The Upper Arlington High School Chamber Orchestra was one of a handful of orchestras selected to perform at the 2009 Ohio Music Education Association Professional Conference.

The Upper Arlington High School Chamber Orchestra was one of a handful of orchestras selected to perform at the 2009 Ohio Music Education Association Professional Conference.

The conference, held Jan. 17 at the Hyatt Regency in downtown Columbus, brought together music educators from all over the state. Groups selected to perform were chosen from audition tapes submitted in June 2008.

"The people who listen to the audition tapes have no idea who's playing. They base it solely on the performance," said John Deliman, director of the orchestra. "They chose seven orchestras to participate."

While it is not a competition, the OMEA conference showcases the best symphonic talent in high schools, colleges and community youth orchestras around the state.

"It's a nice honor to be selected by that group. They're all music educators, so the folks are critical ears," Deliman said. "It's nice for the students to be showcased in front of people who are very professional."

The 19 students who performed at the OMEA conference rehearsed diligently in preparation.

"They got a lot of really positive feedback from the people" who attended the conference, Deliman said.

Many adult musicians would have been intimated by the prospect of performing in front of music educators from around the state, but the UAHS students approached the event as just another gig.

"You pretty much just go to the conference after doing a lot practicing," said senior Suchita Sampath. "It's like a regular concert."

"It's not intimidating, but some of that had to do with the fact that we (performed) really early in the morning," added Leigh Anne Diener, also a senior. "You can't comprehend fear that early in the morning."

Another senior, Austin Glasser, said the significance of performing at the OMEA conference wasn't lost on him.

"It was pretty exciting," he said. "It was pretty impressive to see all the people coming and all the different groups that were performing there."

Ben Freidenberg said he also understood the importance of the conference.

"When we were there, some collegiate orchestras were there as well, so this is a pretty big deal, I think," said Freidenberg, who is also a senior. "It's a pretty big honor."

In addition to the 19 students who performed as a group, seven orchestra members were chosen to perform in the Ohio All-State Orchestra during the OMEA conference.

The seven students chosen by competitive audition were violinists Jean Choi, Steven DeNiro and Seyoung Moon; violinists David Shen and Jill Valentine; cellist Hannah Dorfman; and string bassist Kohei Yamaguchi.

The UAHS Chamber Orchestra was previously selected to perform at the 2002 OMEA conference. In 2005, the orchestra was also chosen to perform at the prestigious Midwest International Band and Orchestra Clinic in Chicago.

cbournea@thisweeknews.com