Gospel Meets Symphony April 17, 2021 @ 7:00 pm

Musical worlds collide as local gospel experts and Symphoria sing the good news of our culturally rich and vibrant community.  This performances features local performers, including Zasha Moore, Alza Johnson, Corey Hudson, Fred Hintz, and special performance by Joan Hillsman’s Music Network.





Anthem of Praise
God is Trying to Tell You Something (Color Purple)
How Majestic Is Your Name
Special performance by Joan Hillsman’s Music Network
Hallelujah, You’re Worthy
Lean on Me
Amazing Grace


Joan Hillsman | Gospel Music Specialist

Dr. Joan Hillsman | Gospel Music Specialist

Dr. Joan Hillsman is a Music Educator, Author, Lecturer/Demonstrator, University Professor, African American Music Historian, Church Music Clinician, Curriculum Writer and Retired Supervisor of Music from the Washington DC Public Schools. Dr. Hillsman is also a Board Member for the National Gospel Music Workshop of America (GMWA) and performer.

Dr. Hillsman relocated to the Syracuse area from Washington , DC in 2009. Since her arrival she has worked on various projects. She has had the pleasure of working on Syracuse’s Mayor Miner’s Arts Transitional Team and also Syracuse’s “Say Yes to Education” Program as well as organizing a Syracuse Chapter of the Gospel Music Workshop of America and produced a CD of original gospel music in collaboration with Bethany Baptist Church, Syracuse, NY.

Dr. Hillsman received her B.M.E. and M.M.E. degrees from Howard University in Washington D.C., and completed the requirements for for the Doctor of Musical Arts program at Catholic University in Washington D.C.. She received a Ph.D. from the Union Institute & University in Cincinnati, OH.


Sean O’Loughlin | Conductor

Sean O’Loughlin | Conductor

Sean O’Loughlin (b.1972) is the Principal Pops Conductor of Symphoria, the exciting new symphony in Syracuse, NY and the newly appointed Principal Pops Conductor of the Victoria Symphony in Victoria, B.C. Canada. He is a fresh voice and a rising name in the music world. His music is characterized by vibrant rhythms, passionate melodies, and colorful scoring. Commissions from the Boston Pops Orchestra, the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra highlight and showcase his diverse musical abilities. As a conductor, he has led performances with the Boston Pops Orchestra, the San Francisco Symphony, the Chicago Symphony, the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, the Minnesota Orchestra, the Dallas Symphony, the Vancouver Symphony, the Atlanta Symphony, the Baltimore Symphony, the Houston Symphony, the Victoria Symphony and the Seattle Symphony amongst others. He was the assistant conductor and arranger for a production of Sgt. Pepper Live in Las Vegas featuring the band Cheap Trick. He has served as conductor for national and world-wide tours with Josh Groban, Sarah McLachlan and the Jerry Garcia Symphonic Celebration. He has also appeared on ABC’s Good Morning America with Josh Groban and NBC’s “A Very Pentatonix Christmas.”

Recent collaborations include such artists as Sarah McLachlan, Adele, Josh Groban, Pentatonix, Steven Tyler and Joe Perry, Kelly Clarkson, Diana Ross, Journey, Melissa Etheridge, Weird Al Yankovic, Blue Man Group, Janelle Monáe, Audra McDonald, Hall and Oates, Gloria Estefan, the Indigo Girls, Diana Krall, Itzhak Perlman, Natalie Merchant, Chris Isaak, Pink Martini, Brandi Carlile, The Decemberists, Martina McBride, Josh Ritter, Gloria Gaynor and others. The Los Angeles Times calls his orchestrations “…magnificent and colorful” while adding “…even more dimension…” to the compositions. Daily Variety heralds Sean’s writing as “most impressive …” with a “wide range of coloring in the orchestra…” that “…adds heft and rolling energy.

Through his growing number of commissioned and published works, Sean is excited to continue contributing to the rich history of orchestral and wind band literature. His music is published by Excelcia Music, Hal Leonard and Carl Fischer. He is a frequent guest conductor with professional orchestras around the country and abroad. An annual ASCAP Special Awards winner, Sean was a composition fellow at the Henry Mancini Institute in Los Angeles, and holds composition degrees from New England Conservatory and Syracuse University.

Special thanks to Cora Thomas and Dr. Joan Hillsman for assistance with this event!