In 1969 my brother Johnny and his friends formed a band. They called themselves “Solid Rock”. Johnny played keyboard, Malcolm Johnson on drums, Tom Brewer was bass guitar, Bill Coors on lead guitar and Ray Mapes was lead singer. This was at the time of the Jesus Revival that swept across the United States. I wanted to a part of the band but since I was only 11 years old, they showed me how to “run sound”. Basically my only job was if there was feedback, I was to turn down the Master on the Shure Mixer/Amplifier. As time and many performances went by, I figured out how to mix the inputs to where the band sounded more blended instead of one or two instruments dominating.
On Sunday mornings, that same sound system was used for morning church service and since I knew how to operate it, I became the Sound Guy. Before long a room at the back of the auditorium was converted to become the Sound Room. What they did to convert is was cut a hole in the wall so I could sit in that room and operate the board. Problem was the hole, or window was at ground level so when people stood up, I could not see a thing on stage. I took my job very seriously and was at all the services that required the sound system.
After a few years the Solid Rock broke up since everyone sort of went on with their life. The sound system became a permanent part of the church. The system was upgraded from time to time with a new mixer, new amps, mics and speakers. I was dedicated to operating it until I went off to college. I showed someone else how to run the system and when I was back in town we would tag team on who operated the sound.
For 15 years I was on staff for a large church in Houston as their Television Engineer/Editor. I devoted my time to video for TV so I was not able to run live sound for church during that time.
Over the years, whatever church I became a member of, I would volunteer to run the sound system. Some churches had a good system of rotating the operators; others had no one in charge of the sound. The churches where there was no one in charge I ended up running sound most every service until it became a job, and not a time of worship. Most churches showed their appreciation; others expected those of us who volunteered to be there like as if we were on staff. Those particular churches really seem to burn us out and we ended up moving on. I recall one time after leaving a church (for many different reasons) someone asked me why I continue to go to church when they end up abusing my talent? I responded that I serve God, not man.
Today my family and I are members of a wonderful church that has a really good system of rotating the sound guys. When it is my time to run the sound system, to me it is giving back the talent God has given me and is a time of Worship.