news-category: Performing Arts

Students From Burns High School Join GWU Orchestra in Concert on April 25

The GWU Orchestra on stage during a concert

Performance Includes Solos by Carter Lewis, ’22, and Jarin Watkins, ’23, and a Tribute to John Williams

BOILING SPRINGS, N.C.—Gardner-Webb University College of Arts and Sciences presents the Gardner-Webb Orchestra and members of the Burns High School Chamber Orchestra in a free concert on Monday, April 25, at 8 p.m. in Dover Theatre. The program features soloists: Carter Lewis, ‘22, a bassoon player from the studio of Professor Amber Ferenz Spuller; and Jarin Watkins, ’23, cellist from the Studio of Dr. Karl Ronnevik.

Dr. Patricia Sparti is the music director and conductor of the GWU orchestra, and the music director at Burns is Billy Norton, a 2018 GWU alumnus. The concert begins with West Side Story Selection for Orchestra by Leonard Bernstein (1918-1990), arranged by Jack Mason and dedicated to lyricist Stephen Sondheim (1930-2021). Watkins will be featured in the Cello Concerto No. 1 in C Major by Franz Joseph Haydn (1732-1809), and Lewis will be highlighted in the Concerto for Bassoon and Orchestra in Bb, K. 191 by W.A. Mozart (1756-1791). The last presentation before the intermission is Danzas Cubanas by Robert Sheldon.

Carter Lewis
Carter Lewis

The second half of the program starts with highlights from Jurassic Park, a tribute to John Williams in honor of his 90th birthday. The musicians will also perform the Ukrainian National Anthem by Mykhailo Verbytsky (1815-1870), arranged by Keith Terrett. The final piece for the evening is Seventy-Six Trombones from The Music Man by Meredith Wilson (1902-1984), arranged by Leroy Anderson (1908-1975).

Lewis is a music composition major from Granite Falls, N.C., and has played the bassoon for eight years. He has earned scholarships for bassoon camps and played in auditioned bands and orchestras across the state, including All-County and All-District ensembles. He graduated from South Caldwell High School in 2019. He has played principal bassoon in the GWU Orchestra, GWU Symphonic Band, drums in the GWU Jazz Collective, Drumline in the GWU Marching Bulldogs, and sings in the GWU Concert Choir. He is currently working on his senior composition thesis, which will be premiered by the GWU Orchestra fall 2022.

Jarin Watkins
Jarin Watkins

Watkins is double majoring in music composition and cello performance. He is a recipient of a musical and academic scholarship at GWU. He is a graduate of Crest High School. He plays principal cello in the GWU Orchestra and began playing in the GWU Orchestra while he was a student at Crest. He won third place in the 2022 GWU Songwriting Contest. He is currently writing his senior composition thesis, which will be premiered by the GWU Choral Union and the GWU Orchestra in the spring of 2023. Watkins also sings with the GWU Concert Choir, plays cello with the Figaro Quartet, and has been free-lancing as a paid musician with the Sko’ Dawgs String Quartet. He also plays bass guitar in a rock band, and composes their music. Watkins played electric bass and cello in Gardner-Webb’s production of “You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown.”  He also plays electric bass in the GWU Marching Bulldogs and Jazz Collective.

Norton majored in music education, with a concentration in violin. While at GWU, he studied with Calin Lupanu and Monica Boboc, and was a music scholarship recipient. Norton also teaches string orchestra, music theory, and guitar at Burns High School. Additionally, he served as a clinician for the Cleveland County All-County Orchestra. While teaching at Burns, Norton has received straight superior ratings at contest, has brought both orchestras to the GWU Pre-Contest Festival every year, has participated in the GWU Mark O’Connor Workshops, and teacher training.  

Auxiliary aids will be made available to persons with disabilities upon request 10 working days prior to the event.  Please call 704-406-4270 or email [email protected] with your request.

Gardner-Webb University is North Carolina’s recognized leader in private, Christian higher education. A Carnegie-Classified Doctoral/Professional University, GWU is home to six professional schools, 14 academic departments, more than 80 undergraduate and graduate majors, and a world-class faculty. Located on a beautiful 225-acre campus in Boiling Springs, N.C., Gardner-Webb prepares graduates to impact their chosen professions, equips them with the skills to advance the frontiers of knowledge, and inspires them to make a positive and lasting difference in the lives of others. Ignite your future at

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