GWU Presents Collaborative Concert with Narration by President Dr. William M. Downs

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Crest High School Chamber Orchestra Participates in 18th Annual Event

A photo of GWU President Dr. William M. Downs narrating for the performance the GWU and Crest orchestras presented at the N.C. Music Educators Conferencea
The GWU Orchestra and Crest Chamber Orchestra, with Dr. William M. Downs, narrator, performed at the N.C. Music Educators 2019 Professional Development Conference in Winston-Salem (N.C.)

BOILING SPRINGS, N.C.—The Gardner-Webb University/Cleveland County Orchestra will host a concert of great works on Nov. 25 at 8 p.m. in Dover Theatre. Joining the group for the 18th year is the Crest High School Chamber Orchestra, under the direction of Peter Strickland, a 1997 GWU alumnus.

Also featured during the program will be Gardner-Webb President Dr. William M. Downs, who will narrate for “A Lincoln Portrait” by Copland. The iconic piece was written by Copland in 1942 on a commission from the conductor Andre Kostelanetz. The country was still mourning after the Dec. 7, 1941, attack on Pearl Harbor, and the United States was gearing up for entry into World War II. Kostelanetz was looking for orchestral music that would celebrate the spirit of the American people. The piece includes excerpts from Abraham Lincoln’s speeches and writings.

The musicians will also perform “Pictures at an Exhibition” by Mussorgsky/Ravel and Vivaldi’s “Double Cello Concerto,” featuring Tanja Bechtler, GWU professor of cello, and MacKenzie Quattlebaum, a senior music major.

Conductor Dr. Patricia C. Sparti is proud of the group’s recent accomplishments. “The GWU Orchestra and Crest Chamber Orchestra, with Dr. Downs, narrator, have just returned from the great honor of performing at the N.C. Music Educators 2019 Professional Development Conference in Winston-Salem (N.C.),” noted Sparti, professor of music. “As the featured orchestra, they were commended for ‘excellence in performance,’ and selected by competitive audition.”

A reception will follow the concert, and a free-will offering will be received to award scholarships to the Mark O’Connor Method Workshops for strings to be held at Gardner-Webb on March 21, 2020.

Learn more about the Department of Music.

Auxiliary aids will be made available to persons with disabilities upon request 48 hours prior to the event. Please call 704.406.4264 or email with your request.

Located in the North Carolina foothills, Gardner-Webb University is a private, Christian, liberal arts university. Gardner-Webb emphasizes a strong student-centered experience and rigorous academics to prepare students to become effective leaders within the global community. Ignite your future at