Ad Astra Music Festival

Celebrating five years of classical music in Russell, Kansas

RMEI Workshops


Teaching Singing

Friday, July 14

Spend the morning discussing common vocal issues for teenagers and strategies for teaching singing in a group setting. Spend the afternoon exploring the voice and asking Michael Sylvester (Wichita State voice teacher and long-time Metropolitan Opera tenor) questions as he leads the festival’s undergraduate Young Artists in a vocal masterclass. Hear a world premiere by Moira Smiley from the Ad Astra Chamber Choir and Kansas bluegrass duo, Scenic Roots.

Daily Schedule

Conducting Workshop

Friday, July 21

Participate in or observe conducting masterclasses with the four conductors leading performances at the 2017 festival: John Irving, Katy Lushman, Robert Ward, and Alex Underwood. Participants will explore the 2018 KMEA audition repertoire in score study techniques and alternative approaches to conducting. Join Emporia State University choir director, Robert Ward, in a lecture and Q&A. Attend the festival’s evening concert featuring American works, including Leonard Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms.

Daily Schedule

Topics in Rural Music Education

Friday, July 28

Most models, strategies, and institutions for music education unintentionally exclude teaching in rural settings. What unique challenges and advantages do we have? How can we modify techniques to successfully support our students? Bethany College choir director, Mark Lucas, will give the keynote lecture, Alex Underwood will guide us through new research in rural music education, Denver North High School teacher, Katy Lushman will give us permission to break traditions if they serve our students better, and Victoria teacher Luke Johnson will share his innovative insights of beautifully navigating K-12 teaching. Experience the final dress rehearsal of the festival’s final concert: a 90-minute, semi-staged production of Handel’s Samson with professional chorus and orchestra, and world-class soloists.

Daily Schedule