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September 23, 2018

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117th "Messiah" performance Dec. 9 in Founders

Bluffton University will present its 117th performance of Handel’s “Messiah” at 4 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 9, in Founders Hall. The event is free and open to the public; a free-will offering will be taken.

Dr. Jon C. Peterson, an assistant professor of music at Bluffton, will conduct the Bluffton Choral Society and the chamber orchestra. Soloists are Keyona Willis, soprano; Sandra Agans Krueger, mezzo-soprano; Joshua Wheeker, tenor; and Darrell P. Jones, bass.

Keyona Willis

Willis is pursuing her Doctor of Musical Arts degree at The Ohio State University, where she also earned a master’s degree in music. She has performed with OSU Opera and with Opera Columbus, including this season, as Mimi, in its production of “La Bohème.”

She recently portrayed Alice Ford in Verdi’s “Falstaff” in New York, and has also sung “The Ruby Elzy Story,” inspired by David Weaver’s book, “Black Diva of the Thirties.” The 2010 winner of a Women in Music competition, the Sunbury, Ohio, native holds a bachelor’s degree in music from Otterbein University, Westerville, Ohio.

Sandra Agans Krueger

Krueger is a performer and recitalist who also maintains a vocal studio in Findlay, Ohio. She has performed recently with the Fort Findlay Playhouse and is vice president of the Findlay Light Opera Company.

She is writing a musical review for the company’s February production, in which she will be a featured performer as well. She earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in music from Whitworth University in Spokane, Wash., and Southern Illinois University, respectively. She has also performed at the Southern Illinois Music Festival and with Opera in the Ozarks and Winter Opera St. Louis.

Joshua Wheeker

Wheeker, from Kettering, Ohio, is an undergraduate student at the University of Cincinnati’s College-Conservatory of Music, where he has performed in several productions.

He has also worked with the Dayton Bach Society, has been a soloist in productions of a Mozart “Missa Brevis” and Haydn’s “Mass in Time of War,” and has been chosen as the featured soloist in Puccini’s “Messa di Gloria.” A finalist in several nationally known vocal competitions, he plans to pursue a master’s degree in opera.

Darrell P. Jones

While pursuing his bachelor’s degree in music education at Xavier University in Cincinnati, Jones toured Europe as a featured soloist with the Xavier Concert Choir.  He has also been a soloist for a production of Mozart’s “Requiem” at Northern Kentucky University and, among other opera roles, has performed in “Carmen” with the Cincinnati Opera.

An accomplished jazz singer and trombonist as well, he was invited to sing with the Chicago Symphony Chorus in a 1999 performance of Shostakovich’s “Symphony No. 13 (Babi Yar),” conducted by Mstislav Rostropovich, a student of Shostakovich.