‘Messiah’ soloists



Principals for the 2024 Bluffton University "Messiah."

Free tickets available for 2024 ‘Messiah’ 

Bluffton University’s music department has announced the soloists for its 129th performance of Handel’s “Messiah,” at 4 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 10, in Yoder Recital Hall. Soloists are Val Sibila, soprano; Kira McGirr, mezzo-soprano; Frederick A. Peterbark, tenor; and Max Pivik, bass.


Val Sibila*, lyric coloratura soprano, has been praised for xyr exceptional vocal and musical versatility and xyr “clarion tone” with “ethereal splendor.” Val performs all around northern Ohio, including solos, quartets and ensembles.

Xe achieved xyr Master of Music degree from the Cleveland Institute of Music in January 2023, studying with Dr. Mary Schiller, with stage roles as Noémie in Massenet’s “Cendrillon,” Ruth in Daniel DiMarino’s “Ruth,” First Witch in Ernest Bloch’s “Macbeth,” and scenes as Gilda in “Rigoletto,” Oscar in “Un ballo in maschera,” Amy in “Little Women,” Susanna in “Le Nozze di Figaro,” and Despina in “Così fan tutte.”

Xe attained xyr Bachelor of Music degree from Kent State University. Val performs as a member of the Old Stone Singers and the Cleveland Chamber Choir. Xe teaches lessons in voice and piano at Chagrin Valley Music and xyr private studio and is voice faculty at The Fine Arts Association. 

* Sibila uses xyr and xe pronouns. 


Noted for “her clear, focused sound,” mezzo-soprano Kira McGirr is a dynamic and versatile vocalist. She has been featured as alto soloist in Mozart’s “Coronation Mass” and “Requiem” and Handel’s “Messiah,” among many others. She will make her solo debut with Canton Symphony Orchestra, Lima Symphony Orchestra, Cleveland Repertory Orchestra and Perrysburg Symphony Orchestra during their 2023/24 seasons.

McGirr is a frequent collaborator with SheScores, a concert series through Local4Music featuring the work of living female and female-identifying composers. She sings in Apollo’s Singers with Apollo’s Fire Baroque Orchestra and is also part of the Cleveland Chamber Choir and Cleveland Consort of Voices. McGirr is the executive director of the Cleveland Chamber Choir and The Singers’ Club of Cleveland.

She holds a Master of Music in Vocal Performance from Indiana University Jacobs School of Music and a Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance from Oberlin College & Conservatory. 


Frederick A. Peterbark has performed as a guest artist with the Estes Park Music Festival, Loveland Opera Theater, Boulder Opera, Boulder Chorale and the Elgin Master Chorale. He’s also served as artist-in-residence at St. Aidan's Episcopal Church in Boulder, Colo., and has been featured on numerous recital series.

Peterbark toured nationally and internationally as a guest artist with The Cornerstone Chorale & Brass and Musikanten. His operatic and oratorio performances have been highlighted with performances of Lensky in Tchaikovsky's “Eugene Onegin,” Pasék in Janácek's “The Cunning Little Vixen,” and Brother Bates in the restoration premiere of James P. Johnson's “De Organizer.” tenor soloist in J. S. Bach's “St. Matthew Passion,” and tenor soloist in Ralph Vaughn Williams' “Serenade to Music.”

Peterbark earned his Master of Music degree from the University of Colorado Boulder and a Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance with a Teacher's Certificate (K-12) from the University of Michigan. 


Acclaimed for his “extraordinary, pure and resonant voice,” baritone Max Pivik has been called “a joy to experience.” A native of Pittsburgh, Pivik has appeared in productions throughout Ohio and western Pennsylvania. Pivik’s favorite roles to date are Marcelo from Puccini’s “La Boheme,” Giorgio Germont, from Verdi’s “La Traviata” and Dr. Malatesta from Donizetti’s “Don Pasquale.”

He has been seen on the stages of companies such as Opera Western Reserve, The Cleveland Opera, Valley Lyric Opera and Cleveland Opera Theater. As a soloist, Pivik has performed Handel’s “Messiah” each year with various organizations for more than a decade.

He has previously served as the director of educational outreach and programming for Opera Western Reserve and as the associate music director and choral conductor at Trinity United Methodist Church, both in Youngstown, Ohio. 


Dr. Bo Young Kang, Bluffton University director of choral activities, will conduct the oratorio. The Bluffton Choral Society including faculty, staff and community members will accompany with an orchestra.

While tickets are free, space must be reserved at www.bluffton.edu/messiah-tickets.

The event will also be streamed live at http://www.bluffton.edu/messiah.

Arts at Bluffton events are made possible due to generous support from donors including David Bertsche ’57 and James ’83 and Rhonda (Louis ’84) Fox. 

2022 performance

Reserve tickets

While admission is free, tickets are required. A free-will offering will be accepted.