news-category: Performing Arts

GWU Orchestra Concert Features Premiere of Composition Written by Junior Caleb Etchison

a photo of the GWU orchestra on stage

Program Also Includes Crest High School Chamber Orchestra and Features Solos by Two Students and Professor

The fall concert by the Gardner-Webb University Orchestra will feature the premiere of a composition written by junior Caleb Etchison and solos by two students and a professor. Joined by the Crest High School Chamber Orchestra, the performance will be on Monday, Nov. 22, at 8 p.m. in Dover Theatre.

Professor of Music Dr. Patricia C. Sparti is the music director and orchestra conductor. Peter Strickland, a 1997 GWU alumnus, directs the Crest orchestra. He has been teaching in the Cleveland County School System since 1997 and began his career as the founding director of the Burns and Crest Middle School Orchestra programs. He continued with the Crest High Orchestra program in 1999, and founded the Electronic Music/Recording program in 2006.

Sparti was intentional in the selection of music and the order of its performance. “The first half of the program is personal introspection with the concerto performers, the composer, etc.,” she said. “The second half is a celebration—of body (Olympics and essential workers), mind (graduation), spirit (faith), and salvation through Christ.”

Etchison wrote “The Psalm of Taios” during the summer of 2021. A music composition major, he is from Gaston County, N.C., and plays piano with the orchestra, sings in the concert choir, and has performed in other concerts on solo piano. In his free time, Etchison likes to noodle around on the piano, compose music, and play video games. “The Psalm of Taios” was inspired by fantasy stories in which anything is possible, like wizards casting spells, maidens with magic hair, swords with mystical powers, and people riding dragons. Stories of good and evil, where a princess takes down a regime riding a wolf, where spirits aimlessly roam the earth, and heroes defeat darkness with the power of friendship.

Gardner-Webb Professor Tim Hudson will perform a trumpet solo, “Summon the Heroes,” by John Williams and arranged by Custer. Additional selections include “Finlandia, Op. 26” by Jean Sibelius, “Pomp and Circumstance March #1, Op. 39” by Edward Elgar, “Higher Ground” by J. Oatman Jr., Gabriel and arranged by Dan Goeller, and “Christmas Eve Sarajevo 12/24” by Paul O’Neill, Robert Kinkel, Trans-Siberian Orchestra and arranged by Bob Phillips.

Garrett Chitwood, ’22, a trumpet player from Hudson’s studio, will present “Trumpet Concerto in Bb Major” by Franz Joseph Haydn. Chitwood is a senior music education major, and an active performer and teacher in Cleveland and Rutherford counties. He has performed with the GWU Orchestra, Symphonic Band, Jazz Collective, as well as several chamber groups on campus including the Gardner-Webb Trumpet Ensemble and Brass Quintet. Chitwood is also a frequent performer in area churches. Outside of performance, Chitwood has been the instructor of trumpet at Pinnacle Classical Academy in Shelby, N.C. and is the current high-brass caption coordinator for the Chase High School Band in Forest City, N.C., as well as music instructor at Chase Middle School. He is a member of the Gardner-Webb Chapter of the International Trumpet Guild and is currently president of the Gardner-Webb Chapter of the National Association for Music Education. He currently resides in Bessemer City, N.C., and plans to teach middle school or high school band upon graduating.

Hannah Edwards, ’21, a horn player from the studio of Professor Bob Campbell, will perform “Horn Concerto #1, Op. 11” by Richard Strauss. She is a music performance major at Gardner-Webb, who joined her middle school’s band playing trumpet, but switched to the French horn and began taking lessons with Campbell later that year. She was a member of the Winston-Salem Youth Symphony for two years. She is the current horn player of the Gardner-Webb Broad River Brass Quintet and the Gardner-Webb brass choir, both led by Hudson. She is also the current principal horn player in both the University’s orchestra and symphonic band. She will graduate from Gardner-Webb in December and attend graduate school in the fall of 2022 for her master’s in music performance.

General admission is $10 at the door. The concert is free for all students, GWU and otherwise with ID, and free for GWU faculty and staff.

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 Gardner-Webb.edu.

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