Virtual music festival shared from Russell

Staff Writer

RUSSELL—The Ad Astra Music Festival begins a sixth summer of collaborative concerts and celebration of community this month, despite the ongoing pandemic. Because Ad Astra is committed to bringing exceptional and diverse performances to the communities of western Kansas, this time an all-new virtual format will be used to share performances. The 2020 season features four unique musical experiences spanning two weekends in July. All performances will be streamed live in central time and archived on the Ad Astra Music Festival Facebook page (@adastramusicfestival), free of charge.

The first performance, Young Artists at Home, will take place on Friday, July 17, at 7:30 pm. This performance features the undergraduate voice students of the Ad Astra young artist program. Curated by Katelyn Mattson-Levy, Young Artists at Home features our young artists sharing their voices from their own living rooms. Although we will not be able to meet them in person, we wanted to ensure a platform for their music and provide them with professional performance opportunities.

Next, Ad Astra has commissioned composer Andrew Rodriguez to create an original work entitled Scattered Inheritance, featuring flute, clarinet, violin, cello, percussion, piano, and voice. This piece will be premiered in real time and streamed live on Saturday, July 18, at 7:30 pm.

The following weekend, starting on Friday, July 24, at 7:30 pm, Ad Astra will stream a performance from the High School and Community Virtual Choir. High school students from around the country will collaborate to perform a cappella, pop, and jazz arrangements in small groups, coached by industry professionals.

Closing out the 2020 season on Saturday, July 25, at 7:30 pm, will be a sneak peak of the upcoming Trudey Furney Opera. The festival has commissioned composer Anna Pidgorna and librettist Maria Reva to create an opera about the life of beloved Russell High School art teacher Trudy Furney. This sneak peek will be prerecorded in person featuring local Kansas artists and streamed live. Viewers will get an inside look into the creative process, complete with interviews and sketches. This livestream culminates with a workshop performance of scenes from the opera, to be premiered in full at Prairiesta next year.

While the festival is headquartered in Russel, Kansas, this new virtual format will allow viewers worldwide to enjoy these outstanding performances. Ad Astra is proud to be able to offer these live streamed performances free of charge on their official Facebook page.