About Us

The Black Oak Brass Quintet was formed in 2013 to give its members the opportunity to perform challenging repertoire in a variety of styles and settings. 

Stephen Collins

A native of Carthage, TN, Stephen Collins holds music degrees from Tennessee Technological University and the University of Kansas. He has performed with the St. Joseph Symphony, Kansas City Civic Orchestra, Southern Stars Symphonic Brass, Jericho Brass, Lawrence Chamber Orchestra, TTU Faculty Brass Quintet, Kansas Brass Quintet, Cookeville Drama Center, and the Knoxville Choral Society. He served as choir director at Heritage Baptist Church in Lawrence, KS and on the music faculty of Crown College in Powell, TN. Stephen currently resides with his wife and four children in Knoxville where he works in insurance sales.

Joel Tillman

Mr. Joel Tillman is currently Director of Bands at Cherokee Middle School in Roane County, TN. He has previously held positions in Chattanooga, Cleveland, and Knoxville, TN. Mr. Tillman holds degrees from Tennessee Technological University and the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. As an educator Mr. Tillman has been highly sought after as a clinician and conductor throughout the Southeast. As a freelance musician Mr. Tillman has performed with a wide variety of ensembles including the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra, Chattanooga Symphony Orchestra and Opera, Knoxville Symphony Orchestra, Jack Daniel’s Silver Cornet Band, Al Curtis Orchestra, The Streamliners, Oak Ridge Symphony Orchestra and the Southern Stars Symphonic Brass Band.

Sean Donovan

Sean Donovan has been a member of the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra since 2012. He also serves as fourth horn with the Symphony of the Mountains and is the Adjunct Professor of horn at East Tennessee State University in Johnson City. Sean has performed with the Nashville Symphony, Chattanooga Symphony, and Huntsville Symphony among others and can be heard on the “Me And The Machine” and “Theory 8” record labels. Sean has served as an adjunct faculty member at Middle Tennessee State University and as a member of the faculty at the Tennessee Governor’s School for the Arts.

A Tennessee native, Sean received degrees at Middle Tennessee State University and the University of Missouri-Kansas City. He was originally primarily active as a chamber musician, winning regional and state awards through the MTNA organization and was a national finalist in the Coleman Chamber Competition. He has been a concerto soloist in works of Mozart, Haydn, and James Stephenson, and his playing has been described by KCMetropolis as “revelatory…magical” and “charmingly demented even with a few botched notes.”

Jon Walton


Jon Walton studied trombone at the University of Tennessee with Don Hough. He is currently a freelance trombonist in the Knoxville area performing with groups including the Southern Stars Symphonic Brass, Tennessee Trombone Project, Black Oak Brass Quintet, and others.

Jacob See

Mr. Jacob See graduated from the University of Tennessee - Knoxville in 2014 where he received a M.M. in Tuba Performance. Jacob received his B.M. in Music Education and Tuba Performance from Carson-Newman College. As an active performer, Mr. See can be seen with the Southern Stars Symphonic Brass Band in Crossville, TN as Principal B-flat bass. Jacob's primary instructors include the late Dr. Kelly Thomas, Sande MacMorran, and Dr. Sean Greene. Currently, Mr. See is an active private tuba and euphonium instructor in the Knoxville region, while serving as Adjunct Instructor of Low Brass on the faculty at Carson-Newman University and Maryville College.