Rev. Doug Hollida has been the Minister of Music at Towson United Methodist since 2013. Prior to that, he was Director of Worship & Organist at Bel Air United Methodist Church, the largest church in the Baltimore Washington Conference.
He earned his music degree at Shepherd University on full scholarship. There, he studied conducting with Jay Stenger (formerly of the Robert Shaw Chorale) and conducting and organ with Harry Sterling. Mr. Sterling was a full scholarship student at Peabody Conservatory where his choral conducting mentor was Grammy-Award-winner Gregg Smith. Mr. Sterling’s main organ teacher was Robert Elmore and other teachers included Richard Purvis and Virgil Fox. Doug’s other main organ teacher was Marjorie Peacher, A.A.G.O. with degrees from Oberlin Conservatory and Union Theological Seminary. Doug also studied piano at Peabody Conservatory with Mellasenah Morris.
Doug had his first paying position as an organist while still in high school, and upon graduating, accepted a position as Organist and Choir Director at a small Lutheran Church. While still in college, he moved to the historical St. John’s Lutheran Church in Hagerstown, Maryland where he regularly played the 4-manual, 76-rank Moller. St. John’s is the home of the Moller family, who for decades ran the largest pipe organ company in the world.
While at St. John’s, Doug felt a call to pastoral ministry. He earned his Master of Divinity degree from Trinity Episcopal School for Ministry where he received several scholarships, including the prestigious David H. C. Read Preacher/Scholar award, winning first prize in this national competition for seminarians.
Upon graduation, Doug was ordained in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). After pastoring churches in Ohio and West Virginia, he moved to Bel Air where the Director of Worship position allowed him to bring many of his gifts together.
At Towson, Doug continues to be involved in worship planning and design. During his tenure here he has reinstituted the children’s Spring Musical, added a Christmas Musical, and also an annual Youth Cantata for the Spring. Last winter, he formed (and leads) a contemporary Praise Band, adding life and joy to the newly blended worship service. Under his leadership, more social events have been added to the choir calendar as well.
Along with directing 6 weekly choirs, another monthly one, and overseeing yet another, he continues to play the organ, mentor young musicians, and compose and arrange music for the organ, instrumentalists, and the various choirs. Along with the church’s Chancel Choir, he participates as an organist and conductor for Baltimore’s annual Holiday Brass Concert held at the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen.