Great Sacred Music

Every Sunday morning, The Classical Station offers you over 4 and a half hours of inspiring sacred choral and organ music drawn from the traditions of many faiths. Pastor Alvin Rueter began broadcasting Sing for Joy in 1954. The program now with host Pastor Bruce Benson airs at 7:30 a.m. followed by Great Sacred Music with Rob Kennedy at 8:00 a.m. Eastern.

Sing for Joy

Sunday mornings at 7:30 a.m. Eastern

Sing for Joy features choral music from around the world. Produced by St. Olaf College, the program has a simple mission: to explore the weekly themes of Christian worship by providing the best in sacred choral music and thoughtful commentary. The musical performances eloquently “do the talking,” while the concise remarks from host Pastor Bruce Benson illuminate the meaning of the texts.

Great Sacred Music

Sunday mornings from 8:00 a.m. until 12 noon Eastern

We get your Sunday morning off to a gentle start in Hour 1 with a variety of shorter choral and organ works from the Renaissance through the 20th century. Then a Bach cantata airs at approximately 9:00 a.m.  A major choral work follows. A regular feature of the program is a commentary offered by a distinguished church musician or member of the clergy. Longer, major choral works such as oratorios, masses, and requiems air during hours 3 and 4. You can find links to detailed program notes in the schedule below.

Rob Kennedy, a retired organist, choir trainer, composer, and teacher, programs and hosts Great Sacred Music. If you would like to receive our weekly e-newsletter with program notes, use the form below to be added to our mailing list. We welcome your comments and suggestions. E-mail Rob.

Fall 2021

You can read about the Bach cantatas and each Sunday’s featured works by clicking on the links below. Find the detailed playlist for this week’s program by clicking on the date.  Listen to commentaries by clicking on the names of our distinguished guest commentators. When you are unable to listen to the program in real-time, you can listen to each Sunday’s playlist on Spotify.

September 5
Johann Sebastian Bach: Cantata BWV 78
Darius Milhaud: Sacred Service
Commentary: Rabbi Eric Solomon
Playlist on Spotify

September 12
Johann Sebastian Bach: Cantata BWV 51
Marc-Antoine Charpentier: Messe de Monsieur de Mauroy
Commentary: The Reverend Bob Innskeep
Playlist on Spotify

September 19
Johann Sebastian Bach: Cantata BWV 95
George Frederick Handel: Saul
Commentary: The Reverend Robin Arcus
Playlist on Spotify

September 26
Johann Sebastian Bach: Cantata BWV 19
Michael Tippett: A Child of Our Time

October 3
Johann Sebastian Bach: Cantata BWV 96
Ethel Smyth: Mass in D

October 10
Johann Sebastian Bach: Cantata BWV 48
George Frederick Handel: Athalia

October 17
Johann Sebastian Bach: Cantata BWV 49
Felix Mendelssohn: Lauda Sion

October 24
Fall Membership Drive
Listener Favorites

October 31
Fall Membership Drive
Listener Favorites

November 7
Johann Sebastian Bach: Cantata BWV 163
An Orthodox Christian Requiem

November 14
Johann Sebastian Bach: Cantata BWV 60
Herbert Howells: Requiem

November 21
Johann Sebastian Bach: Cantata BWV 116
Arthur Sullivan: Te Deum

November 28
Johann Sebastian Bach: Cantata BWV 36
Carols and Hymns for Advent

Summer 2021

June 6
J.S. Bach: O Ewigkeit, du Donnerwort, BWV 20
Franz Schubert: Mass in E-flat
Commentary: The Right Reverend Samuel Rodman
Playlist on Spotify

June 13
J.S. Bach: Ach Gott, vom Himmel sieh darein, BWV 2
Sir Edward Elgar: The Kingdom
Commentary: Dr. Nathan Leaf
Playlist on Spotify

June 20
J.S. Bach: Ich hatte viel Bekümmernis, BWV 21
Phillippe De Monte: Missa la Dolce Vista
Commentary: Robert Unger
Playlist on Spotify

June 27
J.S. Bach: Barmherziges Herze der ewigen Liebe, BWV 185
Ludwig van Beethoven: Mass in C
Commentary: The Very Reverend Amy McCreath
Playlist on Spotify

July 4
J.S. Bach: Siehe, ich will viel Fischer aussenden, BWV 88
Horatio Parker: Hora Novissima
Commentary: Dr. Zebulon Highben
Playlist on Spotify

July 11
J.S. Bach: Es ist das Heil uns kommen her, BWV 9
Amy Beach: Grand Mass in E flat
Commentary: Daniel Gawthrop
Playlist on Spotify

July 18
J.S. Bach: Was willst du dich betrüben, BWV 107
Heinrich Ignaz Franz von Biber: Requiem à 15 in A Major
Commentary: David Chalmers
Playlist on Spotify

July 25
J.S. Bach: Wo Gott derr Herr nicht bei uns hält, BWV 178
J.S. Bach: The Passion According To Saint John, BWV 245
Commentary: Christopher Jacobson
Playlist on Spotify

August 1
J.S. Bach: Herr, gehe nicht ins Gericht mit deinem Knecht, BWV 105
Louis Vierne: Messe Solennelle
Commentary: Dan Locklair
Playlist on Spotify

August 8
J.S. Bach: Schauet doch und sehet, ob irgendein Schmerz sei, BWV 46
Josquin Des Prez: Missa L’Homme Armé
Commentary: Dr. Philip Cave
Playlist on Spotify

August 15
J.S. Bach: Mein Herze schwimmt im Blut, BWV 199
Antonio Salieri: La Passione di Gesù Cristo
Commentary: The Reverend Dr. Richard Pfaff
Playlist on Spotify

August 22
J.S. Bach: Lobe den Herren, den mächtigen König der Ehren, BWV 137
Jules Massenet: Ève
Commentary: Dr. John Shelton Reed
Playlist on Spotify

August 29
J.S. Bach: Du sollt Gott, deinen Herren, Lieben, BWV 77
Arthur Honegger: Le Roi David
Commentary: Tom Heaton
Playlist on Spotify


Great Sacred Music is made possible by our listeners and the following people and organizations:

  • All Saints Anglican Church, Raleigh, North Carolina
  • The Chapel of the Cross, Chapel Hill, North Carolina
  • First Presbyterian Church, Durham, North Carolina
  • The Kirk of Kildare, Cary, North Carolina
  • University Presbyterian Church, Chapel Hill, North Carolina
  • Dr. & Mrs. Harold Chapman, Macon, Georgia
  • David Crabtree, Raleigh, North Carolina
  • Ms. Ethel Girvin, Timberlake, North Carolina
  • Dr. Alfred Goshaw, Chapel Hill, North Carolina
  • Dr. Jerry Grise, Cary, North Carolina
  • Mrs. Carole Keeler, Raleigh, North Carolina
  • The Rev. David Livingstone James, Cary, North Carolina
  • James H. Lazenby, Fearrington Village, North Carolina
  • William Marley, Raleigh, North Carolina
  • Thomas Nutt-Powell, Boston, Massachusetts
  • Blaine Hall Paxton, Fearrington Village, North Carolina
  • William Raper of Trinity Concepts, Raleigh, North Carolina
  • Claude and Sarah Snow, Chapel Hill, North Carolina

If you or your organization would like to be a patron of Great Sacred Music, e-mail Rob Kennedy