Mormon Tabernacle Choir Blog

Former CEO of ITT Corporation Wrote How the Choir’s Weekly Broadcast Impacted His Relationship with His Father

Rand Araskog was raised on a farm in Minnesota. After high school he attended West Point then went on to study at Harvard. After a career at the Pentagon, Araskog became a marketing director at Honeywell and then CEO of ITT Corporation, a Fortune 500 company with thousands of employees and billions of dollars in annual revenue.

Araskog wrote a short article for the December 1988 edition of Reader’s Digest titled, “My Father’s Greatest Gift.” The article details the relationship between Araskog and his father. Among other things in the article, Araskog recounts a story from his early days at West Point. Araskog was struggling during Christmastime and considering leaving West Point for a university closer to home in Minnesota. When his father heard of his troubles, he traveled to West Point to be with his son. The visit from his father was just what Araskog needed to lift his spirits.

Later in Araskog’s life, he discovered the Mormon Tabernacle Choir’s weekly Music and the Spoken Word broadcast. The broadcast became Araskog’s favorite program, and he shared it with his father during a visit. An excerpt from the article reads:


In the spring my folks returned to Minnesota, and so I listened to my favorite program alone. One week the music summoned memories of the Christmas at West Point. I called Dad and told him about the program—it wasn’t broadcast in Fergus Falls—and how it had turned back my thoughts to 1949. “I hope you know your visit meant a lot to me,” I said, and suggested we make it a point to talk each Sunday after the program. He was delighted.

Dad was 80 then, and every week, except when I was traveling, we talked. I would tell him about the music and message, and then we’d reminisce. It gave each of us a strong start on the week ahead.


The full article and additional mentions of the Choir can be found in the December 1988 edition of Reader’s Digest.