RUTH ANN RITCHIE
Founder & Executive Director
Flutist Ruth Ann Ritchie is the founder and Executive Director of Astraios. Since 2007 she has established concert series in Texas and Colorado and led Astraios ensembles in performances across the U.S. She is the founding flutist of both The August Winds quintet and the Cirrus Quartet.
Inspired to play flute at the age of two, Ruth Ann studied at the Cleveland Institute of Music and the Cleveland Music School Settlement before receiving a Bachelor of Music with Distinction in Flute Performance from Indiana University. She continued her studies at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, receiving a Graduate Diploma in 2006. Her primary teachers have been Tom Robertello, Alexa Still, Linda White, and Joseph Juhos.
Ruth Ann holds certificates of nonprofit management, development, and marketing from the Center for Nonprofit Management. As an administrator, she has worked with the Orpheus Chamber Singers, Hall Ensemble, Floot Fire, and the Lewisville Lake Symphony. In 2012 she was a guest panelist at the National Flute Association's annual convention, speaking on the topic of "Creative Careers for Musicians."
CAROLYN ENGLAND RITCHIE
Michael Jones, Programming Director, received his Bachelor and Master of Music degrees in Bassoon Performance from Indiana University. In 2006, he was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to Australia, which allowed him to continue his performance studies, as well as working with music schools in the Australia outback to explore new technologies for remote access learning. Michael toured with the Australian Chamber Orchestra and received a Graduate Diploma in Bassoon Performance that same year.
Michael curates the musical selections chosen for each Astraios performance. In addition, he leads the education team for Astraios, designs audience activities, composes music for school performances, and arranges music for the organization's diverse ensembles.
Since returning to the US, Michael performs regularly with the Ft. Worth and Arkansas Symphony Orchestras.
Carolyn England Ritchie is a writer, musician, and educator. She has published poems and essays in newspapers and literary magazines and is the author of Holy Order (2009, Walburga Press). As an educator, she has developed creative writing seminars and mentored high school students from around the world making their way in the US educational system. She is a longtime classical guitar player and teacher and is on the Education Committee of the Cleveland Classical Guitar Society.
Carolyn serves as Project Advisor, on the team for many tasks from writing grant proposals to developing educational themes and outreach.
Board President | Host
Christopher Curtis is an actor, singer, and director currently based in Dallas, TX, and serves as the President of Astraios's Board of Directors. After graduating from Oklahoma City University where he studied voice with George Massey, Christopher has gone on to work at more than a dozen theaters in the region including Dallas Children's Theater, Casa Mañana, Lyric Stage, Shakespeare Dallas, Theatre Three, Circle Theatre, City Rep, Oklahoma Shakespeare in the Park, Kitchen Dog, Pegasus Theatre, and Uptown Players. A selection of his favorite roles include “Charlie Brown” in A Charlie Brown Christmas, “Horton the Elephant” in Seussical, “John Dickinson” in 1776, “Max” in The Sound of Music, “Toby Belch” in Twelfth Night, “Carl Hanratty” in Catch Me If You Can, “Teddy Roosevelt” in Newsies, “Cogsworth” in Beauty and the Beast, and the title role in Hamlet. He is also a veteran improviser, and has performed improv on stages throughout the region over the last 20 years as well as performing in New York.
DR. DANIEL KELLY
Vice President | Trumpet
Daniel Kelly, a native of Charleston, SC, joined Texas A&M University-Commerce in the fall of 2010 after serving on the faculty of Indiana State University and the University of Southern Mississippi.
Dr. Kelly holds a BS in trumpet performance from Austin Peay State University in Clarksville, Tennessee, and a MM and DMA from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.His principal teachers include Michael Ewald, Ronnie Romm, Ray Sasaki, and Richard Steffen. He has been designated a Nationally Certified Teacher of Music (NCTM) by the Music Teachers National Association and is a member of the Music Teachers National Association, the College Music Society, the International Trumpet Guild, Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, and the Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi. Dr. Kelly is a Yamaha Performing Artist/Clinician.
Jamie Denison is Director of Marketing for Jewish Family Services of Greater Dallas and has a long history of producing quality print and digital content that has helped drive engagement for schools, nonprofits, and businesses alike. With nearly 10 years experience in graphic design and 3 years of professional marketing and social media responsibilities, she has built a reputation in the community as a marketing leader. Jamie graduated from the University of Texas at Arlington with a B.A. in Organizational Communication in 2015. She became connected to Astraios in the Fall of 2017, during a Nonprofit Marketing course with Executive Director Ruth Ann Ritchie. Jamie is a big supporter of chamber music and has enjoyed attending the interactive concerts. As a creative professional, Jamie seeks out new ways to change perspectives, influence donations, and spread the word about worthy causes (and really good music!).
DR. JEREMY REYNOLDS
Randall Rehfuss is an acoustic consultant with Idibri — a firm that helps venue owners and design teams create spaces that connect and engage through acoustics, theatre planning, and technology design. Consulting on the designs of educational facilities, cultural centers, and venues for the arts, athletics, and Esports, Randall assesses the environmental impact of facilities on communities, and creates interior environments that work acoustically through finishes, sound isolation, and mechanical noise control.
At NC State University he studied theatre and vocal performance. Upon graduating he served as a staff member, coordinating student ensemble performances with venues on campus and in the surrounding region, providing user insight to a facility renovation feasibility study for the Music Department, and contributing to the University's Campus Master Plan update. These experiences culminated in a passion to design spaces with an emphasis on quality acoustics leading him to receive a Master of Architecture with an emphasis in architectural acoustics at Virginia Tech.
Patrick Herring began playing music at a very early age and hated it with a passion until they let him start hitting things. Since then he has received a Bachelor in Music Education from the University of North Texas and Masters in Percussion Performance from Southern Methodist University. Music has taken him all around the United States and he has proudly played shows in 40 out of 50 states. He’s looking forward to getting up to New England someday and knocking out a few more of them.
Patrick is the Operations Manager for the Greater Dallas Youth Orchestra. He currently serves as the principal percussionist of the Allen Philharmonic Symphony and plays extra with many local and regional orchestras as well as theater companies and churches and anyone else that needs something hit musically.
Patrick lives in Little Elm with his wife, son, daughter, and two beagles and in his spare time creates instructional videos on how to play percussion on his website.
Jeremy Reynolds is currently on faculty at the University of Denver Lamont School of Music and performs as Associate Principal Clarinet of the Colorado Springs Philharmonic. He made his Carnegie Hall Debut in 2015 and presented recitals at Clarimania (Poland), ClariBogota, Australian Clarinet Festival, One Month Festival (South Korea), International Alliance for Women in Music, International Double Reed Society and National Flute Association. He has also performed at the Cultural Festival of Portugal’s World Exposition, Colorado Symphony Orchestra, Tucson Symphony, Colorado Music Festival, Des Moines Metro Opera, Hyogo Performing Arts Center Orchestra, New World Symphony, National Repertory Orchestra, National Orchestral Institute, and Aspen Music Festival. Reynolds has won awards at the Coleman and Carmel National Chamber Music Competitions additionally collaborating with Itzhak Perlman, Don Weilerstein, Paul Katz, Ronald Leonard, Stefan Milenkovich, and Merry Peckham. A passionate educator, Reynolds has taught in some of the world’s most renowned music conservatories including the Grieg Academy of Music, Norwegian Academy of Music, Versailles Conservatory of Music, Mahler Private University, Seoul National University, Sydney Conservatorium of Music, Escola Superior de Música de Catalunya and Taiwan’s Soochow University and Tainan University of the Arts.
Lamar Smith has been teaching public school orchestra for almost twenty years, and he’s been playing musical instruments since 2nd grade. Piano came first, then viola in 6th grade. A graduate of the University of North Texas, he studied viola with Dr. Susan Dubois and string pedagogy with Dr. Elizabeth Chappell. Currently, he is serving in his third year as the first director of the new Wylie ISD orchestra program. Before that, Lamar taught orchestra in Carrollton-Farmers Branch ISD.
An active clinician and adjudicator, Lamar has the opportunity to work with many excellent orchestra students and directors throughout the state. His professional memberships include TMEA, TMAA, TODA, ASTA, and Mu Omicron. He served on the Executive Board of the Texas Orchestra Directors Association from 2013 until 2018, which included a year as President.