Students in Westerville Central High School's Warhawk Marching Band will have a chance to fall in love with New York City beginning on Valentine's Day.

Fifty-Five Central band students will travel to the Big Apple on Thursday, Feb. 14, with director Doug Hildreth and other chaperones for three days of sightseeing and a performance at St. Paul the Apostle, 405 W. 59th St., at Columbus Circle, before returning home Monday, Feb. 18.

"My hopes for students going on the trip is that they will get unique experiences in one of the biggest cities in the world," Hildreth said. "This will hopefully expand both their personal and performance experiences and bring them closer as a band and better citizens of the world."

The group will perform at Church of St. Paul the Apostle and take part in a clinic with a member of the New York Philharmonic, he said.

Sophomore Abbie Leggett, who plays the French horn, said she's most excited to go on a cruise around the Statue of Liberty or to see "King Kong" on Broadway.

"I've never been to New York before, but I've been to 35 other states; so part of the reason I'm excited is that I can cross another state off my list," she said.

Senior Parken Brown, who plays bassoon, is most excited for the group's performance at St. Paul the Apostle on Friday, Feb. 15.

"It's one of the rare times that as a group we get to show off in front of a big crowd of people made up of more than just our parents," Brown said. "I have been to New York City several times before and each time, like any person my age, I get excited about the pizza."

Also Feb. 15, the students will have a chance to enjoy a concert by the New York Philharmonic in David Geffen Hall at Lincoln Center.

Zubin Mehta will lead the Philharmonic in Schubert's "Great Symphony."

On Saturday, Feb. 17, Central students will take part in a clinic with a staff conductor of the New York Philharmonic, who will lead a rehearsal of the school's ensemble.

The clinician will work on specific areas of technique and interpretation, determined in consultation with Hildreth.

While in New York, the students also will visit the National Sept. 11 Memorial and Museum; the city's Little Italy and Chinatown areas; the Top of the Rock, a six-level observatory atop the Art Deco skyscraper 30 Rockefeller Plaza that offers 360 degree views of the New York City skyline; St. Patrick's Cathedral; and Radio City Music Hall, where they will take a backstage tour at Rockefeller Center.

"We are really excited for the opportunity to perform and see New York City," Hildreth said.