James E. Bobb joins the St Olaf faculty with more than 20 years’ experience directing church music in Lutheran and United Church of Christ congregations. Bobb holds performer’s certificates and M.M. degrees and in organ and harpsichord performance and literature from the Eastman School of Music where his teachers included Russell Saunders and David Craighead in organ and Arthur Haas in harpsichord. His undergraduate work was at Capital University where his teachers were Janet Linker in organ and Frank Hussey in piano.
As the Minister of Music at First Congregational Church, Columbus, Ohio from 2009-2012, Bobb presided over a three-manual 1972 Rudolph von Becherath organ of 73 ranks, a four-manual 1931 W. W. Kimball organ of 66 ranks, four parish ensembles and two concert series. He also taught organ and organ literature at Capital University in Columbus. For fifteen years prior to that, Bobb served the Lutheran Church of the Incarnate Word in Rochester New York. There he led parish ensembles of all ages, conducted the St. John Passion and other works by Bach, Buxtehude, Schütz, Gabrieli, Purcell, and Telemann, and led the choir on a tour of Sweden. Also in Rochester, he was director of the Rochester Bach Festival, an instructor in Sacred Music at the Eastman School of Music, Adjunct Professor of organ at Nazareth College, and a chapter dean of the American Guild of Organists.
At the harpsichord, Bobb has performed Bach’s Goldberg Variations in Manhattan, Boston, Rochester, and Baltimore. He has appeared as organ and harpsichord soloist, conductor, and continuo player with The Publick Musick and the Rochester Bach Festival. With The Publick Musick, he had appeared in New York, Indiana, Maine, and Germany, and has recorded music of Telemann and Vivaldi. Bobb has also enjoyed leading hymn festivals in Ohio, New York, Georgia, and Oklahoma.