music with Santa Fe Desert Chorale; Monteverdi Vespers with Choral Arts Philadelphia; and a tour of Spain with Yale Schola Cantorum and the Yale Voxtet.

In 2016-17, James appeared throughout the United States, as well a tour of India singing Bach Magnificat and the world premiere of Reena Esmail's This Love Between Us with Yale's Schola Cantorum and Juilliard 415. Other highlights included his debut as a Bach evangelist in Weinachts-Oratorium with Choral Arts Philadelphia; lute songs in recital with Nigel North and Gallicantus; performances at Big Ears New Music Festival; Britten's Canticle IV with hornist Josh Thompson; Handel's rarely performed Occasional Oratorio with Yale Schola Cantorum; and Messiah with the Reading Choral Society and Yale Glee Club.

An advocate for new music, James is a founding member of Philadelphia vocal sextet Variant 6 ( He has premiered works by Ted Hearne, John Luther Adams, Judd Greenstein, Joel Puckett, Gabriel Jackson, and others. He has recorded on the ECM, Innova, and Albany labels; including the 2016 GRAMMY-Nominated Bonhoeffer, released by the Crossing.

James is a graduate of Northwestern University’s Bienen School of Music, where he studied with Kurt R. Hansen, Alan Darling, and Donald Nally. He currently studies with James Taylor at Yale University's Institute of Sacred Music, pursuing a master’s degree as a member of the Voxtet.

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Soprano MEGAN PACHECANO's recent operatic performances include Fiordiligi (Così fan tutte) with LoftOpera, Anne Page (Sir John in Love) with Odyssey Opera, and Mystery (The Fairy Queen)/Les Amants Enchantés (Don Quichotte chez la Duchesse) with the Orchestra of New Spain at the Dallas Symphony Orchestra's Soluna Festival. Other role highlights are Adina (L’elisir d’amore), Norina (Don Pasquale), Susanna (Le nozze di Figaro), and Zerlina (Don Giovanni). She has sung with The Metropolitan Opera, Caramoor International Music Festival, Austin Opera, Opera New Jersey, Opera in Williamsburg, Salt Marsh Opera, The Opera Company of Middlebury, New Rochelle Opera, and the Opera Theater of Connecticut at the Sanibel Music Festival. This season brings role debuts as Cinderella in Sondheim's Into the Woods with St. Petersburg Opera, Echo in Austin Opera's Ariadne auf Naxos, Cunégonde in Helena Symphony's Bernstein 100! concert, and the cover of Dot in Teatro Grattacielo's production of Il Grillo del Focolare by verismo composer Zandonai.

A frequent concert soloist, Ms. Pachecano has performed Handel's Messiah, Israel in Egypt, Jephtha, and Saul, Mozart's Great Mass in C minor, Coronation Mass, Requiem, and Exsultate, jubilate, Haydn's Lord Nelson Mass and Little Organ Mass, Beethoven’s Die Ruinen von Athen, and Villa-Lobos’ Bachianas Brasileiras No. 5 singing with the Helena Symphony, Astoria Symphony Orchestra, Round Rock Symphony Orchestra, Ad Astra Music Festival, and Westminster Choral Festival. She recently presented a solo cabaret recital with the Odeon Theater's concert series, and will give a duet art song recital The Tides of Love with recitalist Sarah Nelson Craft this season as Guest Artists at Colorado State University. In the recording studio, Ms. Pachecano created the role of Elizabeth on the cast album of Melillo's Son of the Storm and was a soloist on the Naxos recording American Choral Music.

Ms. Pachecano holds a bachelor's degree in voice performance from The University of Texas at Austin and a master's degree in classical voice from Manhattan School of Music.



TIMOTHY PARSONS, countertenor and conductor, is active as both soloist and ensemble member in the New York City choral scene, having performed with the Clarion Music Society, the Saint Thomas Fifth Avenue Choir of Men and Boys, the Choir of St. Ignatius Loyola, the Oratorio Society of New York, The Cathedral Choir of St. John the Divine, Canticum Scholare and weekly with the Schola Cantorum of St. Agnes. Past performances have included Bach’s St. Matthew’s Passion at Saint Thomas Church and Clarion’s Russian Christmas program at Trinity Wall Street. Timothy will make his Bargemusic debut with the Clarion Music Society in a concert of the music of Bach, Pärt, and Kurtag. Timothy also sang as a member of the vocal ensemble during the annual Film Night at Tanglewood with the Boston Pops under the baton of John Williams and with the New York Philharmonic as part of their 360 series presenting scenes from Don Giovanni at the Park Avenue Armory. As a soloist he has been seen at the Manhattan School of Music as Udolin in Schubert’s The Conspirators, where he was praised by Opera News for his “high register” and at the Amherst Early Music Festival, where he performed Arsace in Scarlatti’s La Principesse fedele

Timothy has a particular interest in the development and performance of new works, having performed world, U.S, and New York premieres at MSM and at Carnegie Hall with the Oratorio Society of New York, Distinguished Concerts International of New York (DCINY), and the Manhattan School of Music Chamber Choir, of which he is a founding member. He recently conducted that ensemble in two performances of Veljo Tormis’ Sügismaastikud. Additionally, he conducted two world premieres under the auspices of the MSM composition department. In 2011, he premiered Thomas Stumpf’s song-cycle Drei Mondlieder, written for him. Timothy holds a bachelor’s degree in classical voice from the Manhattan School of Music and was a candidate for the Master of Music in Choral Conducting, studying with Kent Tritle. 



Deemed "excellent" by the New York Times and hailed for his "warm" and "voluminous" sound by the South Florida Classical Review, baritone DAN MOORE is a sought-after performer of both solo and choral classical music. Recent solo appearances in the past year include Bach’s Mass in B minor with both the REBEL Chamber Ensemble of NYC and the Symphony Orchestra of Augusta, the Fauré Requiem with The Chorus of Westerly and Festival Orchestra, Handel’s Israel in Egypt with the St. Thomas Choir of Men and Boys and Concert Royal, Vaughan Williams’ Five Mystical Songs (Trinity Church on the Green, New Haven), and Schubert’s Die Schöne Müllerin accompanied by Kevin Koai, piano (Scarsdale, NY), among others. He has also performed throughout the US and Asia with ensembles including Grammy-nominated ensemble Seraphic Fire, Clarion Society, Desert Chorale, Spire Chamber Ensemble, The American Baroque Orchestra, and Yale Schola Cantorum (including concert tours in Japan, Singapore and Burma). Since September 2014, Dan has been on the regular roster of the world-renowned Choir of Men and Boys at St. Thomas Church Fifth Avenue in New York, singing five services per week. Dan received his Bachelor of Music degree at Temple University, where he studied under baritone Dr. William Stone and bass-baritone Eric Owens. He completed his Masters of Music degree at the Yale School of Music in December 2013, where he worked with tenor James Taylor. While at Yale, he also received a certificate in early music, oratorio and chamber ensemble from the Institute of Sacred Music.