Ashley McKinstry is a Chicago based soprano whose operatic roles include: Rosalinda/Die Fledermaus, Lady Liberty/The Proposal, First Lady/Die Zauberflöte, Arminda/La finta Giardiniera, Ruth Putnam/The Crucible, La Fortuna/L'incoronazione di Poppea, Jeannie/The Reformed Drunkard, & Mrs. Gobineau/The Medium. She has also performed in several children's operas including Jody Juggler/Signora/Sid the Serpent Who Wanted to Sing by Malcolm Fox & Race Car/The Velveteen Rabbit by Albert T. Viola's.
As an operatic ensemble member, McKinstry has sung Puccini/La bohème with MIOpera, Respighi/La bella dormente nel bosco, Stravinsky/The Nightingale, and Vaughan Williams/Riders to the Sea with the Chicago College of Performing Arts, Roosevelt University, Strauss/Die Fledermaus and Mozart/Die Zauberflöte (staring distinguished American bass Samuel Ramey as Sarastro) with The Sounds of South Dakota, and Purcell/Dido & Aeneas with the University of South Dakota Opera.
McKinstry was the featured soprano soloist with the Morton Community Orchestra for their 2021 annual production of Handel's Messiah and with the USD Concert Choir in Britten's Rejoice in the Lamb in 2012. She also participated in an online performance of Michael Ching's Zoom Speed Dating Tonight! (2021) with the USD Opera as the "Cat Lady". Ashley has been asked to sing the United States National Anthem at several events including the Roosevelt University Commencement Ceremony at the historic Auditorium Theater in Chicago. As a recitalist, Ashley enjoys performing song cycles such as Libby Larsen's Try Me Good King & Eric Whitacre's Five Hebrew Love Songs.
Ashley has also sung several performances as a professional ensemble member including: MiOpera presents Musical Delights on Tap, Opera & Organ with the FUMC: The Chicago Temple featuring American bass-baritone Mark S. Doss, Verdi/Defiant Requiem: Verdi at Terezin with the Chicago Philharmonic, Beethoven/Symphony No. 9 & Mendelssohn/Midsummer Night's Dream with the Chicago Civic Orchestra as well as Vaughan Williams/A Sea Symphony, Video Games Live, Mozart/Requiem, & Holst/The Planets with the Sioux City Symphony.
McKinstry has attended several young artist programs including: MIOpera (2019), Opera Steamboat (2018), Chicago Summer Opera (2017/18), and OperaWorks: Advanced Artist Program (2016) where she appeared as Ashley Phelps, a Westboro Baptist Church member attending a rally sponsored by then Presidential candidate Donald Trump, in their final show Get Trump'd: We're Making Opera Great Again.
Starting in 2021, McKinstry decided to add to her stage skills by becoming SAFD Certified in Broadsword, Knife, Short Sword, Single Sword, & Unarmed.
McKinstry not only loves to perform but also inspiring life-long music lovers. She taught Orchestra, AP Music Theory, and General Music at Nicholas Senn High School. She also gives private instruction in Voice, Piano, Violin, Viola, and Ukulele at Alex's Music Studio.
Sign up for a lesson at https://www.alexsmusicstudio.com
Originally from Sioux Falls, SD, McKinstry holds a Master's degree in Vocal Performance from the Chicago College of Performing Arts, Roosevelt University where she studied with Cynthia Clarey. While there she worked as the choral assistant under Cheryl Frazes-Hill & Mark Crayton. In 2016 she served as the president of the Mu Phi Epsilon, Alpha Omicron chapter. McKinstry received her Bachelor's degree in K-12 Vocal Music Education from the University of South Dakota where she studied with Tracelyn Gesteland.
Ashley is currently a student of Allan Glassman & has worked with several celebrated musicians including Tracy Marie Koch, Tim Semanik, Ann Baltz, Dana Brown, Scott Gilmore, Phil Witzig, Sahar Nouri, Codrut Birsan, Alexis Enyart, Andrew Eggert, Zeffin Quinn Hollis, Richard Stilwell, & Judith Haddon. She currently resides in Chicago with her husband, Kevin, & their two cats: Dimple & Dakota.
Photo Credit: Elliot Mandel, Stylist Credit: Angela Brasington
Photo Credit Vanessa Hohwieler
Photo Credit Vanessa Hohwieler