Bay Port HS Orchestra Earns Special Honor - WBAY

Bay Port HS Orchestra Earns Special Honor

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Just a few short years ago, the orchestra program at Bay Port High school in Suamico almost didn't exist.

Now, it's gearing up for the opportunity of a lifetime.

Students will perform at the Chicago International Music Festival.

When Audrey Nowak directs Bay Port High School's orchestra one thing is clear -- her passion.

"I don't teach music to make music teachers. I'm happy when I do, but that's not my goal. My goal is to affect their life every day and let them feel emotions and make friendships," explains Nowak.

She was hired in 2010 to re-vamp an orchestra program that was almost scrapped because of dwindling interest and budget cuts.

"That would've been really horrible because we have all these memories and wonderful things we can do now. I know a few people who want to do this as their profession," says student Kayla Rockymore.

Now the program has triple the number of students -- about 290 district wide.

Nowak wanted to continue that momentum.

"I'm just going to send a tape in to a couple competitions. I didn't think anything of it. To me, we were still a few years away from being ready to do this," says Nowak.

She was shocked to learn Bay Port was one of just four high schools in the country chosen to participate in a workshop and perform at the Chicago International Music Festival next month at Symphony Hall.

"And I as a conductor, it's such an honor. We're excited," says Nowak.

"It's something I'll never forget. I'll be able to put it on my resume and say hey I played in Chicago, I played in Symphony Hall, it was one of the best experiences I've ever had," says student Victoria Peters.

The trip costs about $30,000.

Students will pay for half that and fundraisers will cover the rest.

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