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.

The Sing For Joy Newsletter: September 2016 / Year C
Bruce Benson Host Photo
by Pastor Bruce Benson, host

"This month you'll hear from John Ferguson — acclaimed organist, choral conductor, composer and teacher, recognized nationally for his talents as an improviser and leader of congregational song. He is also the Sing For Joy music advisor, providing guidance regarding musical selections and new recordings, and serving as ambassador for the program to audiences and congregations nationwide."                                        

I’ve been invited to “sit in” for Pastor Bruce Benson who is enjoying a bit of extra time “up north” where it is a bit cooler than down here in the greater Minneapolis-St. Paul environs. I’m delighted to step in for many reasons. My admiration for the skilled folks who plan, prepare and produce the Sing For Joy radio program and newsletter is boundless. As I travel around the country I’m amazed by the number of people who come to me to say thank you for Sing For Joy. We who are involved in this venture say thank you to you, our many listeners and financial supporters. You do much to enable and encourage this ministry in word and song and we are grateful.

I began this short message to you by mentioning the hot summer we have enjoyed, or endured, depending upon one’s perspective. All too soon summer will be over, and with September comes hints of fall as schools are again in session, and other activities resume. This election year there will be additional intensity as the pre-election campaigning will be in full swing. Also during September we remember the day we have come to identify simply with two numbers: 9/11. This year 9/11 falls on a Sunday and I expect that remembrances of that day will find their way into many worship services.

I well remember the immediate aftermath of that terrible day. People spontaneously gathered and often discovered that they wanted to sing. Talking to each other was inadequate. It did not bind them together or probe the depths of their feelings. We rediscovered how powerful and healing communal song can be.

But what to sing? We also discovered that we don’t have many songs in common any more. Our contemporary culture tends to frown on group song. We invite celebrities to sing our national anthem at major sporting events and even if we do try to sing along, we discover that the anthem has been so stylized that we can’t sing along.

Yes, we don’t sing together much any more — except in church. But in the aftermath of 9/11 I noticed that the hymn “Amazing Grace” seemed to be the one song most of us did know, even more than “God Bless America” or “My Country ‘Tis of Thee”

This year on 9/11 I’ll be thinking of and singing “Amazing Grace”, also chosen as the final selection for the Sing For Joy program that day. While chosen because of its relevance to the lessons of the day, it remains one of the best songs to sing anytime we feel surrounded by adversity, evil or just plain old frustration.

May God’s amazing, grace-filled love be with you all.

Peace be with you,

John Ferguson
Sing For Joy Music Advisor

September 4, 2016

Time After Pentecost — Lectionary 23 (Year C)

(1R) Deuteronomy 30:15–20
(PS) Psalm 1
(2R) Philemon 1–21
(G) Luke 14:25–33

Lift High the Cross (CRUCIFER)Sydney H. Nicholson / George W. Kitchin, lyricist /
Todd Wilson, arranger
The Memphis Boychoir: Memphis, TN / Deltorum Brass Ensemble, ensemble /
David J. Kienzle, accompanist / John Ayer

(CD) God is Gone Up: Choral Evensong for Ascension Day / PRO ORGANO / CD 7088
© 1996 Pro Organo

Lord, I Want to Be a ChristianAfrican American Spiritual / Moses Hogan, arranger (G)
The Augustana Choir: Sioux Falls, SD / James R. Johnson
(CD) From Heaven, Shine Forth / AUGUSTANA / CD-949
© 1998 Augustana

Psalm 1 Bruce Neswick (PS)
The Choir of St. Paul's Episcopal Church: Indianapolis, IN / Dwight Thomas, accompanist / Frank W. Boles
(CD) O Come Let Us Sing Unto the Lord / ST. PAUL'S - INDIANAPOLIS / STP004
© 1997 St. Paul's - Indianapolis

O For a Closer walk with God (CAITHNESS)Scottish Psalter / William Cowper, lyricist /
Charles Villiers Stanford, arranger
Saint Clement's Choir: Philadelphia, PA / Matthew Glandorf, accompanist / Peter Richard Conte
(CD) Hymns of Heaven and Earth / SONO LUMINUS / DOR-90259
© 1998 Sono Luminus

No More Auction BlockAfrican American Spiritual / Lawrence Brown, arranger (2R)
Paul Robson, bass / Lawrence Brown, piano
(CD) The Power and the Glory / COLUMBIA LEGACY / CK 47337
© 1991 Columbia Legacy

The Best of RoomsRandall Thompson / Robert Herrick, lyricist (2R, G)
Choral Arts Northwest: Seattle, WA / Richard Sparks
(CD) Randall Thompson: The Light of Stars / GOTHIC / G 49226
© 2003 Gothic, Gothic Records, Inc.


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September 11, 2016

Time After Pentecost — Lectionary 24 (Year C)

(1R) Exodus 32:7–14
(PS) Psalm 51:1–10
(2R) 1 Timothy 1:12–17
(G) Luke 15:1–10

Listen to the LambsR. Nathaniel Dett (G)
VocalEssence Ensemble Singers: Minneapolis, MN / Philip Brunelle
(CD) Got the Saint Louis Blues: Classical Music in the Jazz Age / CLARION / CLR907CD
© 2004 Clarion, Loft Recordings, LLC

Done Foun' My Lost SheepAfrican American Spiritual / Rosamund Johnson, arranger (G)
Marian Anderson, contralto / Franz Rupp, accompanist
(CD) He's Got the Whole World In His Hands / RCA VICTOR / 09026-61960-2
© 1994 RCA Victor

When Israel Was in Egypt Land (Stanzas 1, 2, 4, 6) (TUBMAN) African American Spiritual (1R)
St. Olaf Conference on Worship, Theology and The Arts / James Bobb, organ
(CD) 2016 St. Olaf Conference on Worship, Theology, and the Arts: The Great Vigil of Easter /
ST. OLAF COLLEGE / Not for Resale
© 2016 St. Olaf College

Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing Lloyd Pfautsch (G)
The Augsburg Choir: Minneapolis, MN / Peter Hendrickson
© 1996 Augsburg Choir Recordings

Christ is Made the Sure Foundation (WESTMINSTER ABBEY) Henry Purcell / Latin Hymn, lyricist /
John Mason Neale, translator
The Choir of King's College / Richard Farnes, accompanist / Stephen Cleobury
(CD) Holy, Holy, Holy / ARGO / 414 609-2
© 1986 Argo, London, England

Amazing Grace (Stanzas 1, 2 and 4) (NEW BRITAIN) (2R, G)
Cathedral Choir of St. John's Cathedral: Denver, CO / Donald Pearson
(CD) America: The Golden Dream / DELOS / DE 3203
© 1996 Delos, Delos Productions, Inc.


“Through many dangers, toils and snares
I have already come:
'tis grace has brought me safe thus far,
and grace will lead me home.”

-John Newton

September 18, 2016

Time After Pentecost — Lectionary 25 (Year C)

(1R) Amos 8:4–7
(PS) Psalm 113
(2R) 1 Timothy 2:1–7
(G) Luke 16:1–13

Laudate pueri Dominum: Suscitans a terra (He Lifts the Poor from the Dust), HWV 237
George Frideric Handel (PS)
English Baroque Soloists, ensemble / John Eliot Gardiner
(CD) Exsultate Jubilate: Works by Handel and Mozart / PHILIPS / 434 920-2
© 1993 Philips, PolyGram Records, Inc.

Psalm 113 William Turner (PS)
Westminster Abbey Choir / Robert Quinney, organ / James O'Donnell
(CD) "O Praise the Lord": Restoration Music from Westminster Abbey / HYPERION / CDA67792
© 2010 Hyperion, Hyperion Records Limited

Son of God, Eternal Savior (EVERTON)Henry Smart / Somerset Lowry, lyricist /
Richard Marlow, arranger
The Choir of Trinity College: Cambridge, United Kingdom / Andrew Lamb, accompanist / Richard Marlow
(CD) Descants from Trinity / CONIFER CLASSICS / 75605 51281 2
© 1996 Conifer Classics, England

Motet III: Jesu, meine Freude: Jesu, meine Freude (Jesus, My Sweet Pleasure), BWV 227
Johann Crüger / Johann Franck, lyricist / Johann Sebastian Bach, arranger (G)
The Taverner Consort / The Taverner Players, ensemble / Andrew Parrott
(CD) Heart's Solace / SONY CLASSICAL / SK 60155
© 1998 Sony Classical

Salvation is Created Paul Tschesnokoff (G)
The Concordia Choir: Moorhead, MN / René Clausen
(CD) Salvation is Created / CONCORDIA RECORDINGS / E-2051 (RC-4CD)
© Concordia Recordings

O Come, O Come, Emmanuel (VENI EMMANUEL) French Processional / John Ferguson, arranger (2R)
St. Olaf Cantorei: Northfield, MN / Charles Gray, accompanist / John Ferguson
(CD) A Thousand Ages: A Celebration of Hope / GIA PUBLICATIONS / GIA CD-474
© 2000 GIA Publications

Ain'-a That Good News!William L. Dawson / William L. Dawson, lyricist (2R)
The Elmer Iseler Singers / Elmer Iseler
(CD) Spirituals / MARQUIS CLASSICS / ERAD 115
© 1985 Marquis Classics, 30 Kenilworth Avenue, Toronto, M4L 3S3, Canada


“Life is not always what it seems. Power can turn out to be empty, wealth unsatisfying; while humble simplicity can be a cup overflowing with grace. Sing For Joy brings you the music of grace.”
-Pastor Bruce Benson

September 25, 2016

Time After Pentecost — Lectionary 26 (Year C)

(1R) Amos 6:1a, 4–7
(PS) Psalm 146
(2R) 1 Timothy 6:6–19
(G) Luke 16:19–31

I Got ShoesAfrican American Spiritual / Alice Parker, arranger / Robert Shaw, arranger (2R)
The Concordia Choir: Moorhead, MN / René Clausen
(CD) Folk Songs, Spirituals & Hymns / CONCORDIA RECORDINGS / E-2052
© Concordia Recordings

Praise the Lord, O My Soul John Rutter (PS)
St. Albans Cathedral Choir and Abbey Girls Choir: St. Albans, Herfordshire, United Kingdom / The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra: London, United Kingdom / Andrew Lucas
(CD) John Rutter: Psalmfest / NAXOS / 8.573394
© 2016 Naxos, Naxos of America, Inc.

Praise the Lord, O My SoulNed Rorem
St. Thomas Choir of Men and Boys: New York, NY / Judith Hancock, accompanist / Gerre Hancock
(CD) Praise the Lord / ARGO / 425 800-2
© 1990 Argo, London, England

Diverus & Lazarus (KINGSFOLD) English Traditional / English Traditional, lyricist /
Gustav Holst, arranger
Holst Singers / Stephen Layton
(CD) This Have I Done for my True Love / HYPERION / CDA66705
© 1994 Hyperion, Hyperion Records Limited

Poor Man LazarusAfrican American Spiritual / Jester Hairston, arranger (G)
Cantus: Minneapolis, MN
(CD) Deep River / CANTUS RECORDINGS / CTS-1203
© 2003 Cantus Recordings

Requiem: In Paradisum, Op. 48Gabriel Fauré (G)
Chorus of St. Martin in the Fields / Academy of St. Martin in the Fields, ensemble / Sir Neville Marriner
(CD) Fauré Requiem / PHILIPS / 446 084-2
© 1995 Philips, PolyGram Records, Inc.


Listeners in the Pittsburgh area: WEDO 810 AM now broadcasts Sing For Joy at 10 a.m.

Starting September 4th, WKLK 1230 AM out of Cloquet, Minnesota is moving their broadcast time back to 7:30am for the coming school year.

WSCL 89.5 FM out of Salisbury, Maryland, and WSTP 1490 AM out of Salisbury, North Carolina no longer broadcast Sing For Joy. If you know of any other stations in those areas that may be interested in the program, please let us know and we will reach out to them.


“We love Sing For Joy. I listen to it frequently during the week. We are both singers and sing in our local group. We have sung much of the music we hear on Sing For Joy! -Greenport, New York

“Just want you Sing For Joy folks to know that I sing along with you on Sundays. There are no Protestant churches where I live so your programme means a lot to me. It is inclusive. Love the biblical references behind the hymns. I live in the South of France and listen to you on" -Facebook


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In Memory Of:

Wilma Andreae
son, David K. Armstrong
Dr. and Mrs. J.N. Baker
Rev. Michael Ferguson
Harold H. Milliken (1921-1995)
my husband
Dorotha Polovina
June Rockman

In Honor Of:

Nyles and Ruth Ellefson, on their 60th wedding anniversary
Dr. and Mrs. John Hoak
Jane McFarland
Dr. and Mrs. John Mueller
my children: Bud, Mary, Doug and Dan
my daughter, Rebecca Spitzack

Sing For Joy® is sponsored by:

Sing For Joy Sponsor Logos

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