Valerie was introduced to music at an early age by her parents. Her father, who was a percussionist, would often have his drums set up next to her mother’s piano. While taking piano and flute lessons, she continued to have fun just playing her father’s bebop Gretsch drum set along with the variety of records she found in the hi-fi cabinet. Although it was not typical at that time for girls to play drums, her parents encouraged her to pursue that instrument and she began lessons with her father’s teacher, Oliver K. Bernd, who gave her an early love for the orchestral style of musicianship. She continued to play throughout her school years under the direction of Stewart Wolf and Vincent P. Bercher and was a member of the Red Hill Band. On her 16th birthday her parents bought her a blue Vistalite Ludwig drum set; it is the same set she uses for the concert venues, and fits in well with the color of the NCC robes. During college she continued to play in the marching band and jazz and percussion ensembles and enjoyed playing in the orchestra pit for the all-campus musicals. Her percussion instructor at this time was Willis Rapp.
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.
Michael is a Maryland native, raised in Aberdeen and currently living in Bel Air. His musical studies began at age seven when his parents bought him a piano and arranged for lessons for his birthday…
Michael is a Maryland native, raised in Aberdeen and currently living in Bel Air. His musical studies began at age seven when his parents bought him a piano and arranged for lessons for his birthday. While his studies were focused on the classic repertoire, his passion was for the music of the church, and he sensed early on that music ministry would be an important part of his life.
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’s musical background started with piano lessons at the age of seven. She took seven years of lessons and continues to play for her own enjoyment…
Joan’s musical background started with piano lessons at the age of seven. She took seven years of lessons and continues to play for her own enjoyment. Joan became interested in bass guitar in high school. She took a couple of lessons and then became a member of the Damascus High School Stage Band until graduating in 1981. She next attended Frostburg State College and was a member of the Jazz Ensemble and Percussion Ensemble. A few opportunities to play came along after graduation, mainly at church functions. Joan auditioned for and was accepted as the bass guitarist for the National Christian Choir in 2006.
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.
Cindy was born and raised in the Baltimore area. Her musical training began at age seven with piano lessons at the Peabody Preparatory in Towson. She learned to play the flute in fourth grade and switched to the clarinet in junior high.
Cindy was born and raised in the Baltimore area. Her musical training began at age seven with piano lessons at the Peabody Preparatory in Towson. She learned to play the flute in fourth grade and switched to the clarinet in junior high. Outside of school she taught herself how to play other instruments, including her brother’s trumpet, baritone, and French horn, and a plastic guitar she purchased from Read’s Drugstore and hid under her bed.
Cindy graduated from Towson High School in 1972 and continued to study the clarinet at the Peabody Conservatory of Music in Baltimore. She graduated in 1976 with a degree in music education and began her career as an educator in Maryland. She retired in 2018 with thirty-seven years of service, having taught instrumental music in Howard County and Baltimore County, and secondary mathematics in Washington County. For more than forty years she has served in churches as a pianist, organist, and choir director and has assisted choral directors, vocalists, and instrumentalists as an accompanist.
Upton, PA (halfway between Greencastle and Mercersburg) is where Cindy and her husband, Steve, have lived since 1989. They have two sons, Mike and Zack, and a daughter-in-law, Erica.
Cindy first heard about the National Christian Choir in 2012 and visited the website. The director’s picture and biography seemed to resemble/describe the Kathy Miller with whom she taught in Howard County. Following an email to Kathy and her immediate reply, a friendship was rekindled after thirty-four years. Cindy joined the choir in February, 2013 as an alto. She became a member of the music team in October, 2017.
RB Hooks IIISpecial Event Sound Engineer
RB was born in Kentucky into the home of a Southern Baptist minister and is the namesake of his grandfather, also a Southern Baptist minister. Cemented in Southern Baptist background, RB has been involved in many areas of church life…
RB was born in Kentucky into the home of a Southern Baptist minister and is the namesake of his grandfather, also a Southern Baptist minister. Cemented in Southern Baptist background, RB has been involved in many areas of church life–Chairman of the Music Committee, Chairman of the Audio/Visual Committee, served the Vision Committee, Church Council, Youth Council Adult Sponsor, and Interim Worship Leader. He has sung in church choirs, participated and soloed in the music ministries of Dulos (male gospel quartet) and Chosen (male trio), as well as The NCC.
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 Special Event Sound Engineer for The Choir. He mixes all of The Choir’s special event 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 Aldo, Texas.
Dennis BowmanSound Engineer
Dennis joined the NCC in the spring of 1984 and since then, has served the ministry in various capacities such as Choir Council President and Chairman of the Board of Directors. For the past 12 years, Dennis has chaired the NCC Golf Committee which runs one of the……
Dennis joined the NCC in the spring of 1984 and since then, has served the ministry in various capacities such as Choir Council President and Chairman of the Board of Directors. For the past 12 years, Dennis has chaired the NCC Golf Committee which runs one of the Choir’s most successful annual fundraisers. Since 2011, he has been the Sound Engineer for all NCC rehearsals and 2nd Edition concerts and has been Assistant Sound Engineer for NCC’s full-choir concerts. With the recent move to Texas of NCC’s long-time Concert Sound Engineer – RB Hooks – Dennis has accepted the responsibility of doing sound for all NCC concerts. Dennis’s background in sound reinforcement extends over many years of doing sound in churches and assisting with the purchase and installation of new sound systems in three of those churches. He loves creating a wonderful sound environment for both choir and audience and considers his efforts toward that end to be a real ministry to the Lord.