9-year-old Carter Co. fiddler scheduled to perform on ‘Leno’ Thursday night

John Thompson • Aug 7, 2013 at 7:24 AM

ELIZABETHTON — He may only be 9 years old, but local talent Fiddlin’ Carson Peters is getting noticed. On Thursday night, he will perform on the “Tonight Show with Jay Leno.”

Peters’ grandfather, Norman Peters, said Carson will be one of three acts from around the country that will compete in a talent contest to be judged by Betty White.

“The producer called my son, Jamie, on Friday afternoon and they got the whole thing lined up. He found out about Carson through the Internet,” Norman said.

It will be a hectic week for Carson. He performed at the world famous Old Fiddlers’ Convention in Galax, Va., on Monday. On Wednesday, he and his parents will catch a plane to California for the Leno Show on Thursday.

Norman, who is also well known as the host of the nearly 200-year-old Peters Hollow Egg fight, predicted his grandson will take it all in stride. “He never gets excited, he is so cool. He never talks about his talent, but when he gets ready to play he is really serious. It is all so natural to him.”

But Carson’s father said the Leno gig has gotten Carson excited.

“This is his first trip to California and it is the first time he has flown in an airplane,” Jamie said. Another reason for Carson’s excitement is that Robin Williams will be on the show. While Carson may not be aware of all of Williams’ movie hits, “RV” just happens to be one of his favorite movies, especially since his family loves to camp.

Jamie said Carson has been playing since he was 2. He first taught himself “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star” on the ukulele. His family bought him a 1/8-size fiddle while on vacation in Amish Country in 2006 and the rest is history. His first teacher was Sarah Fletcher Collins at Morrell Music in Johnson City and he is now taught by Keith Williams of Greeneville.

“It is just a great opportunity for him,” Jamie said. “The Good Lord is just opening doors for him.”

Carson will be a fourth-grader at Providence Academy this year.

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