Shapers of Sound

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“Shapers of Sound,” Ensign, Oct. 1991, 50

Shapers of Sound

To watch them shape, tuck, and fold the edges of sound is a pleasure.

Jerold D. Ottley, director of the Tabernacle Choir and its principal conductor, steps out briskly from stage right, smiles warmly to the audience, and, with a swoop of the hand, signals the choir to stand as he bounds to the podium. His leadership electrifies them. Trim, white-haired, wearing glasses, he holds up the baton to see if all is in readiness with musicians and singers. All eyes are on him. His arm and baton movements are clean, spare. He directs with striking grace and power—and captivating dignity.

The choir members’ voices begin to flow—turned and molded in whatever way Brother Ottley desires. But always their sound is that of grace and power. And great dignity.

Donald H. Ripplinger, associate director and conductor of the choir, stands at Brother Ottley’s side, ready to follow up on dozens of details he has been assigned. His love for the choir’s director and for the choir is loyalty unbounded. He conducts some of the great songs of faith for which the choir is widely known. He stands, hands open and fingers curved, in a unique style. As the sound breaks forth, his palms subtly sway—seeming to caress the actual tones in midair as he reverently feels them rush through his fingers. It is clear—his love for the gospel knows no bounds.