Excerpt (approximately 6 minutes) from the oral history with Cliff Barrows, who was interviewed by Kerry Cox in 1992. This excerpt came from audio tape T1 in Collection 463. The accompanying photographs of Barrows come from the records of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. Barrows has worked with Billy Graham as the crusade choir director and music coordinator since the 1940s. To find out more about Cliff Barrows click here. Click to play the Cliff Barrows excerpt on CN463T1

INTERVIEWER: Could you tell me what a typical crusade would be like as far as...(I know you have a choir that comes in basically, and you've got a matter of hours to prepare them)...what kind of setup you have and...

BARROWS: Well . . .

INTERVIEWER: . . . what your techniques are for...?

BARROWS: . . . actually, we have quite a bit of preparatory work that...that helps develop every stage of a crusade, so that we involve people at the grassroots, working through the churches, from the earliest days that a crusade is planned. That is in the prayer aspect. That is in the Christian Life and Witness classes. That's in the youth committee -- how we are going to . . . what we are going to do in the reachout with the youth. That's in the music committee with the choir, with the counseling group. The choir, at a...at a stage, is then encouraged to begin register through the...through the [pauses] music committee, the choir members of the various churches and others in the community that can sing. Maybe they don't go to the...they don't belong to a choir. from PHOTO FILE:  Barrows, Cliff I'll just give you the illustration of our last crusade, which is an example. That was in Portland, Oregon. We had a goal of enrolling three thousand. We had a choir space of two thousand that we were going to fill in that stadium. Well, the interest was so great and there was so much excitement, they didn't cut it off at three thousand. They kept on enrolling them and I said to them on the phone, "Look, if you are going to enroll them, we got to provide a place for them to sit." Well, they ended up with enrolling seven thousand five hundred choir members. So they had to take and put in a whole new area of bleachers all along a wall. And they were spread out, I guess, two hundred feet...well, the length of a football field, from the end of the alto section to the end of the soprano section. But...but Tedd [Smith] and I went then for a week ahead of time and we met with...with groups in different parts of...of the city. We'd have two thousand here, we'd have three thousand here, we'd have fifteen hundred here, we'd have a thousand here. Then we would go over...we'd spend two hours of rehearsal. We'd selected the music (some we had printed especially for Portland) and we had our music book. We had marvelous times. Well, that gathered momentum and so when we gathered together then for the first rehearsal at the dedication before the crusade began, here were seven thousand (about) on that night, close to seventy-five hundred strung out as far you could...you know, you wonder, "How in the world would they stay together?" But it was amazing how the Lord just united their minds and their focus and their interest because of the rehearsals we'd had a week ahead of time. And we had a great time together. Basically, if you are in a stadium, you have it so there...they can be confined to an oval or to a horseshoe configuration. One of my great joys through the years has been working with volunteers. Of course, I appreciate the...the . . . in quotes "the professionals," the ones who are gifted artists and who really are able to perform in excellent manner and...and use their gifts to the glory of God and there's some wonderful musicians, wonderful choirs, wonderful ensembles. But the volunteer gives us an opportunity to bring those in, as many as can. But the volunteer. Maybe they don't sing. Maybe...as . . . obviously, as well. Some of them don't read music that well. But when you get them in a section together, they can and they follow. And I've always felt that one of the great parts of any meeting (and I think this is...there...there are good biblical foundations for this) is the worship and praise in music, which prepares the heart and offers a dimension of worship and praise to God which is beyond the spoken word. I think that it has been true historically in the life of the church. from PHOTO FILE:  Barrows, Cliff It's certainly true...the great hymn book of the Bible is the Psalms and they were sung antiphonally and otherwise. The...the...the music that God has put within the heart of man and the gift to bring it out and to express it is a gift from God to be used to bring glory and praise to His name and is one of the most effective ways of communicating spiritual and scriptural truth, as well as lifting the heart in worship and I think bring joy and gladness to the Father's heart as he listens the...the offering presented by the children that He's created through the melodies that...that He's given them and they are giving back to Him. And so one of my great delights has been encouraging volunteers, because most of our...all of your church choirs, with the exception of...very few exceptions are volunteers. And the measure of devotion and dedication they bring to that responsibility is a reflection or determines the effectiveness and the dimension of their own abilities and the opportunities they have to lead that congregation in worship and praise. And I...I think that a crusade gives us a great opportunity to extend that, to get them a little more excited, because there are so many and they'll take back then to their own choir a new enthusiasm, a new commitment, a new determination, a new understanding what music can mean and in some cases a new repertoire to...to . . . to use.

To find out more about Cliff Barrows or Collection 463 at the Archives click here. To explore the extensive record of the ministry of Billy Graham at the Archives, click here.

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