For at least six years, students in the Hayes Players have been mastering their instrument of choice.
Delaware students begin playing instruments in fourth grade and continue on until high school. At Hayes, they can audition to be placed in one of three orchestras. As they continue to improve, they can audition again to be placed in a higher orchestra.
The highest is the Hayes Players, followed by the symphony orchestra and the concert orchestra; all together, 135 students participate in one of the three.
Since 1998, the Delaware Hayes High School orchestras have had a chance to go to New York City and perform at Carnegie Hall.
The trip is organized every four years, which means every student will get one chance during their high school career to participate in the concert.
The students will perform a 30-minute concert March 2.
Students will leave Feb. 28 and have a chance to see the sights before the concert. Activities will include a trip to the Statue of Liberty, the World Trade Center memorial and Central Park, as well as a Broadway show and a performance by Blue Man Group.
A total of 120 students are going on the trip, along with chaperones. Some families plan to drive or fly to New York to see their students at the concert.
On Nov. 18, Peter Stafford Wilson, assistant conductor for the Columbus Symphony, rehearsed with the Hayes Players and worked on a piece with them called Suite for Strings by John Rutter.
Stacy Lemke, orchestra director and music department chairwoman, said the visit was part of the symphony's education outreach program.
"They reached out to us and offered to send someone for free to work with one of our top groups," Lemke said. "The students really enjoyed this and it was a lot of fun."
Wilson worked with students on their phrasing and dynamics to help make the piece more musical, she said.
The orchestras also will participate in upcoming Ohio Music Education Association contests. Lemke said the difference between marching-band contests and orchestra contests is that the marching band competes against other schools and the orchestra is being judged by itself.
The students must perform a set as well as sight-read an unknown piece of music.
The judges also provide information for students on what can be improved. Lemke said the orchestras usually achieve one of the top two possible ratings: superior or excellent.
"The score we get is just for the orchestra to know if they have achieved the musical goals that the directors have set out for them," she said. "It's great for the students to see how well they performed."