Community, Entertainment, Marquee

Bridging the Gap, string duo comprised of W.Va. natives, hosts concert benefiting veterans

A former Morgantown resident who has found success in “The President’s Own” United States Marine Band in Washington, D.C., will be in concert with his bandmate, a Marion County native, this week in Suncrest.

Bridging the Gap — the violin and double bass duo of Peter Wilson and Aaron Clay — will perform a fundraising concert at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Suncrest United Methodist Church.

The concert is free, but all donations collected during the concert will be given to the local veterans charity Operation Activet, which helps veterans, many of whom suffer from depression and PTSD, to get out and be more active through meaningful and fun gatherings.

Wilson, a son of C.B. and Mary Wilson, grew up in Morgantown while Clay grew up in Fairmont.

They first met when their careers coincided in “The President’s Own.” Together, Wilson and Clay have performed regularly at the White House for various events. They are off duty on a tour through their old hometowns, performing concerts and outreach programs in elementary schools.

Bridging the Gap is highly acclaimed and offers many musical styles by uniting the sounds of instruments from opposite ends of the string family while performing music of the classical tradition, jazz, big band, folk, film music, popular songs and even funk.

Wilson is a violinist and conductor whose musicianship was noted as “first-class” by The Washington Post. He is music director of the Richmond Philharmonic and Waynesboro Symphony orchestras and serves as string section commander for “The President’s Own,” performing as a violinist of the White House for nearly three decades. Highly respected throughout the National Capital Region, he is concertmaster of the American Festival Pops Orchestra and has guest conducted the National Symphony and National Gallery orchestras.

He has soloed in many venues, including the Presidential Retreat at Camp David and the Vatican before Pope John Paul II. Also, he is frequently invited to perform his violin solo arrangement of The Star-Spangled Banner for high-profile events such as Major League Baseball games.

Wilson made his Carnegie Hall debut in 2015 and has appeared as violin soloist with such legendary artists as Rosemary Clooney, Michael Feinstein, Renée Fleming, Bernadette Peters and Trisha Yearwood.

Clay taught himself to play jazz on the electric bass and later pursued classical training on the upright double bass. He is section leader and principal bassist with the Marine Band.

He is also principal bassist of the Fairfax Symphony Orchestra and the Alexandria Symphony Orchestra and has appeared with such legendary performers as Aretha Franklin and Joe Williams.