Student musicians at the Fort Hayes Metropolitan Education Center will test their chops in front of a live audience Monday, April 23, at Schmidt's Restaurant und Sausage Haus, 240 E. Kossuth St.

Student musicians at the Fort Hayes Metropolitan Education Center will test their chops in front of a live audience Monday, April 23, at Schmidt's Restaurant und Sausage Haus, 240 E. Kossuth St.

Schmidt's will hold a fundraiser from 5 to 7 p.m. for the Columbus students, who are going to New Orleans as part of a program designed to celebrate young jazz musicians in both cities.

Performing students and their schools are: Paul Strawser, piano, Columbus Alternative; Gus Oberdick, guitar, Columbus Alternative; Kai Turner, drums, Walnut Ridge; Tatum Flemister, drums, Fort Hayes; and Max Kilcup, bass, Fort Hayes.

Donations aren't required but those who give $10 or more will get $3 off the price of Schmidt's buffet, which normally is $14.

The students, who will leave for the trip April 30, will provide the rhythm section and combine with five horn players from Lusher Charter High School in New Orleans.

Together, they will perform during the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, at Lusher and in the French Quarter. Lusher also has been invited to perform at the Columbus Jazz and Rib Festival in July.

Fort Hayes principal Milton Ruffin and teacher Jeff McCargish and Lusher's Kent Jordan will perform with the students.

"They're coming along really well," Ruffin said. "They're very excited."

German Village resident Aaron Leventhal said he helped organize the fundraiser. He said his foundation, the Leventhal Foundation, is helping underwrite the trip.

Geoff Schmidt, owner of Schmidt's, said the April 23 event should be a good time for all involved.

"The idea of having some kind of entertainment is always nice for people coming into the restaurant," he said. "And it gives the kids a chance to practice in front of a live audience."