After college and marriage and starting a family, she thought her drumming days were over, but after a hiatus of about ten years she and her husband reluctantly decided to joined the orchestra of their church. It was during this time that she met C. Harry Causey, and he invited her to accompany the National Christian Choir as their percussionist.
Valerie is a full-time pharmacy technician and part-time carpenter’s assistant. She is married to Dan, and they have three children. She has been with the Choir since 1998.
After five years of lessons in his hometown, Michael began studies at the Peabody Preparatory School in Baltimore. During this time, he also started playing regularly at his home church, accompanying the congregational singing and arranging offertories and other music for the services. Gradually, invitations to play came from other churches and ministries, and his concert ministry began.
Michael continued his training at the University of Maryland at College Park where he completed Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in piano performance. During his freshman year at Maryland, he recorded his first solo recording, In Moments Like These. That album began receiving airplay on Christian radio stations across the county, and by the time Michael completed his degree studies, his concert ministry had become a full-time career.
Since that time, there’ve been seven more recordings as well as concert performances around the country, both as a solo pianist and in conjunction with other Christian artists. In addition to the concert ministry, Michael plays regularly at Sandy Cove Ministries in North East, Maryland, and at the church he attends, New Life Community Church in Kingsville, Maryland. He considers it an honor and privilege to include The National Christian Choir in his ministry schedule.
Joan was born, raised, and has always lived in Montgomery County, MD, with the exception of the time she attended college. She earned a bachelor’s degree in Recreation in 1984. After working at numerous jobs (none of which were recreation-related), she became an office manager for a local plumbing company. In 1991, she joined the Federal Government. Since Joan enjoyed the bookkeeping aspects of her prior job, she went back to school for an accounting degree. Joan is currently an accountant in the Travel Office at the National Institute of Standards and Technology. Perhaps when she retires, she will dust off that Recreation degree!
Joan’s husband since 1985 is David Carlson who sings Tenor I with The National Christian Choir. They have one adult son, Tony, who is autistic and has a seizure disorder. This provides many challenges in all aspects of their lives; however, Tony has a wonderful personality, and Joan and David have truly enjoyed watching his growth and accomplishments. Two cats, Maestro and Max round out the family. The Carlsons currently reside in Clarksburg, MD
Joan grew up in the Methodist Church, but she has been a member of Good Shepherd Lutheran Church since 1988. While at Good Shepherd, Joan has participated in the Altar Guild, Teller Team, Capital Campaign Committee, Handbell Choir, Praise Band, and various other musical groups as needed.
Lauryl has been singing and playing piano ever since she can remember, beginning her music career at three years old when she sang, all by memory, her first solo in church. Her father, a minister for more than 50 years, says she was “on key all the way.” Her mother, who holds a degree in piano performance, gave her children a musical heritage and made sure each one had music and piano training. Lauryl grew up throughout a number of places in the U.S. and has lived in cities such as Chicago, Charlotte, and Washington, D.C.
Not surprisingly, Lauryl holds a B.A. in music with a concentration in composition, but technology has also been a large part of her journey. When she received her first computer, she took it apart and put it back together; her love for technology led her to pursue a master’s degree in educational technology.
Her experiences include singing, playing keyboards and piano, and composing for large productions, dinner theaters, and operas; conducting various productions, cantatas, bands and orchestras; and performing on keyboards and vocally in various venues such as weddings, funerals, local jazz bands, and the Maryland Symphony Orchestra via the Hagerstown Choral Arts Society. She also has experience in sound design.
Lauryl has served as music/worship/choir director at various churches throughout the country and is currently the worship leader for a local church. She hopes to continue composing and to publish some of her work.
RB Hooks III
RB holds a BS degree in Computer Science/Business Administration. He began working for the Department of Defense as a Mainframe Systems Database Administrator and Senior Systems Programmer/Analyst. In 1988, RB was recognized as one of the Outstanding Young Business Men of America. In 1990, he went to work for Storage Technology Corporation and has held numerous positions – Senior Software Support Representative, Senior Systems Engineer, Systems Engineering Manager, Support Manager, Senior Product Manager, Sales Executive, District Sales Manager. Currently, RB is the CTO of Public Sector for Sun Microsystems (who purchased Storage Tek) and a featured speaker at conferences and seminars across the US .RB joined The NCC in 1984 as a singer and sang with The Choir until his skills led him to be the current Audio Engineer for The Choir. He mixes all of The Choir’s concerts and is the recording engineer for The Choir.
In addition to RB’s full-time job and other activities, he also runs a complete recording studio (Creative Sound Design) dedicated only to Christian artists from his home. Through that studio, he serves as the engineer for The NCC’s radio program, “Psalm 95.” RB conducts audio seminars for churches and does audio system analysis. He and his wife, Judy, live in Laurel, Maryland.