Ashley Ruth Tolman was born during the middle of the Whittier Earthquake in Los Angeles, announcing to the world that she would from that time forth love to “make an entrance.”
Raised in beautiful Brigham City, Ashley spent much of her childhood swimming, playing basketball, camping with her family, and singing. Her parents joke that she could sing before she could speak, and has been making a joyful noise ever since that happy discovery!
Ashley’s first solo was at a church function when she was three years old. Even today, nothing brings her as much joy as singing praises to God! Later, she learned that she liked to make music at school with Marilyn Stewart at Foothill Elementary. Ashley took piano lessons, and found she especially liked the music of George Gershwin– a love passed down to her from her father.
Family singing time in the Tolman house usually involved her father playing the piano and her mother singing, with Ashley and her brothers banging pots and pans together. Music was always a large part of home life! From harmonizing in the car on road trips, to making up songs while kayaking together on a lake, Ashley was taught from an early age the joy that comes from making music with people you love!
After graduating Box Elder High School, Ashley attended Utah State University and earned a bachelor’s degree in Broadcast Journalism and a minor in Opera Performance. Her mentors at USU include Craig Jessop and Alan Matthews. One of her most life-directing experiences at USU centered around her time in the choir at the Institute of Religion. There, she learned the importance of hard work, collaboration, and many spiritual aspects of music. Ashley often says that being part of Institute Choir was “the best mission-prep” she ever had, and is grateful for the musical experiences she had as a missionary.
Shortly after serving a mission, Ashley was very fortunate to win an international romantic music competition, and performed her first solo in Carnegie Hall in NYC. This blessing inspired her to live in NYC full-time. Ashley LOVED living in NYC with all of her heart! From singing in bars, to auditioning, to performing in musicals and choirs, Ashley enjoyed the learning opportunity of being associated with many incredible performers from all around the world.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Ashley lost her jobs in two different musicals in NYC, and returned to Utah. The greatest blessing of this time of transition was the day Ashley met her husband, Brad. Brad and Ashley live in Bear River and are working on remodeling an old pioneer house together! They love singing primary songs with their two little boys each night, riding bikes, and being outside.
Ashley is thrilled to be part of HAMA, and feels honored to be learning with the incredible teachers and musicians here! And we are equally thrilled and honored to have Ashley as part of HAMA. Her infectious excitement and positivity inspire everyone around her. Watch for more fun classes and experiences coming up with Ashley!