Noah Goulet's first exposure to music didn't go well.

"In third grade, when they gave all the kids recorders, it was brutal," said his mother, Nancy Goulet. "He did not like that at all."

Eight years later, the 17-year-old has changed his tune: He's writing musical compositions.

Goulet's "Welcome Sun" will be performed at 2 and 4:30 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 10, during the Central Ohio Symphony's two holiday concerts at Ohio Wesleyan University's Gray Chapel, 61 S. Sandusky St.

Tickets cost $26, $20 for senior citizens, $6 for students, $4 for children 6 and younger.

Although the orchestra hasn't previously performed a piece by a high school student, Executive Director Warren Hyer said he didn't hesitate when Jennifer Jolley approached him about such a performance. Jolley, an assistant professor of music at Ohio Wesleyan, has been giving composition lessons to Goulet.

"I said, 'Absolutely. Why would we not?' " Hyer said.

Goulet, too, expressed no concerns, despite the fact that this is the first time one of his pieces will be performed.

"I have confidence the piece is going to work," said the junior at Hayes High School. "I put enough thought into it."

When he was younger, Goulet was more focused on rock collecting, outer space and sports than music. Not only did he dislike the recorder experience, he also didn't sign up for band in the sixth grade -- the first year it was offered in Pleasant Local Schools in Marion, where his family lived at the time.

By the next year, though, he'd developed a new interest.

"I was really just listening to some good music at home: Mozart and Bach," Goulet said.

He started playing the clarinet in the school band in seventh grade and took piano lessons. Before long, he was listening to music differently.

"I would be thinking analytically," Goulet said. "I could hear the different parts, hear the form and thinking, 'What could happen if I could do that myself?' "

With the help of a computer program called Sibelius, he began composing pieces. He estimates he has completed dozens of works.

In 2015, Russell and Nancy Goulet and their two children -- daughter Jillian is a sophomore at Heidelberg College in Tiffin -- moved from Marion to Delaware.

About that time, Noah told his parents -- neither of whom have any instrumental background -- that he wanted someone to help him improve his composing skills.

The Goulets found Jolley.

"I think he's curious, which is always great," Jolley said. "He listens to a lot of music and he takes what I say seriously. He's a bright, talented kid."

Inspired by the winter solstice, Goulet began working on "Welcome Sun" about four months ago.

"I was thinking about humanity and how the earliest civilizations all had this idea of worshiping the sun," he said. "When they got to the solstice, they knew it was the shortest day and they had seen the worst of it -- and that, moving forward, they had hope."

The piece begins with "winter," a dark, somber sound of low strings. The full orchestra enters, although it remains dark at first.

About halfway through the four-minute, 15-second piece, the tone lightens, with English horn leading as the volume grows. Bright woodwinds, followed by brass, bring the music to a crescendo to set up the ending, in which the original themes return, only in a major key rather than minor.

As Goulet was polishing the piece, Jolley, a board member of the Central Ohio Symphony, approached Hyer about performing it.

Part of the symphony's mission, Hyer said, is to help area composers and to expose audiences to new music.

"I think this shows that young people in our community have remarkable skills," he said. "And to Delaware, having it be a piece by a local composer is very important. This community still has an identity of its own."

Goulet said he planned to attend rehearsal the day before the concert to listen and perhaps offer feedback. He said he won't be nervous the day of the performance.

"It's out of my hands at this point," he said. "They're a good orchestra. I believe they'll do very well on the piece."

For tickets or more information, call 740-362-1799 or visit www.centralohiosymphony.org.

kgordon@dispatch.com

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