Douglas Mears’ musical journey has taken him on many different paths and adventures. As a teenager, he convinced his parents to purchase an old, abandoned church organ, and a few years later was offered a position as substitute organist at his childhood church. He went on to become an organ major at the prestigious Juilliard School in New York City, receiving both Bachelor and Master of Music degrees in only four years. A few days after graduation, he departed for the American Music School in Fontainebleau, France where he was privileged to study organ, harmony, and composition with Nadia Boulanger, one of the most influential music teachers of the twentieth century.
After further organ studies earned him a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from Catholic University, Doug continued to serve in the Washington, DC area as an organist at the Navy Chapel, Fourth Presbyterian Church, and National Presbyterian Church. Then, following a week-long choral festival at Westminster Choir College, singing under the direction of the “Dean of American Choral conductors,” Robert Shaw, Doug decided to pursue his passion for choral music. Since earning a second doctorate in choral studies under Shaw protégé Donald Neuen at the Eastman School of Music, he has enjoyed a long and successful career as a choral and church musician, conducting in a wide variety of venues including nursing homes, schools, churches, the Kennedy Center, Notre Dame Cathedral, The White House, Carnegie Hall, and even a few street corners.
From 1980-2017, Doug served on the artistic staff of the Fairfax Choral Society. Through his inspiring leadership as Artistic Director, he was instrumental in bringing the organization to the forefront of Washington choruses. With eleven ensembles and more than fifteen musicianship classes, FCS grew to be one of the largest choral organizations in the country. Doug also served for over thirty years as the Director of Music at Fourth Presbyterian Church in Bethesda, Maryland. During that time, he worked with many gifted colleagues, overseeing four choirs and five instrumental ensembles.
Doug is a published composer of music for choirs, handbells, organ, and orchestra. In his spare time, he enjoys creating music in his home studio and swimming in the Caribbean!