Masterworks concert


Concert to feature Chicago-based soloists from Allen County

The two featured soloists in Sunday’s Masterworks performance of Antonio Vivaldi’s “Dixit Dominus” at Bluffton University are returning to their roots.

Sarah Diller ’11 grew up in Bluffton, attended Bluffton High School and graduated from Bluffton University. Upon graduation, she headed west to Wichita State University and obtained a master’s degree in opera performance.

Diller is a soprano who currently teaches voice and piano lessons at Piano Power in Chicago while auditioning and pursuing her dream. She has performed with the Ohio Light Opera, the Gilbert and Sullivan Opera Company and the Wichita Salon Series.

While she has traveled extensively as a performer, singing back at Bluffton, is also a dream come true for Diller.

“It really is so special to do this. Bluffton is such a great community to grow up in. It is so fun when I come home and can experience what I’m doing with my life with the people who helped get me there,” said Diller.

Stephanie Schoenhofer grew up in Lima and is a graduate of Lima Central Catholic. She earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Cincinnati, College Conservatory of Music in 2011 and a graduate degree in vocal performance from the University of Michigan in 2013.  This will be the second time Schoenhofer has performed in Yoder Recital Hall as she was the featured soloist during the 2014 performance of Handel’s “Messiah.”

Schoenhofer is a mezzo-soprano and is also pursuing her musical passions in Chicago. Coming up, she will be performing in a show called “Suor Angelica” in Chicago and will return to Cincinnati to perform in April.

“I’m already feeling that wonderful sense of coming home. I really appreciate what these people (former vocal instructors, family and friends) have done for me. It’s like, it really paid off. Thank you for supporting me and giving me my start,” said Schoenhofer.

Both chose to move to Chicago because of the wide range of opportunities for vocalists.

“Many performers set up shop in Chicago. It’s a good hub, logistically. You have access to the major cities and a lot of companies come through Chicago to do auditions,” said Schoenhofer. 

Along with Diller and Schoenhofer, the next generation of rising talent from Ohio will be featured during the program. Outstanding high school students, who are part of the Performing Scholars Competition sponsored by the Bluffton University Music Department, will perform.

Diller has some words of wisdom for the young artists.

“Always practice. Even if you don’t feel like it, get into the practice room. Keep going after the dream. There are a lot of setbacks. It’s not always rainbows and sunshine, but power through.  Keep going. It’s worth it.”

The concert will start at 2:30 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 28, in Yoder Recital Hall. Dr. Mark J. Suderman, Bluffton professor of music, will conduct the performance. Admission is free, however, a free-will offering will be taken to help cover the cost of the event.