Share this article

print logo


A memorial service for Donald L. Hilliard, a music teacher who touched many lives, will be held at 10 a.m. Nov. 24 in Humboldt Parkway Baptist Church, 790 Humboldt Parkway. Interment will be in Buffalo Cemetery, Cheektowaga.

Hilliard, 69, of Buffalo, died Oct. 12, 2001, in Kresge Residence of Hospice Buffalo, Cheektowaga, after a long illness.

Hilliard was born in Buffalo and educated in Buffalo schools, graduating from School 32 and Hutchinson-Central High School. He received a bachelor's degree from the University of Buffalo and a master's from New York University.

Hilliard displayed musical talent as a child and began piano lessons at about age 6. He remained passionate about music his entire life.

As a music teacher in Buffalo schools, he taught vocal, instrumental and band students. His East High School Choir performed several times with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra.

He later became supervisor of music in the Buffalo Public School, retiring in 1990.

In 1976, the Rev. E. Don Taylor, then rector of St. Philip's Episcopal Church, encouraged Hilliard to start a choir for boys and young men. Dozens auditioned, and Hilliard became executive and artistic director in 1978, when the endeavor was incorporated under the name of Buffalo & Arts Music. That same year, a girls division was started, called the Cecilians Girls Chorus.

The groups performed many concerts in the state and made television appearances. They performed with the Buffalo Philharmonic, as well as at the New York State School Music Educators Conference and the Music Educators National Conference. The Boys Choir was selected to represent the United States at the 10th annual International Youth and Music Festival in Austria in 1981.

Hilliard also was director of the Sounds of the City Choir and conducted the Slave Chorus in "Aida" in Shea's Performing Arts Center.

He was named the High School Teacher of the Year by the Buffalo High School Teachers Association in 1969 and was chosen as Educator of the Year by the Black Educators Association.

He served in the U.S. Army.

Hilliard's memberships included the Erie County Music Educators Association, Music Teachers National Association, New York State Council of Administrators of Music Educators, New York State Board of Directors Association, Buffalo Negro School Foundation, American Choral Directors Association, National Alliance of Black School Educators, National Black Music Caucus, National Association of Negro Musicians, International Association of Jazz Educators, U.S. Capitol Historical Society, Metropolitan Opera Guild, American Federation of School Administrators, American Museum of National History and UB Alumni Association.

Survivors include three nieces he adopted and raised as daughters, Deborah R. of North Hollywood, Calif., Rae-Myra of Chicago and Gila M. Jones of Nashville, Tenn.; two brothers, the Rev. John T. of Buffalo and the Rev. Clarence L. of Maywood, Ill.; and three sisters, Armatine Ogleton of Austin, Texas, and Yvonne G. and Hortense, both of Buffalo.

There are no comments - be the first to comment