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Cliff Barrows Just Moved from Choir Director to Member of Heavenly Choir

Written by Ed Stetzer on . Posted in Ed Stetzer

Billy Graham's long-time song leader and choir director passes into Glory

Every day when I come into my office at the Billy Graham Center, I walk through the main doors marked “Barrows Auditorium.” Once inside, I pass by the auditorium, which, to this day, is often filled with students and outside groups singing gospel, contemporary, and other songs which fill our spirits and lift our eyes to Jesus.

In fact, Cliff Barrows once said, “The Christian faith is a singing faith, and a good way to express it and share it with others is in community singing.”

Today, this great man of faith, who perhaps led more people in a choir than anyone, has gone to be with the Lord he loved and gave his life worshipping.

Clifford Burton Barrows (1923-2016), 93, of Marvin, NC, is perhaps best known as the song leader and choir director of the Billy Graham Crusades. Born on April 6, 1923, in Ceres, CA, he was the oldest child of the late Charles T. and Harriet M. Barrows. He came to faith at the age of 11 when the pastor preached on John 3:16. In 1944, he was ordained as a Baptist minister.

From 1945-1948 he worked as a Youth for Christ evangelist and song leader and in 1945 he joined Rev. Billy Graham at a rally in Asheville, NC. He and his new wife, Wilma “Billie” Newell, were attending a Youth for Christ rally in Asheville and the rally and the scheduled song leader and piano player was not able to attend. Rev. Barrows filled in, beginning a lifelong association with Rev. Graham. He served as music director, song leader, and master of ceremonies at almost all of Graham’s evangelistic meetings.

Rev. Barrows was inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame in 1988. In 1996, he was also inducted into the Religious Broadcasting Hall of Fame. Rev. Barrows was inducted into the inaugural ...

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