My Life Before I Became a Minister

Emory Hood on bass, Dwight Andrews with the tambourine, me on trombone


Before I became a minister I was a musician, a card carrying member of the American Federation of Musicians, Local 5, in Detroit, Michigan.  During my first year of college at Boston, University I started to miss the band I played with in high school and I brought my trombone back to school with me after the Christmas break.  During my second year in Boston I would fly home on the weekends when the band had jobs, which amounted to two or three times a month.  I transferred from Boston University to Wayne State University in my third year and graduated from Wayne State.

Dwight Andrews on sax, Emory  Hood, bass


The band was called Seven Sounds. These are the original members of the band:  Carl Boyd, saxophone; Floyd Jones jr. on trumpet; Dwight Andrews, Saxophone; Spencer Barefield, guitar; Emory Hood (my brother),bass; Tyndal Prude, drums and vocals; and myself on keyboards.  Later that year we added Derrick Fortson on the conga drums when Carl’s mother yanked him from the group because she thought we played too late at night.  In the 12th grade we added Rose Thornton and Linda Farmer on vocals.  Over the year’s other persons joined the band:  Ricky Wells on organ; Tyrone Golden, keyboards, Kim and Michael Maregrum on drums and guitar.

Spencer Barefield, guitar; Ricky Wells, organ; and me on trombone


 We started to play for money when I was in the 11th grade.  Our first pay job payed each of us $5 per person.  It was a political fundraiser in the living room of neighbors on Fullerton Street in Detroit.  Soon afterwards I guess someone heard we would play for $5 and we played a dignified event on a Sunday afternoon at the Book Cadillac Sheraton Hotel in downtown Detroit.  Not long after that event we were hired by a high school club called the Pre-Omega’s.  Our pay jumped to about $30 a person and we never looked back.  That party was at the Whitter Hotel, on Jefferson off the river.  These are some of the places we played:  Statler Hilton Hotel, St. Regis Hotel, Lee Plaza Hotel, The Latin Quarter, the Mauna Loa, the Disabled Veterans (DAV), Cobo Hall riverfront Ballroom, The Veterans Memorial Building (Penthouse and both lower level ballrooms), the Pontchatrain Hotel( top level and ballroom level), Ford Auditorium Co-ette Club Charity Balls on the lower level, Ford Auditorium Main Stage – Delta Sigma Theta Jabberwok, The Boblo Boat Midnight Cruise, Local 212, Local 876, Local 15, Local 51, The Detroit Institute of Arts opening of the Farnsworth Entrance, Wayne State University Student Center Building, University of Michigan Student Center Building, Trotter House – University of Michigan, Michigan State University Fall Ice Breaker, Eastern Michigan University, Russell Woods Art in the Park, Ann Arbor Music Festival, Pingree Park, Harlem Gallery Art Festival, the Detroit Parks and Recreation Department sent us to various neighborhoods on a portable band stage after the riot of 1967, St Cyprian Church, St. Stephen’s Church, St. Timothy Church, St. Matthew Church, Plymouth United Church of Christ, The Nacarema Club, the Grosse Pointe War Memorial, the Manor House and many more places than I can remember.  It was a lot of fun, but for me something was missing.

Tyndal Prude was lead singer and take a look, he played two bass drums at the same time!


When I returned from Boston, my father asked me to build a youth ministry from scratch for the junior high school youth of my church.  I started that ministry with only a handful of youth who belonged to the church: Maurice and Claudius Britt, Thomas Seabron, Cynthia Ross, Dawn White, Tracey White, Stephanie, Linda and Matthew English and the rest was history.  That small group of children grew to over 100 youth who met with me each Sunday evening around 4 PM.  I would pick as many as I could up in the church van and took them back home.  I took them on the first black college tour from my church with two buses of children, the rhythm section from my band and everyone traveled free of charge!  The youth raised all of the money themselves with the understanding that the only way I would take them was if no one had to pay their way.  Several of the youth in that ministry were poor and I was afraid they would feel left out if they could not participate in everything.

As I neared the end of college, the band disappointed me on several levels.  We played / auditioned in four different recording studios:  Invictus Records; Motown; (When we finally were given an audition at Motown, one guy was late and another did not show up – I was furious) United Sound Studios; Wingate Records and some unnamed studio on top of the Dexter-Davison Market.  Invictus wanted the horn section, but not the whole band.  Motown was not interested.  I can’t remember why we were in the Wingate studio.  At United Sound Studio, myself and the rhythm section recorded a jingle for United Airlines which sent us residual checks for at least a year. Some of the guys got caught up in drugs and alcohol.  It was becoming harder to keep everyone focused.  So, at 20 years of age I began to ask life-defining questions: “If this band accomplished all you believe it could do, would you be happy?”  My answer was a resounding “No”.

What I learned from the youth ministry was that I would be fulfilled if I went in the ministry full time.  I made that decision at 20 years of age and have never looked back.

Psalm 100

All Lands Summoned to Praise God

A Psalm of thanksgiving.

1    Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth. 2       Worship the Lord with gladness;

come into his presence with singing. [1]


Written by Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III

Additional Prayers Photos and Meditations from Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III at



[1] The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version. (1989). (Ps 100). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.