"The Essential J. Darwin Hollingsworth"
Liturgical Arts Expert
“J. Darwin Hollingsworth II is, by far, the most inventive mind at work in the field of liturgical arts in America today. His unique combination of practical experience combined with a thorough understanding of how to get things done right, makes him a force of intellect and vision...
And his execution is even better.”
~Michael E. Brown
Former Executive Production Manager
Sound Board Theater, Motor City Casino
J. Darwin Hollingsworth II's stated personal aim is:
"To share in the enjoyment of the best life by giving my very best to others even as they give their best to me."
J. Darwin Hollingsworth II is an outstanding leader, trained by mentors who stand at the top of their respective fields. Those leaders include Don King (famed boxing promoter), State Representative Calvin Smyre (chairman of the Democratic Party of Georgia), Michael Matthews (playwright and producer, the “God Father of Gospel Musicals”) and Rev. Milton Brunson (Grammy Award winning gospel artist).
Because of these critical experiences, Hollingsworth is one of America’s top liturgical arts experts. This is evidenced by the fact that his advice, counsel and insights are highly sought by ministers and professionals in the field.
His professional path started with tours at the age of fifteen with Hollingsworth playing music to accompany university choirs. His path has carried him through many important periods in the contemporary American arts landscape. These significant experiences include the introduction of national Gospel Play tours of (now known as urban theater) to the advent of praise and worship.
Hollingsworth can do virtually anything in arts and entertainment from writing and directing a play to focusing a light. Hollingsworth is an administrative dynamo.
Hollingsworth recounts stories of how he used to get into trouble for “playing church” as a child. He comments “As children, we weren’t even allowed to play secular music in the house.” He laughs “All we knew how to play was church.”
Coming from a long line of gospel ministers, singers and musicians, Hollingsworth has carried on the generations-long family tradition of strong churchmanship.
A native of Waterloo, Iowa Hollingsworth was born third of six children to a musical family. His formative environment was very rich with arts influences. Hollingsworth’s earliest experience in arts outside of the church environment started when, at the age of five, he joined the “Round Town Players”, a children’s repertoire’ theater company.
He went on to play many instruments finally settling on two: double bass in symphony, which he played for ten years and keyboards (organ, piano and synthesizers), which he still plays.
After high school, he attended a year of university. However, the siren call of the road was ultimately irresistible to him. Therefore, he opted for life as a professional musician.
Within his first year of touring as an adult, Hollingsworth went to work for Grammy Award winning gospel artist Rev. Milton Brunson and the Thompson Community Singers. These formative years shaped Hollingsworth's incredible skill in the area of understanding, developing and teaching gospel music, especially to choirs.
That period also featured the emergence of "praise and worship" as a subset of Christian/Gospel music. Hollingsworth was one of the key musical figures leading the way for praise and worship on the Chicago gospel music scene.
He was later hired to tour with national playwright Michael Matthews, producer of such shows as Momma Don’t and Wicked Ways. Because of his rich background in theater, he served many roles for these productions including musical director, technical director and producer.
In recent comments, Matthews observed:
“J. Darwin comes to his hallowed position in the industry of national tours not by any accident or mistake. We (in the industry) regularly call upon him for his deceptively simple, yet genius solutions to some of the biggest conundrums that face professionals.”
Matthews continued, “Ours is an industry that constantly requires innovation. J. Darwin is matchless in our field.”
Chairman of the Democratic Party
He was next hired by Georgia State Representative Calvin Smyre to over see major fund raising and expenditures for such projects as the ’96 Olympics Welcome Ceremony Committee (Atlanta), renovation and operation of the Liberty Theater Cultural Center (a $2m plus project) and the Columbus Challenge, a fund-raising effort which brought in excess of $88m for arts and cultural organizations in Georgia.
“Hollingsworth’s high level work with us on matters relating to arts in the African-American Community in Georgia was critical to successful ventures that benefit us even today based on his foresight well over a decade ago.”
Hollingsworth was dispatched to Columbus, Ohio by boxing promoter, Don King who owns Black newspaper, the Call & Post. His assignment was to revamp the Central Ohio operation of the 90 year old state-wide publication. During this period, Hollingsworth was appointed to a number of prestigious positions including board member of The Village Television Station in Cleveland and former Ohio Governor Ted Strickland’s Minority Business Council.
Minister of Music and So Much More
During his entire career, Hollingsworth has always served churches.
Yet he has evolved. He is surely so much more than a minister of music. His distinctive path has allowed him to serve churches across the nation in the capacity of Pastor of Worship, Minister of Arts and various other positions.
Complete Arts Expert
Through many years of practical experience, outstanding mentorship, incredible curiosity, ongoing innovation and a deep national network of relationships, Hollingsworth is one of the top urban arts experts in America.