Ashley has been a music fan for as long as she can remember. Her parents always had music playing in the house, from Bruce Springsteen and the E-Street Band to Lyle Lovett and Bonnie Raitt to Tina Turner and Aretha Franklin. Her grandparents were no strangers to the art world either: She learned most of what she knows about early film by watching some of the films in her grandfather’s vast collection and became familiar with musicals and jazz standards while listening to her grandparent’s music collection during and after weekend dinners.
When she was about 7 years old and had to start waking up on her own for school her mom had her choose a radio station to wake up to. She chose 2 at first, the local classical music station, which I believe is public radio associated with NPR, and WXTU, the Philadelphia Country Music Station, two of the very few radio stations in the Philadelphia area still running the same genres of programming today. WXTU won out on the alarm clock and Ashley became a young country music fan in elementary school and a classic rock fan in middle school. In middle school and high school Ashley became heavily involved in the arts programs at school. She was a member of the Drama Club, 2 Choral Ensembles, and by the end of 8th grade, Concert Band as well.
These activities only increased in high school where Ashley was a member of the Cinnaminson High School Drama Club, 3 school choirs, 3 school instrumental ensembles and The Westminster Conservatory Youth Chorale Chamber Singers by the time she graduated. During that time, being so involved with the drama club, and their main focus being musical theater Ashley picked up more Original Cast Recordings than she would really care to admit. In the meantime, the choirs increased her appreciation for choral music and the bands that of classical and symphonic music. It was also during high school that Ashley began to develop a new appreciation for popular music. Like any teenager, she had a phase or two she would be less than thrilled to own up to, however, the good stuff always seem to stick with you and Ashley began to build her music collection with a new enthusiasm.
Studying music (specifically, Sound Engineering Arts with a concentration in Classical Voice) at William Paterson University, and the experience of going away to college in itself, opened up whole new worlds for Ashley in terms of music. She discovered a love for the new singer-songwriter genre, while at the same time, learning about the bands that changed the face of the music industry and recorded music in general, years earlier. She also began to explore 20th Century Classical Music and New Music through theory lessons and performances by other university ensembles.
In her studies as a classical vocalist, Ashley developed a love for 20th century art songs, specifically those of Samuel Barber. She is fascinated by works that break most of the rules of traditional western classical music, and yet still have enough of a form so that she has no problem relating to the music. She had the pleasure of performing as the Soprano Soloist in the University Concert Choir’s performance of Benjamin Britten’s Rejoice in the Lamb in December of 2005 and performing the roles of Cherubino and the Countess in scenes from The Marriage of Figaro in William Paterson University’s Opera Workshop a month earlier. Those were two of her favorite performances to date.