Although they each could have pursued singing careers, Sam was the only one who actually did for a time. He was even touted as the Number 1 Tenor in Europe during the 1960's. I just love these little statuettes. Aunt Janie picked them up somewhere during one of her travels and they sat on a shelf above her piano for years. They perfectly resemble my singing uncles!
In 1955, Sam was asked to go to SLC to audition for the Tabernacle Choir. He was just 18 and beginning his opera studies at BYU. He took my mother Carolyn to accompany him and his brother John (for moral support). Director J. Spencer Cornwall was looking for men to fill out the choir's Tenor and Bass sections. He was especially interested in young voices. (The choir had not recovered from the War Years yet.) "The youngest tenor I have is 70 years old!"
Sam and Carolyn walked in for the audition. After just a few notes, the director said, "You're in! Here's the music. Learn it. We leave for Europe in two weeks." He handed Sam a heavy stack of choral music, then asked, "Are there any others at home like you?" Sam said, "Well, my brother John is a tenor. He's just out in the hall. And this is my sister, Carolyn. She's a high soprano. And, too bad my brother Bob isn't here. He's a Baritone. Bob's still serving in the army. But he'll be home soon."
That's how my mother and her brothers joined the Tabernacle Choir. They sang in the choir off and on from 1955 through the 1960's. (The commitments were not so strict as they are nowadays. They sang when they could.)
Sam and John went on that 1955 European Tour, but my mother did not. She was having a little production of her own. Me. I came along in November. (In those days they didn't allow pregnant ladies to go on tours. And we saw a picture in the Church Museum from a 1955 Music and the Spoken Word broadcast where my mom looks like she has morning sickness. Perhaps that protocol was justified.)