CLASS OF 1967
Jared Jacobsen graduated second in his class from Girard High School in 1967. He was born in New Castle, Pennsylvania in 1949 and grew up in Girard, the son of Janes C. and Alice G. Jacobsen and brother of Jan and Joel. He began his musical journey at the age of five as a piano student at the historic Chautauqua Institution in New York State and has returned every summer since. While in high school he and his sister Jan were in the accelerated studies program and were in the choir and concert and marching bands; he was inducted into the National Honor Society. He studied piano with Vienna Prioletti Cocuzzi at Erie’s Villa Maria College, then enrolled in Westminster College in New Wilmington, Pennsylvania where he earned a Bachelor of Music degree with honors. A desire for full-time study with his summer mentors, the internationally known concert pianists and Liszt specialists Ozan and Patricia Benkman Marsh, led him to their winter base at the University of Arizona in Tucson, where he earned a Master of Music degree and pursued doctoral study as a Haldeman Fellow in keyboard performance and choral studies.
He began his church music career at the age of thirteen as organist for the Grace Episcopal Chapel in Fairview and has served congregations in every major denomination. A California resident since 1976, he served as Fifth Civic Organist of the City of San Diego from 1978 through 1984, playing weekly concerts on the world’s largest fully-outdoor instrument, the Spreckels Organ in Balboa Park. In 1984 he moved to San Francisco to serve a 13,000-member multi-cultural Roman Catholic parish community worshipping in English, Spanish, Portuguese, Korean, and Tagalog. While there he was the organist for the 1987 papal mass in San Francisco’s Candlestick Park for a resident congregation of 70,000 and a viewing audience of 70,000,000; the following year he was invited by Pope John Paul II to the Vatican, as a delegate to its historic First World Conference on Church Music. A Presbyterian Church called him back to service in San Diego in the fall of 1991.
This summer Jared will spend his sixtieth summer at the Chautauqua Institution, which he now serves as Organist and Coordinator of Worship and Sacred Music, shaping the worship life of Chautauqua’s ten thousand residents for each of its nine seasonal weeks. His primary instrument there is the 107-year-old Massey Memorial Organ of four manuals and 5,640 pipes, located in the six-thousand-seat, open-air wooden Amphitheater which is the centerpiece of Chautauqua’s programming. He shepherds the fifty-voice Motet Choir for daily worship services and the one-hundred-fifty voice Chautauqua Choir for Sunday morning and evening worship, plays weekly recitals on both the fully-restored and modernized Massey Organ and an 1893 Tallman Brothers mechanical-action organ in original condition, and appears frequently as soloist with the Chautauqua Symphony and Music School Festival Orchestras.
When he’s not at Chautauqua during the summer months, he serves as Director of Music for First Lutheran Church in downtown San Diego, an affirming and welcoming congregation with progressive worship and a very active outreach to the city’s homeless population through meals and medical, dental, legal, and twelve-step care, all offered without charge or obligation–the church strives “to be the heart of Christ in the heart of the city”. And for the past eighteen years Jared has also been a member of the performing arts faculty of The Bishop’s School, an independent college-preparatory middle and high school in La Jolla, California with professional-caliber, nationally-known choral, dance, and drama programs.
Using his pioneering format of concerts with informal commentary, Jared has toured extensively as a pianist, organist, and choral clinician through the United States and in Mexico, Great Britain, Germany, France, Belgium, and the Netherlands. He sits on the Board of Trustees of the Spreckels Organ Society, remaining a popular and frequent guest performer on the Spreckels Organ, and he is currently writing a large-format art book celebrating that unique facility’s centennial in 2015.