Pastor Bruce Benson, Program Host

Bruce Benson

"Sing For Joy specializes in the music of hope. Music has such a wonderful capacity to express hopefulness — even when it is not happy. Words struggle to do that, but music does it all the time. Every Sing For Joy program reminds me that music's power manifests itself in so many ways."

Throughout his career, Pastor Bruce Benson has been known for many things, but it is his voice that has always at the center of his work. From his poetry and sermons to his Christmas Festival narrations and Sing For Joy commentary, Benson's voice is known throughout the college community and miles and miles away. There is no denying his ministry as St. Olaf College pastor for 30 years (1981-2011) has touched the lives of many, and we are humbled to have his presence, thoughts and words as a mainstay on Sing For Joy.

Before his ministry at St. Olaf College, Benson served pastorates in Albert Lea, Minnesota, Billings, Montana, and Sioux Falls, South Dakota. He holds a Master of Divinity from Luther Seminary in St. Paul, Minnesota, and a Master of Sacred Theology from the Yale University Divinity School in New Haven, Connecticut.

During his years at St. Olaf, Benson served as the narrator of the college's famed Christmas Festival, where his voice was second only to the choirs. He also served as liturgist/reader at numerous choir concerts; led seven international study programs for students; and acted as worship planner, presider and chaplain for the college's Conference on Worship, Theology and the Arts.

A talented writer, Benson has had his poetry commissioned and set to music by four composers from the United States and England. He has written adult education curriculum for Augsburg Publishing, and has served on the Board of Trustees of Trinity Seminary in Columbus, Ohio, and on the Advisory Board of Word and World, a theological journal.

Now retired from St. Olaf College, Benson enjoys spending time with his wife, Carol, at their home in Northfield and their cabin in the Minnesota north woods.