Sean O’Loughlin, conductor
Sean O’Loughlin (b.1972) is the Principal Pops Conductor of Symphoria in Syracuse, NY and the Principal Pops Conductor of the Victoria Symphony in B.C., Canada. His diverse background includes collaborations with some of the leading symphonies and popular artists of today. 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 National Arts Centre Orchestra, the Atlanta Symphony, the Dallas Symphony, the Houston Symphony, the Vancouver Symphony and the San Diego Symphony amongst others. He has served as conductor for symphony tours with Josh Groban, Sarah McLachlan, The Decemberists and the Jerry Garcia Symphonic Celebration. He has appeared on Good Morning America and the PBS Special “Stages” with Josh Groban in addition to NBC’s “A Very Pentatonix Christmas.”
Recent collaborations include such artists as Alicia Keys, Josh Groban, Journey, a-ha, Jason Mraz, The Beach Boys, Sarah McLachlan, Steven Tyler and Joe Perry, Pentatonix, Kelly Clarkson, Diana Ross, Gladys Knight, Blue Man Group, Janelle Monáe, Audra McDonald, Hall and Oates, the Indigo Girls, The Go-Go’s, Bonnie Raitt, Pink Martini, Brandi Carlile, Weird Al Yankovic, Melissa Etheridge and others. 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. 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.
Jim Witter, vocalist and pianist
Jim Witter has been entertaining crowds for over 30 years. Whether it be his original music, the music of Billy Joel and Elton John, or any of the other many artists he pays tribute to, Jim’s versatility as an artist has allowed him the opportunity to reach out and share his music and his infectious personality with audiences of all ages across Canada, the United States, the U.K, Dubai, and the Netherlands. His unique approach and comfortable rapport makes each member of his audience feel as though they are a part of a private concert in the comfort of their own living room. This, along with his rich, powerful voice and ease of manner at the piano, make him a favourite with theatre goers everywhere.
It all started at a very early age, as Jim began performing in the comfort of his own living room. His Mother would play piano, and Jim would belt out the hits…everything from The Beatles to Broadway musicals. Not bad for a four year old! All through his school years, Jim knew that he was destined to have a career in the music business. “I never really thought of doing anything else”, he says, “and neither did my parents because they always encouraged me to follow my dream”. And follow it he did. Jim honed his craft, playing in the clubs and bars around his home in Southern Ontario for years. He would write songs and record demos during the day, and play in the clubs at night to pay the bills. Jim met his wife Rebecca in 1985. Together, they worked tirelessly to promote Jim’s talent and music in hopes that one day their efforts would be recognized. Finally in 1990, one of Jim’s demos came to the attention of a Sony Music Canada executive, which really got his recording career rolling. A record deal with a smaller independent label in Canada, soon gave way to a multi-record deal with Curb Records of Nashville, home of Tim McGraw, Leanne Rimes and Wynonna Judd. From his first self titled record, to “All My Life” and “Forgiveness”, Jim has had 10 top ten radio hits in Canada, 7 hit videos on CMT,and impressive chart action in the U.S. on Billboard and R&R.
Jim’s music and songwriting have been recognized on both sides of the border, earning him multiple awards and nominations from the Canadian Country Music Association, the Juno Awards, and the Dove Awards in Nashville, where Jim’s album “Forgiveness” was nominated for Inspirational Album of the year. “Songwriting has always been a real love of mine”, says Jim. “I feel very fortunate to have been able to work with so many incredible song-writers over the past years, like Steve Wariner for instance. Not only have the collaborations produced songs that I am very proud of, but I have gained an invaluable education and created lifelong friendships along the way.”
In 2001, Jim came up with the concept for the show “The Piano Men”; a musical journey through the 70’s featuring the songs of Billy Joel and Elton John. This multi-media rock musical has turned out to be a hit, receiving rave reviews from music critics all across North America. The show has even travelled overseas to Dubai, England, Scotland and the Netherlands. “Through the years, audience members have suggested other artists that they would like me to cover and I’ve listened. I now have tribute shows to The Beatles, Simon and Garfunkel and other great singer/songwriters from the 60’s and 70’s. I’m also really excited about my latest project which is a journey through the songbook of Barry Manilow.”
Jim still lives in Southern Ontario with his wife, Rebecca, and their four children, all of whom have shown an interest in the “family business”. “My oldest son, James, spends all of his spare time in his bedroom/ home studio writing and recording his own material. My daughter, Roslyn, has the voice of an angel and even got to sing a duet with Keith Urban in front of 20,000 people. I often hear Ryan in his bedroom banging on the guitar and learning new songs and my youngest, Luke, plays drums and is probably the biggest Beatles fan you’ll ever meet!”. Many fathers might try to deter their children from the life of a musician, but Witter and his wife are firm believers in the “do what you love” adage. “Rebecca and I continually encourage our children to do what is in their hearts”, he says. “We tell them…do what you love and give it everything you’ve got, and you’ll never work a day in your life!”. At 55 years of age, Witter feels blessed to still be doing what he truly loves to do.