Man behind Tabernacle Choir for 22 years retires


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SALT LAKE CITY — One of the great legends of The Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square is retiring.

For 22 years, Barry Anderson handled the logistics of moving 700 people on tours throughout the world, among other feats. It was a job that required an extremely organized brain, a great sense of humor and a lot of faith.

"You have all your contingencies and backup and it worked out fine, and that was the protection of the Lord over his choir," Anderson said, who also credits his wife for supporting him during long nights of planning and long trips. "I've said many times, I have the perfect wife for what I have done over the last 20 years."

Music director Mack Wilberg raises arms in
acknowledgement of performance by Mormon Tabernacle Choir and and Orchestra at Temple Square at concert in Brussels, Belgium, July 11, 2016.
Music director Mack Wilberg raises arms in acknowledgement of performance by Mormon Tabernacle Choir and and Orchestra at Temple Square at concert in Brussels, Belgium, July 11, 2016. (Photo: R. Scott Lloyd, Church News)

Music director Mack Wilberg said he never worried about the logistics because he knew Anderson had taken care of even the smallest detail.

"What I've always appreciated about Barry, is he's always said the music comes first and then everything will fall in place after that," Wilberg said.

"To see them perform, and see the people in the audience crying and all those kinds of things, and really feeling the message, that was the best part of my job," Anderson said.

When planning tours, Anderson said he doesn't start at the beginning.

"I see everybody coming home, arriving home safely and then I work backwards. It's kind of a weird way I'm wired. I think of all of the places we're going and the itinerary is cemented in my head."

Anderson organized tours for The Tabernacle Choir in some of the world's finest concert halls and most famous venues in more than 30 countries, rain or shine.

"I used to tell people when we would be presenting the choir, they'd say, 'Well, what about the weather?' Oh, don't worry about the weather. We've never been rained out."

However, one concert required the use of a helicopter to dry the grass after a downpour in Cincinnati.

"It was 20 feet off the ground and it was drying the grass, because at that venue, you sat outside," Anderson recalled.

Blistering heat, flat tires, and sparse hotel rooms were also no match for Anderson.

"We literally went from hotel to hotel to hotel to grab every room that was available."

On top of his tour duties, Anderson also handled human resources and managed The Orchestra at Temple Square.

"He is one of several behind-the-scene people who have been the secret to the success of the choir organization for many years. I think to say we are going to miss him is an understatement," Wilberg said.

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