Local church forming new orchestra and adding well-qualified worship leader


There's a new worship leader in town, and he's ready to bring an orchestra and great music to the Texarkana area.

"My family is thrilled to be coming to Highland Park Baptist Church," said Bryce Dooley of Allen, Texas. 

The new worship leader wants to get the word out immediately that he is looking for new people who play brass and woodwind instruments to come and play in the new orchestra. He said their talents would be put to good use.

"This will be the third orchestra I've started," Dooley said. "Please come if you play brass or woodwind instruments to serve or play."

The orchestra being formed has been envisioned as a place that could be a training ground for local musicians to get valuable experience.

In the future, this could lead some musicians who are called to ministry to form their own orchestras at churches where they will serve.

The new worship leader has been in an interim position at Duncanville, Texas' First Baptist Church since 2018 and also working in real estate at Keller Williams in Dallas.

But the new worship leader will be giving up real estate to give his full attention to the people of Highland Park. "I'll be retiring from real estate," he said.

Dooley is well qualified for his new position at Highland Park. He graduated from Stephen F. Austin University with a bachelor's degree in music education specializing in classical voice and conducting.

His master's degree is in music ministry from well-known Texas institution Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.

The forty-something new worship leader describes his own music listening tastes as "eclectic" — ranging from late 80s and 90s Christian music like D.C. Talk and White Heart to current worship music from artists such as Chris Tomlin, who is known for classics like "How Great Is Our God," "Our God" and his cover of "Good Good Father".

"I actually served in Chris Tomlin's home church, and I got to know his family," said Dooley. "They are wonderful people."

It's no surprise that the new worship pastor also enjoys choral music from great Texas and national choirs like Bellevue Baptist in Memphis, Prestonwood Baptist in Plano and  First Baptist Dallas.

Dooley and his family knew very little about Texarkana before coming here. But recently they have been driving through the Twin Cities often because his oldest son, Logan, attends Ouachita Baptist in Arkadelphia.

"Being a native Texan, we've driven through lots of times, and I had never thought of Texarkana as a place where I would have moved," he said. "But the best opportunities God has brought me have been the places I would not have necessarily picked."

Highland Park's new worship minister was alerted to the job by Christian staffing company Vanderbloemen which looks at dozens of potential candidates and then presents churches or ministries with a smaller list of potential new hires.

The church's former worship pastor, Chuck Guilbert, resigned to manage his thriving wedding venue, Garrison Gardens.

While in Texarkana, Dooley hopes to have at least a little time to take some tennis lessons to improve his game. He would also like to join a biking club, he said.

Dooley is married to wife Stephanie. Youngest son, Zach will be attending school in Texarkana, and the move will also bring them closer to oldest son Logan at Ouachita.

Since Bryce Dooley has been in the real estate business, it makes sense that his family has already found a home in Texarkana in a deal that should be complete by July 26, 2019.

So what does the new worship leader think of the church family at Highland Park?

"They're wonderful, welcoming people," he said. "Stephanie and the boys have been welcomed with open arms. We're real excited."

"We have so enjoyed getting to know the leadership of the church, including the search committee and of course, Pastor Kevin [Myers]," he added.

Dooley is also ready to help transition the music ministry of Highland Park into a new era, and he is excited about what's to come in a new city with a growing and vibrant church.

Indeed, Dooley is optimistic about the future for him, his family and his new church, saying : "The best days are ahead."