Bluffton University’s music department has announced the soloists for its 121st performance of Handel’s “Messiah,” at 4 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 4, in Founders Hall. Soloists are Leah Crane, soprano; Mitzi Westra, mezzo-soprano; Joseph Purifoy, tenor; and Mark Gilgallon, baritone. All four performers live in the Indianapolis area.
Crane regularly appears as soloist in recital, oratorio and opera. She received her bachelor’s degree in musical performance from Indiana University. Crane’s voice is consistently heard on recordings for various music publishers including Beckenhorst, Carl Fischer and Shawnee Press. In 2013, she was featured as the soprano soloist in the recording of composer Carson Cooman’s “In Beauty Walking” recorded with the Slovak National Symphony Orchestra in the Czech Republic.
Westra received her bachelor’s degree in music and religion from Augustana College in Sioux Falls, S.D. and her master’s and doctoral degrees from the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis. In Indianapolis, she has appeared as soloist with Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra, Indianapolis Baroque Orchestra and New Century String Quartet. She teaches in the vocal department at the University of Indianapolis. She records for Aire Born Recording Studios in Zionsville, Ind., and maintains her own private studio.
Purifoy received his master’s in vocal performance from Indiana University with a primary focus on early music. He has performed throughout the Indianapolis area with a variety of venues since 2005 and is a frequent session singer at Aire Born Recording Studios and the Lodge Studios. He has performed in several world premiere productions including the sacred opera performance of “Hagar” for the National Opera Association/National Association of Teachers of Singing. Besides singing freelance, Purifoy is a small business owner.
Gilgallon graduated with honors with his Bachelor of Music degrees in education and performance and a Master of Music in vocal Performance from Illinois State University. He performed concerts of American music for heads of state and dignitaries in India, Pakistan and Bahrain as an artistic ambassador for the United Information Agency. Gilgallon is the 1995 Indiana National Association of Teachers of Singing Artist Award winner and has appeared in recital at the Australian embassy in Washington, D.C. In addition to his performing career, he is a vocal coach to five-time Grammy Award winner, Sandi Patty, and professor of voice at Marian University.