New host, music director will lead Sing For Joy program
Rev. W. Bruce Benson’s voice is known to many Oles. As the St. Olaf College pastor for 30 years (1981-2011), he could be heard in Boe Chapel, classrooms, and numerous Christmas Festivals. For the past 20 years his voice has found an even greater audience, traveling across airwaves to listeners around the world, thanks to his role as host of Sing For Joy, a sacred choral music radio program produced by St. Olaf that follows the church lectionary. Benson has delivered insight and commentary for more than 1,000 episodes of the half-hour weekly program that was started by Rev. Alvin Rueter and has been in production since 1954. But on June 5, 2022, Benson will retire and bid farewell to his professional time on the Hill.
Rev. Alexandra Jacob ’16 will step into the role of host of Sing For Joy on June 12, 2022. Jacob is the associate pastor for Families, Youth, and Children at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Minneapolis, Minnesota. She earned her Bachelor of Music degree in Church Music from St. Olaf and her Master of Divinity degree from Columbia Theological Seminary. Experiences in church internships throughout her time at St. Olaf helped Alexandra discern a “holy nudge” away from the organ bench and toward the pulpit.
Andrew Jacob ’18 is the new music director for Sing For Joy, and will also begin on June 12, 2022. In this role, Jacob will select the musical works heard on Sing For Joy. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in music from St. Olaf and a Master of Music degree in organ performance from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, where he was a Kenan Organ Scholar. Jacob currently serves as the organist and co-director of music at Augustana Lutheran Church in West St. Paul, Minnesota, and says that his greatest joy at the organ comes when leading a worshiping congregation in song. Jacob’s primary teachers while at St. Olaf included Artist in Residence Catherine Rodland and Associate Professor of Music James Bobb, the Elliot M. and Klara Stockdal Johnson Chair in Organ and Church Music. St. Olaf Professor Emeritus of Music John Ferguson will become music advisor emeritus with this new appointment.
Broadcast/Media Services team members Jeffrey O’Donnell ’02, Carolyn Pierson ’06, Sean Tonko P’22, and Rebecca Beam ’18 will continue their current roles in the program’s production.
Sing For Joy is sponsored in part by the Sukup Manufacturing Company of Sheffield, Iowa; the St. Olaf Lutheran Center for Faith, Values, and Community; the American Choral Directors Association; and through the financial support of listeners around the world.