Billy Graham's Choir Director Speaks to WVLT


Knoxville (WVLT) - For decades, he's led thousands of choir members in every one of Billy Graham's Crusades.

Cliff Barrows has slowed down a bit in recent years, but he's still as fiery as ever when it comes to his faith. Alan Williams had a chance to sit down with him one on one to talk about his life and the upcoming Franklin Graham festival in Knoxville.

When it comes to Crusades, no one is closer to Billy Graham than Cliff Barrows. Cliff has been Billy's music director since 1945. That includes the only crusade in Knoxville in 1970 in Neyland Stadium.

"First of all, the choir was 5,500 strong and, how they sang night after night. I remember the counselors. We had 5,000 counselors," Barrows said. "We had the largest attendance of any Crusade at that time, 500,000, 550,000 people in 10 days, broke records in Neyland Stadium."

"I remember the hospitality of these East Tennessee people," Barrows said.

But a different generation has taken the reins. With son Franklin coming to Knoxville next April for what is termed the Franklin Graham Festival, hoping to generate a more contemporary crowd.

"I think that's good, Alan, because it's a younger generation, they do things a little different ways," Barrows said.

But it was Cliff Barrows that helped get everything started many decades before. Now 84, he's a bit shaky on his feet, but not in spirit.

"The joy of the Lord is my strength, Alan. From my earliest young, he has taught me his work, and the Psalmist speaks about that, and the songs to sing in my heart," Barrows said.

All he needs is an opportunity.

"I sure can, if you give me a choir, I'll get up and do it," Barrows said.


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