Newsletter Archives

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 to subscribe.

August 2018 Newsletter (Year B)
Agricultural Gifts, by Pastor Bruce Benson

I have made two length-of-the-state drives during the past month, and what I saw has me thinking about the primary sponsors of Sing For Joy: The Sukup family. On the one hand, that is rather unexpected, I know. The Sukups are from Iowa, and I was driving across Minnesota. Sukup Manufacturing is not known for highway construction or the automobile business or roadside restaurants or anything else that seems connected to highway travel; they manufacture agricultural grain handling equipment. But that is exactly why my travels have reminded me of them. 

It is incredible how tall corn can grow in two weeks! Beans too. During hot, humid weeks of the summer, my mother, who grew up on a farm, often said, “In this kind of weather you can watch the corn grow.” It sure seems like it. Fields along the freeway look different driving home than they did driving away. Where did all that green come from in such a hurry? If photosynthesis generated audible music, on hot July and August days it would drown out even the roar of Niagara Falls. And now you probably see why my recent travels make me think of the Sukups. All those crops in the fields will be harvested one day soon, and many regional farmers will use Sukup inventions, engineering and manufacturing to process the grain.

In 2008, according to The World Bank, the human population of planet earth was for the first time more urban than rural. Some population researchers say that milestone was first reached in May of 2007. And crossing the line from majority-rural to majority-urban happened in the United States during the 1910s. But these population shifts do not change the amazing phenomenon leaping into the summer sunshine all over rural America. The food, and other goods as well, that sustain all those urban people still come from rural communities and farms, from the miracle of growth that is visible mile after mile along our highways each summer. One of the population experts who first calculated the change to an urban majority, Dr. Ron Wimberley of North Carolina State University, said back in 2007 that urban and rural areas always depend upon each other. “As long as cities exist, they will need rural resources — including the rural people and communities that help provide urban necessities,” he said. “Clean air, water, food, fiber, forest products and minerals all have their sources in rural areas. Cities cannot stand alone; rural natural resources can. Cities must depend on rural resources.” It is a good reminder as social anxiety increases about rural-urban misunderstanding and mistrust.

We who “do not live by bread alone,” as the Bible reminds us, might think of music as a metaphor for what we urban and rural people both need: not background music, but singing together. It is probably true that most of the choirs you hear on Sing For Joy practice and record in urban settings. But “singing the Lord’s song” is certainly not exclusively an urban activity; it is something rural and urban people do together. And it is good for us. So, thank you Sukups for helping rural and urban America prosper, and thank you for helping us all sing together on Sing For Joy.

Peace be with you,




Pastor Bruce Benson

**Editor's note: We learned of Eugene Sukup's passing right as the August newsletter went to press. Pastor Benson will share more about Eugene and his significance to Sing For Joy in the September newsletter. 

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!

August Playlists and Programs

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

August 5, 2018: Time After Pentecost — Lectionary 18 (Year B)

August 12, 2018: Time After Pentecost — Lectionary 19 (Year B)

August 19, 2018: Time After Pentecost — Lectionary 20 (Year B)

August 26, 2018: Time After Pentecost — Lectionary 21 (Year B)

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 Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Write to us.

Listener Letters

"The music always adds to my Sunday joy!"
-Westminster, Colorado

"Sing For Joy is a blessing to me each Sunday." 
-Roanoke, Virginia

"Thank you for your newsletter, which helps me plan my music for each Sunday's worship." 
-Lincolnton, North Carolina

"Listening to Sing For Joy each Sunday morning prepares our hearts and minds for worship as well as prepares me as a church organist."
-Washington, North Carolina

Lanterns and candle on altar of Boe Memorial Chapel at St. Olaf College
Memorials and Honorariums

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


my son, David

Royce R.J. Frierdich

Donald Robert Jacobson, a gifted musician

Don Klinefelter

Nancy Slaughter



Mrs. June Brown

Peter Bunge

Dr. and Mrs. Galvin

Hugh H. Hart


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:

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