Famous notes written by the composer Giuseppe Verdi will fill Hilbert Circle Theatre.

Glazunov’s “The Seasons” will be played melodically through the Indianapolis venue. And concert attendees will be able to enjoy “Pictures at an Exhibition” at the professional orchestra venue in March.

About half of the musicians playing the music will be high school students. Four are students who attend a high school in the county.

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Hilbert Circle Theatre in Indianapolis is traditionally reserved for the professionals of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra.

For 24 years the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra has rehearsed with and performed with hand-picked high school students in its annual “Side by Side” concert.

Four students from Franklin Community and Center Grove high schools were some of the 59 students chosen for the experience out of the 144 that auditioned.

Organizers at the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra have conducted the concert in an effort to teach talented, local high school students how a professional orchestra works and to give them a peek into becoming a professional musician, said Perry Accetturo, education program coordinator.

“It’s an opportunity unlike anything else for a student serious in playing music,” she said. “It is an experience that can’t be recreated.”

During eight rehearsals from January through March, students will work on the music they will play during the performance.

They will work alongside professionals in later rehearsals, including a full-day rehearsal the day before the show.

The second rehearsals start, students are expected to be ready to go and on task, said T.J. Vculek, a junior at Franklin Community High School.

Students who auditioned to be a part of the ensemble all love music and some are considering studying their craft in college to make it a career. The atmosphere at the theater is more focused and driven than in a typical high school, he said.

“When we were in the hall where professionals sit, we weren’t going to mess around,” he said.

Professionals work to put on shows at the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra year-round. The Side by Side concert is one of the only chances students get to play at the theater.

The atmosphere at the theater is professional enough to make students realize that this is a big deal, Center Grove junior Kevin Foley said.

“I didn’t know the level of perfection they wanted us to pursue, he said. “I felt like I had to practice to be good enough.”

Each high school student will receive help from professionals who play at the orchestra in mastering the pieces. Some also received help before their taped auditions, Accetturo said.

Students also are left to practice on their own and must outside of the eight rehearsals and mandated practice times at the theater, Center Grove sophomore Mia Nunokawa said.

She expects to practice at least 15 minutes daily on the music for the concert. Most days she hopes to play the songs for 30 minutes, she said.

“I hope I will be able to develop my skills,” she said.

The program began 24 years ago, and more and more high schools were added until the program became a statewide effort, said Accetturo.

“It just kind of grew and was successful,” she said. “It gives them an opportunity to see what life is like as a musician.”

At just the first rehearsal, students got an idea of what was expected, they said.

In some high school programs, some students don’t necessarily have to practice, Foley said.

Musicians they are working with at the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra will catch every little mistake students make, Center Grove sophomore Brynn Kelsey said.

The experience will be worth it, she said.

“There is so much you can learn from someone who has been in the business for so long,” Kelsey said.

If you go

What: Side by Side concert at the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra

When: 7 p.m. March 16

Where: Hilbert Circle Theatre, 45 Monument Circle, Indianapolis

Cost: Tickets are $10 and can be purchased at the ISO website at www.indianapolissymphony.org

What is it? The annual Side by Side concert allows local high school students to play alongside professionals at the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra.

Local students participating: T.J. Vculek, Franklin Community High School; Mia Nunokawa, Kevin Foley and Brynn Kelsey, of Center Grove High School.

Author photo
Magen Kritsch is an editorial assistant at the Daily Journal. She can be reached at mkritsch@dailyjournal.net or 317-736-2770.