Former conductor of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir

Jerold D. Ottely, 2012 Alumni Achievement Award winner, College of Fine Arts and Communications


Fine Arts and Communications (BA '61) 
Salt Lake City, Utah

Favorite BYU class: A cappella choir. "But that was not a really difficult class because you just had to show up and participate."

Worst BYU grade: "A C in physics—and the C was a gift."

Success secret: "Steady and plodding."

Secret skill: "My wife and daughter at one point in time got so disturbed by my constant puns," says Jerold, "that they began grading them K through 12. And I didn't very often get up the scale." 
"Well, all we wanted was a little quality control," says his wife, JoAnn. 
"But what I couldn't teach them was the fact that a pun, to be good, has to be just as bad as it can be," Jerold says. 
"But then my answer to that," responds JoAnn, "is this is not a victimless crime."

Speaker notes: "My life's path is evidence that there are powerful, often-unseen forces waiting for your arrival on the scene. Look and listen for those evidences. And finally, be brave! Take some chances—but only if you invite Providence to be your guide when you take those chances. . . . I didn't have a master plan. I didn't get up one morning and say, ‘I'm going to lead the Tabernacle Choir.'"

Full Name: 
Jerold D. Ottley
Grad Year: 
BA 1961
Fine Arts and Communications
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