Ad Astra Music Festival

Est. 2014 in Russell, Kansas



HANNAH CARLSON soprano, recently graduated from Simpson College with her B.M. in Vocal Performance and B.A. in Mathematics. She has studied under the instruction of Dr. Kimberly Roberts for the last four years and has coached under Dr. Robert Larsen. Operatic and musical theatre engagements at Simpson College included Rose Maurrant (Street Scene), Julie Jordan (Carousel), Lauretta (Gianni Schicchi), Susanna (Le nozze di Figaro), Belinda (Dido & Aeneas), and Gretel (Hansel & Gretel). She has also sung with the Tuscia Opera Festival in Viterbo Italy, performing the role of Papagena (Die Zauberflöte) as well as participating in the chorus of L’elisir d’amore. Choral works include Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony and Missa Solemnis with the Des Moines Symphony and Orchestra Iowa, respectively. In the fall she plans to attend graduate school for her M.M. in Vocal Performance.


AMY ALLYSSA JOHNSON, mezzo-soprano, is graduating this summer from the University of Hawai'i at Mānoa with Bachelors of Arts degrees in both music and theatre. She has attended the Crested Butte Music Festival Opera Children's Chorus program as a participant, and returned as an adult to help stage manage the program. She has also been a member of the Hawai'i Opera Theatre chorus, performing in Die Zauberflöte, Der Fliegenden Höllander, La Boheme, Sweeney Todd, and Tosca. Amy is a member of the Orvis Opera Studio, through which she has coached under the likes of Tim Shaindlin, Louis Otey, Maria Todaro-Otey, and Erie Mills. As a synthesis of her music and theatre degrees, Amy performed Elle in Poulenc’s one-woman opera, La Voix Humaine. She is a founding member of the Nā Wai chamber choir, a women's ensemble dedicated to 'ōlelo Hawai'i repertoire and champions composers of color, female composers, queer composers, and indigenous repertoire.


GEORGE REVILL, tenor, will be a senior at Christopher Newport University in the fall, where he is pursuing a Vocal Performance degree under Professor Christopher Mooney.  In his time at CNU, he has performed the role of Ferrando in Mozart’s Così fan Tutte and in the ensemble of Donizetti’s L’Elisir d’Amore with Opera CNU and has performed with the Virginia Symphony Chorus as well as a featured ensemble member of Virginia Musical Theatre’s production of Mame.  George is an aspiring Britten scholar and has performed selections from his cycles Fish in the Unruffled Lakes and Seven Sonnets of Michelangelo.  George is the tenor section leader of the CNU Chamber Choir, and has been a featured soloist in Britten’s "Hymn to St. Cecilia" and David Lang’s The Little Match Girl Passion.


BENTON DEGROOT, baritone, from Midland, MI, recently graduated from the University of Michigan with a Bachelor of Music Degree in Vocal Performance. He currently studies voice with Stephen Lusmann and is the Director of Finance on the board for the //meridian chamber vocal ensemble that he helped found. In his undergraduate studies, Benton sang in the Chamber Choir under Jerry Blackstone, was a Music Director for the a cappella group Amazin’ Blue that came in 4th place in the International Championship for Collegiate A Cappella International Finals, and participated in many student led, collaborative projects. He has been active in University of Michigan Opera, most recently singing the role of Peter Quince in Benjamin Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Gregorio in Charles Gounod’s Roméo et Juliette. He has also performed in Dead Man WalkingThe Magic Flute, and The Barber of Seville. Benton placed second in the Friends of Opera Competition in Ann Arbor in 2015.