Sarah Diller      sandra krueger      jon jurgens      timothy bruno

       Sarah Diller         Sandra Agans Kruege         Jon Jurgens             Timothy J. Bruno

Alumna Diller among ‘Messiah’ soloists

BLUFFTON, Ohio—Sarah Diller, a Bluffton native and a 2011 Bluffton University graduate, leads the list of soloists for the university’s 118th performance of Handel’s “Messiah,” at 4 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 8, in Founders Hall.

Joining Diller, a soprano, are fellow soloists Sandra Agans Krueger, alto; Jon Jurgens, tenor; and Timothy J. Bruno, bass. Conducting the performance is Dr. Mark J. Suderman, a professor of music and director of choral activities at Bluffton.

Diller earned a bachelor’s degree in music—with a performance studies concentration—at Bluffton, where she studied with Dr. Crystal Sellers Battle, an assistant professor of music. She recently completed a master’s degree at Wichita State University, where she performed in “The Pirates of Penzance” and, among other roles in the university’s Opera Scenes Program, as Amy in “Little Women”—a role she had filled at Bluffton as well. She has also performed chorus roles in The Ohio Light Opera’s Young Artist Program.

Krueger, from Findlay, Ohio, returns to Bluffton as a “Messiah” soloist for the second consecutive year. The mezzo-soprano began the current season with “The Lass who Loved a Redshirt: USS Pinafore”—her “Star Trek” adaptation of Gilbert and Sullivan’s “HMS Pinafore”—performed by the Findlay Light Opera Company. A featured artist for the 2012-13 Artists’ Series at Findlay’s First Presbyterian Church, she has also performed at the Southern Illinois Music Festival and with Opera in the Ozarks and Winter Opera St. Louis.

Called “a surprise discovery” by Opera News, Jurgens was seen most recently with Chautauqua (N.Y.) Opera in Verdi’s “Falstaff.” Also during 2012-13, he appeared in “Of Mice and Men” and “Rigoletto” as a studio artist with Sarasota Opera, where he will return in winter 2014. Next year will also mark his Boston Lyric Opera debut, in Verdi’s “La Traviata.” He was a member of the Indianapolis Opera Ensemble in 2012, as well as an apprentice artist at Des Moines Metro Opera. He completed graduate work at The Ohio State University.

Since his debut in summer 2011, Bruno has been involved in 18 productions with eight opera companies. He has performed in “Don Giovanni” with Toledo Opera, “Madama Butterfly” with Opera Columbus and “La Bohème,” with El Paso Opera. He has also appeared with Opera Saratoga, Michigan Opera Theater, Opera Western Reserve, Cincinnati Opera, Union Avenue Opera in St. Louis and Winter Opera St. Louis. Bruno resides in Toledo with his wife, Libby.

Suderman has been at Bluffton since 2000. In addition to teaching, he currently conducts Camerata Singers, the University Chorale and the Bluffton Choral Society. Bluffton choirs under his direction have toured much of Europe, Paraguay and across the U.S. He holds master’s and doctoral degrees in choral conducting from the University of Iowa. The author of published articles about music and choral singing, he also conducts the Lima Symphony Orchestra Chorus and is director of music at First Mennonite Church, Bluffton.