There’s a good chance that right now, while many of you are reading this, a group of local teenagers are in a plane looking down on parts of the country they’ve never before seen.

When they land in New York City, the Alexandria Youth Orchestra will quickly acclimate to the hustle and bustle, as they have some hustling to do themselves.

The group of 28 students are from schools across Rapides Parish and range from sixth grade to high school seniors. This trip is a first for many of them, and tonight they’ll be asked to put aside the excitement of New York and compete against orchestras from around the country. Tomorrow, they’ll perform on the U.S.S. Intrepid for New York City’s Fleet Week festivities.

“Going to New York is a big dream for me,” said Bolton High School sophomore Savanna Holmes. “That I get to play the violin while doing it is awesome. When I started (playing) in sixth grade, I never thought I would do something like this.”

The New York Orchestra Competition will be held at Kean University in Union City, N.J., which is just across the Hudson from Manhattan.

“It’s really nerve-wracking because we have to play in front of so many people,” said Victoria Griffin, a junior at Alexandria Senior High School.

The orchestra won’t be playing ho-hum competition music, either. Orchestra director John DeChiaro selected pieces that would push his students, and executed properly, wow the judges. They include Caccini’s “Ave Maria,” a piece called “Perseus” taken from Greek mythology, Peter Warlock’s “Capriol Suite” and the “Schindler’s List” theme song composed by John Williams.

“When I choose music, I choose something I know they can do,” DeChiaro said. “I ask myself, ‘Can they do this? Can they do this a year from now?’ They’re so dedicated and hardworking. I tell them good is the enemy of great. If it’s good enough, it can be better.”

Bolton High School junior Joseph Mansfield will play the violin solo for “Schindler’s List.” This trip for him is a precursor to an even bigger moment in life as a musician. Mansfield will travel back to New York next month to perform at Carnegie Hall as part of thehe American High School Honors Performance Series.

The Alexandria Youth Orchestra will return from New York on Tuesday.

Source : Alexandria Youth Orchestra to perform at NYC’s ‘Fleet Week” – Alexandria Town Talk