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Chautauqua Community Mourns Passing of Jared Jacobsen

Dear Friends of Chautauqua Institution:

We learned yesterday of the tragic passing of our beloved Jared Jacobsen, Chautauqua’s organist and coordinator of worship and sacred music for nearly 25 years, and someone who proudly proclaimed himself a lifelong Chautauquan. Jared was involved in a car accident in Geneva, Ohio.

While we await formal word of Jared’s wishes, we know our community is grieving this unspeakable loss. Many have described Jared and the music he masterfully created with the iconic Massey Memorial Organ at the Chautauqua Amphitheater as the “heart and soul” of Chautauqua. This sentiment speaks not only to Jared’s talent, but of his ever-presence during our summer assembly season, his untiring love for music, and his generous willingness to share his passions with Chautauquans across generations. His music ushered in each day, heralded the noontime and afternoon hours, and closed each Sunday evening of the summer assembly, keeping the time of a timeless community.

He played his final service and concert on Sunday, August 25 — a service he curated and titled “Camp Meeting is Over.” This final Sacred Song Service of every Chautauqua season precedes the presentation of the President’s Three Taps of the Gavel address, which I launched with the following T. S. Eliot quote:

“What we call the beginning is often the end. And to make an end is to make a beginning. The end is where we start from.”

And, so from the end of Jared’s worldly life, he begins anew his eternal life. May he rest in the peace of God’s enduring love, to which he committed his life.

Please join us for a memorial service at 11 a.m. Friday, August 30, in the Chautauqua Amphitheater, the Rt. Rev. V. Gene Robinson presiding, with special guests and tributes to Jared's extraordinary life. For those unable to join us in person, we will livestream the service on our Facebook page. You may also want to visit the special tribute page we've established at

Very sincerely,
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Michael E. Hill

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