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Always on the move: attended his first revival at 2 weeks old

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WIMAUMA- Dean Pickering has been on the road – literally– for his entire life.

“I was born in Allentown, Penn. between revivals,” he told me recently while setting up to do the audio/video presentations, stage lighting and production for LIFT 2011, the Winter Camp Meeting held earlier this month at the Church of God’s national Convention Center and Campgrounds located on State Road 674 in Wimauma.

Dean Pickering isn’t only a musician, but a sound technician as well. He says his talent as a singer, and playing musical instruments, helps him be creative when he’s working the sound board at large productions like those recently held at the Church of God’s national headquarters at its campgrounds in Wimauma.
“I was in Waycross, GA, when I was two weeks old, where my dad was preaching and my mom and older brothers and sister were singing.”

Being the youngest, Dean started making appearances with the family group at age 7 as a drummer.

Now 49, he has no intentions of slowing down.

Based in Orlando, Dean travels all over the southeast and spends a lot of time each year at events in south Hillsborough County.

He says he’s inherited his calling. The original “traveling Pickerings” were his grandparents, who- along with Dean’s father, Roland- went by the name of The Pickering Trio.

When his grandparents retired from travel, Roland and his wife Erma and Dean’s older brothers Max and Don and sister Sharon formed their own group and renamed the group   The Pickerings.

All four children were home-schooled as they traveled, supervised by their mom, Dean said.

“I’ve spent my whole life in churches and revivals, around Gospel music,” he said.

His father was an ordained minister and evangelist who received his training from the Church of the Nazarene, but Dean is involved with musicians and preachers from many Christian denominations. Being a member of the Florida Gospel Music Association is one of his favorite positions, and he has been involved in the audio/video, stage setup and lighting for that association’s annual state convention for 21 years. This year’s convention will be held at the Church of God Campgrounds on Labor Day weekend as it has several times in the past, he said.

The second week of January the group sang at the Sun City Christian Center, and they’ll be back in the area April 15 and 16 for the annual Men’s Conference held at the Church of God Convention Center and again for the Summer Camp Meeting that takes place there every June.

His ear for music keeps him busy with all aspects of sound, not just singing.

“I started with the drums, and then got into guitar and piano,” he said.

Dean sets up stages so the sounds produced by singers, musicians and speakers are maximized. He also uses lighting and special effects to enhance all the productions he arranges.
Being fascinated with sound since childhood, he learned all he could about the audio and video equipment used where ever his family performed. Pretty soon, he was operating the technology that changes lighting and sound. He says he likes to watch the people on stage, whether they’re preaching or singing or doing something else. As he watches, he tries to anticipate what he can do to enhance whatever is going on. That’s why his audio/video work isn’t always rehearsed.

“I feel God has given me a talent and I like to use it creatively,” he said. He keeps his eyes and ears open for any change that might benefit both those on stage and those in the audience. He says just the right lighting or sound can often make a big difference in how something is delivered.

He’s turned his love of electronics into a business and also installs sound and AV  systems in churches, schools and large halls and does sound systems for other musicians, including the Bill Bailey concerts, the next of which will be held Jan. 31- Feb. 5 at the Manatee Convention Center in Palmetto.

“The Bill Bailey concerts are the largest Gospel conventions in the southeast,” Dean said. Readers may find out more about them at www.billbaileyconcerts.com and about the Pickerings at www.pickeringministries.com.




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