Sunday Sacred Song celebrates Campbell’s ministry

After 14 years of collaborating with Joan Brown Campbell, organist Jared Jacobsen and the Chautauqua Choir will celebrate her contributions to Chautauqua Institution at this Sunday’s 8 p.m. Sacred Song Service in the Amphitheater. Campbell, the director of the Department of Religion, is retiring at the end of the year.

“This is my night to pay tribute to her personally,” Jacobsen said.

The centerpiece of the evening is British composer John Rutter’s “Gloria,” written in 1974.

“I thought if there’s anything that seems ‘Joan’ to me, it’s the ‘Gloria,’ ” Jacobsen said.

The work is composed of three parts: two exciting, festive pieces as bookends, with a sleek, contemplative movement in between. The arrangement is almost like a hymn, Jacobsen said, not unlike the many prayers that Campbell has crafted throughout her ministry.

Jacobsen related the upbeat first and third movements of the work to Campbell’s “impressible” laugh, which he has heard a lot of throughout the 14 years they have worked together.

“We have more fun in our meetings than just about anybody I work with,” he said.

They work together almost every day of the week and sometimes finish each other’s sentences, Jacobsen said. The seemingly endless workload makes it difficult to stop and reflect on what is accomplished week to week. But with this service, Jacobsen has the opportunity to celebrate the successes of many years.

“It’s going … to be a tearjerker, no matter how you slice it,” he said, “because even though she’s around for another week and I’m still around for another week, the end of Chautauqua packs quite a wallop for those of us who’ve been here for the whole time.”