This Month's Newsletter

The monthly Sing For Joy newsletter contains a letter from the program's host, Pastor Bruce Benson, along with a listing of music selections for each program and the corresponding scripture readings. If you'd like to receive a complimentary subscription, fill out our online request form for either the print newsletter or the electronic newsletter.

July 2017 Newsletter (Year A)
Pastor Bruce Benson
Folk Melodies and Geraniums, by Pastor Bruce Benson

Forty years or more ago, when the infirmities of age led my grandparents to leave their ancestral Swedish immigrant’s farmhouse for assisted living in town, my mother decided to “rescue” a couple geraniums from the old dining room windows. (Technically, they are pelargonium, not geranium, but never mind.) In even my earliest memories of that house, there are geraniums in those windows. Perhaps my grandmother got them from her mother? What my mother did with them next, I’m not quite sure, but some years later she offered me a couple pots of cuttings from “Grammy’s geraniums” as we called them. I’ve never seen others quite like them. They have smaller, tighter flower clusters, and the color is a more scarlet red than anything at flower shops and garden centers (see photo below). They are not lovelier than modern geraniums, but they do have a kind of pre-hybridization simplicity to them. I like them mostly for emotional reasons, I admit, but others who see them blooming away on my deck almost always comment on them, and ask where we got them.

Pastor Benson's Geraniums I have flowers, and my grandmother’s geraniums in          particular, on my mind not just because summer is in  extravagant colorful bloom right now, but also because of  Sing For Joy programs coming up in July. One of those  programs mid-month is full from beginning to end with  music about the natural world. It begins with “For the  Beauty of the Earth” and ends with “Sommersalm (The  Earth Adorned),” with a setting of Isaiah 55 in between:  "For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return there until they have watered the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth." I suppose when orchardists think about a “watered earth” or “the earth adorned” they imagine heavily laden fruit trees, and Illinois and Iowa farmers imagine full-eared corn. I think about flowers. 

“For the Beauty of the Earth” fills my mind’s eye with the sweep of any and every flower, but in early July our Sing For Joy program features several settings of early American folk tunes, and these are what set me to thinking especially about my grandmother’s geraniums. Folk melodies are not the grand and glorious hybrid flowers of the musical world. They are more like old-fashioned geraniums. Simple, reliable, easy to live with, beautiful in an inornate way. When performers try to gussie them up, these melodies often sound slightly embarrassed. They aren’t meant for the queen’s coronation banquet; they are meant to grace the supper table on the porch. In that setting they are just right. In the presence of daily life and love, they flourish. It is for good reason, therefore, that the Christian church has wanted to keep a few folk tunes around, just as my grandmother kept a few geraniums in her dining room windows.

Peace be with you, 

Pastor Bruce Benson

Support Sing For Joy
Sing For Joy is supported by listeners like you. When you give to Sing For Joy you are saying yes to great sacred choral music. Have questions or want to donate by phone? Call us at 507-786-2600.
Show your support and donate today!
July Playlists and Programs

Playlists are ready now, and each show will become available to stream on the Friday before the week begins. 

July 2, 2017: Time After Pentecost — Lectionary 13 (Year A)

July 9, 2017: Time After Pentecost — Lectionary 14 (Year A)

July 16, 2017: Time After Pentecost — Lectionary 15 (Year A)

July 23, 2017: Time After Pentecost — Lectionary 16 (Year A)

July 30, 2017: Time After Pentecost — Lectionary 17 (Year A)

Sing For Joy News

Thank you to everyone who supported Sing For Joy during our spring fund drive. We met and passed our goal of $8,500 with a total of $8,750 raised in listener gifts. We received 104 gifts from 24 states, with the largest number of contributions coming from North Carolina, Minnesota and Virginia. Thank you for giving back to the program that provides you with great sacred choral music every week of the year!

Radio Station News

WVTF out of Roanoke, Virginia will air Sing For Joy at 7 a.m. Sundays (instead of 6 a.m.) starting on July 16.

Connect with Sing For Joy!

We love hearing from listeners! Share with us how Sing For Joy plays a role in your life and we'll print responses in future newsletters. Join in the Sing For Joy conversation on FacebookTwitter and Instagram. Write to us at

Listener Letters

 "Listening to your service online is part of our Sunday morning routine. Thank you for the quality choral music."  -Cincinnati, Ohio

Sing For Joy Memorials
Memorials and Honorariums

Thank you for your gifts in memory and honor of those close to your heart.

Mrs. Esther Burmeister
Angelo & Gladys Cavallini
My parents, Clarence & Esther
Dr. Carl Gerbrandt
John R. Groettum
Gloria Himle
John Howard
Julius & Helen Kittler
Roger Kittler
William H. Ray and Lou Ann Litton
Keith & Betty Miller
Marlene’s parents, Arthur & Erna Raap
The Rev. John D. Stone
Pastor Reg Torrison

Doris Abel, on her birthday 6/23
All the superb musicians at Central Lutheran Church, Minneapolis
Kathy April
The marriage of Stefanie Fiser (‘06) & Eric Kleven on May 28, 2017
Mrs. Bonnie Hopkins

To include an honorarium or memorial when you give to Sing For Joy, simply include the name(s) and occasion(s) in the comment box, as well as who should receive an acknowledgement letter and a mailing address. Donations can celebrate a personal milestone such as an anniversary or birthday, or honor a loved one who perhaps also enjoyed music, all while furthering the Sing For Joy mission to bring sacred choral music to listeners around the world. 

Sing For Joy® is sponsored by:

Sing For Joy Sponsor Logos

Sukup Manufacturing Co., St. Olaf College and American Choral Directors Association (ACDA)