SALT LAKE CITY — Ron Jarrett thought he had closed the door on his time with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir in 2011 when he was released as the assistant to the president of the choir in 2011.
Prior to that, he had sung with the choir from 1999 to 2008. He loved his time with the choir, but thought he and his wife, Lucie, would spend much of their time serving missions.
He was in the 11th month of a 23-month mission in Frankfurt, Germany, working in the public affairs office, when he got the call from the prophet to serve as the new president of the choir.
“I would say it was a huge surprise,” Jarrett said in a phone interview.
He now has been serving in the calling for about seven weeks and is learning quickly about his duties and responsibilities.
“I was so taken back but very honored and then very scared,” Jarrett said of the call.
He had some grasp of the business aspects of the choir when working as former President Mac Christensen’s assistant, but there is much he didn’t know, he said with a laugh.
“I wasn’t privy to all of the details I am now,” he said.
In his new role, he handles the business side of things. He handles finances and the scheduling of the choir. He does whatever he needs to do to support the approximately 390 members of the choir, the 100 members of the orchestra, 30 members of the bell choir plus the 200 volunteers who help with wardrobe and the other tasks to make the choir run efficiently — about 700 people in all.
“The one thing I don’t do is select music. That is all up to the director, Mack Wilberg,” Jarrett said.
One thing he does know is that he has a deep love for music and the choir. He is the only choir president who was ever a member of the choir, having served in that capacity from 1999 to 2008.
He won’t be singing with the choir in his new role, but admits he indulged himself recently when members were singing his favorite song. He was standing near the choir director and stepped beside him and sang
As president, Jarrett plans to maintain the choir’s image and its rich history.
The choir will continue to do its weekly Music and the Spoken Word broadcast on Sunday mornings and will continue to release music.
A Christmas CD will be released in the next month or so, and a new CD showcasing children’s music will be released the first part of next year.
Touring will also be on the agenda, and Jarrett would like to take the choir on an international tour again. The choir has not toured outside the country since 1999, and he would like to see an international tour happen again.
He also has goals to bring the choir into the digital age.
“There are some exciting things coming up for us,” Jarrett said.
He wants to broaden the audience of the choir.
“I would like for young adults to have the choir’s music on their playlist,” Jarrett said, and he feels that is an attainable goal. “We want to broaden our fan base and have our music reach all generations.”
So far the transition has been smooth because things were planned through the end of the year. He views it as great timing for him to assume his new role and said he looks forward to the new year.
“Things have flown from one event to another,” he said.
Jarrett started singing in his school choir when he was in junior high. He continued to sing and sang with Mormon Youth Symphony and Chorus and other choirs when he had the opportunity. He was accepted into the Mormon Tabernacle Choir in 1999.
His wife also loves music, and Jarrett was quick to compliment his wife for her support of his new calling. “It takes the support of a companion to make the sacrifices work for our family,” he said.
He and his wife have three grown children and three grandchildren, with one on the way. He is from the Salt Lake City area.
Jarrett takes his new calling seriously and knows what a great responsibility it is.
“I am extremely grateful for this opportunity and recognize the great trust that has been placed on me. I’m excited for the opportunity to take our music to every generation and bring great hope and peace to the lives of so many people.”