My first impression of Mr. Barrow was when I went to audition for the Glee Club in the fall of 1964. As a small town kid from New Hampshire I’d never had to audition for anything. With a high school population (grades 9-12) of about 150, students were constantly being drafted into organizations rather than working to get in. I liked to sing. Mr. Barrow liked my voice. I’m pretty sure that at our first practice rules were laid down as to attendance and outside practice. He mentioned that it was quite common to hear a baritone or second tenor part sung alone by a student walking through the quad. I thought perhaps not. Very soon I thought nothing of singing my part alone walking across the quad. This guy knows his business and his students. Even as a freshman I realized that he knew all our names, our strengths and weaknesses and would put us in a position to succeed as a group. All of us were important to the Club. Never made it seem that some were more so, even though it was obvious that some were more gifted than others. We all had a place.
Every spring vacation the Glee Club would go on tour. By bus. In 1966 we did a bus trip through the area with Hollins. Other than the incredibly out-of-tune piano in Covington, VA, there was nothing to remark about this tour. Now I know that that was because of the principles upheld by Mr. Barrow.
I don’t think we were ever friends but we were friendly. However the attitude of professionalism that was instilled in me lasted me throughout my life. In my career in the grocery business I saw how skills of 100-200 people needed to mesh to create an organization. I think that training started a long time before I started my career. I was always thankful that I had learned that. Everyone has skills, everyone can be professional. Being in a profession rather than a job leads to a desire to learn new skills and improve others. Anyone with this mind set is a valuable employee and a good boss will work hard to find the proper place for this person.