DR. DOUGLAS MILLER
In the spring of the year 1958, the late Bishop Joseph Mcgauley was appointed as the senior pastor to a small but vibrant church in the city of Johnstown, Pennsylvania. After taking leadership of the church, the first order of business was to call a spring revival. Truly revival broke out in the church and through the summer. Sister Naomi Miller was a member of the congregation at that time and she had five children, one of whom was a son named Douglas, born December 31, 1949. On July 16th, Sister Miller’s birthday, the service was highly anointed. The evangelist, Elder Cornell Sweet of Hopewell, New Jersey made the altar appeal. Douglas went to the altar crying out to God, that night he was filled with the Holy Ghost. The next night in the service the Holy Spirit anointed Douglas to go to the piano with no formal training began to play the piano for the service. The saints were overjoyed, souls were saved and at that moment young Douglas Lee Miller was set on course with a divine destiny.
Immediately Douglas began playing for the different groups in the local church, so Pastor McGauley placed him over the junior choir. They began to flourish. He began to get engagements all over town and began going to the different conventions in the First Born Church of the Living God. He first formed a group called The Cousins made up of the children of his mother’s nine brothers and sisters. They became ever popular in the area. Then the Parents formed a group “The Bells of Heaven”. Again they began to flourish with Doug writing and playing the music. After graduation from high school Doug moved to Akron with his godparents, the late Deacon Lawrence and Donna Hill. Doug began going to the different churches in the city, mostly going to the Prayer Tower Church Of God In Christ. There, many of the evangelists that would come to the city and would call Brother Miller to play for the services because of his anointing and faithfulness, among them leading Evangelists such as Mother Goldia Haynes, Rosie Haynes, Mother Elsie Shaw, Dr. Lovett, Dr. Jessie Ellis, and many more.
During that period Mother Theresa Myles introduced Doug to the late Dr. Mattie Moss–Clark and an eternal friendship was made. In 1970 some of the saints from Cleveland encouraged Doug to go to the Holy Convocation in Memphis. Dr. Clark asked Doug to sing in the midnight musical. The anointing flowed through the building and the saints were blessed. After leaving Memphis calls were coming in from all over the country. In the meantime Douglas had been appointed the National Minister of Music for the First Born Church of The Living God.
In 1975 a call came from the late Elder S.E. Mitchell, International Evangelist for the Church of God In Christ; Elder Mitchell was in revival at The Church in The Round, in Aliquippa, PA, and he asked Doug to come, thus starting a relationship with Elder Mitchell that moved Doug not only to Dallas, but to membership in the Church of God In Christ. Doug was his minister of music and traveled with Elder Mitchell all over the Country. Through the encouragement of Elder Mitchell he was hired along with Twinkie Clark and Elder James Moore as one of the organist and soloist for the J.O. Patterson Crusades which went throughout the country doing crusades and to Memphis every August for a whole month of tent revivals where people came by the thousands to hear Bishop Patterson, Elder Mitchell and the incomparable Madame Emily Bram.
In 1976 Doug did his first National Recording with the COGIC International Mass Choir at the UNAC Convention, in Los Angeles, “The Just Shall Live By Faith.” Dr. Clark was pleased, it became an instant hit on the album. Dr. Clark vowed to get him a recording deal. A few years later a new record company called Dr. Clark for new talent, she called Doug, got him a deal and sang on his first album: Douglas Miller and The Texas Southeast State Choir with Dr. Mattie Moss–Clark. At that time Evangelist Kim Burrell’s mother, Mrs. Helen Burrell, was the State Minister of Music. The album became an instant sensation and produced the hit “When I See Jesus”. It stayed on the billboard charts for 157 weeks.
In the years since Douglas has made his mark not just as a singer, but as a successful musician composer, recording and performing artist and actor in the hit musicals “God’s Trying to Tell You Something,” Lord Save My Children From Destruction,” and “Secret Lover,” which he starred with Ms. Melba Moore.
Miller’s second album, “The Joy Of The Lord Is My Strength,” went all the way to number one on the billboard charts, and repeatedly earned him recognition in a variety of arenas, and had gotten him continual airplay on gospel radio, world-wide. His next six albums, “I Still Love The Name,” “Unspeakable Joy,” “Sing Until Morning,” “Victory”, “Living On Top”, which features a duet of the title song with the great Shirley Caesar, and “Live In Houston” has earned Miller Grammy and Stellar Award nominations. Selections from these albums have become gospel classics. For one, “Do Not Pass Me By”, gave Miller the distinction of being the first gospel artist ever to have a song on the American Music Awards when it was performed by M.C. Hammer in 1991. Other songs, “Unspeakable Joy,” “Worthy Is The Lamb,” “I Want To Be Holy,’ and the incomparable signature song, “My Soul Is Anchored”, all have become main-stays in gospel music.
As a performer, Miller has traveled throughout the United States, Europe, the Caribbean, Japan and Africa, and was recently appointed Minister of Music for South Korea in the Churches of God In Christ. He has shared the stage with gospel greats such as Shirley Caesar, Yolanda Adams, Kirk Franklin, Vickie Winans and Dr. Bobby Jones.
Celebrating over 50 years of service to the Gospel Music Industry, Miller remains faithful to his roots, encouraging the next generation of musicians, and often lending his ministry of song to the International Mass Choir and the International Conventions of the Church Of God In Christ. He has been a dedicated supporter of the IMD from the administrations of Clark to McAllister.
If his past is any indication of his future, Douglas Miller, God willing, holds many more accomplishments as a recording and performing artist, as well as more explorations into new ways to deliver gospel through art. On December 7, 2015, Miller was bestowed an Honorary Doctorate of Christian Music Education from the Christian International Bible College.
In celebration of Gospel Music Heritage Month, President Judith Christie McAllister and the International Music Department are pleased to honor and salute this living trailblazer among us —– DR. DOUGLAS MILLER.