It will be a very, late night for the members of the Scarsdale High School Youth Orchestra on Tuesday.
The Scarsdale musicians will be taking the stage at 11:00 p.m. on January 15 for a special concert at Scarsdale High School. The show, which is open to the public, is a benefit for the Afghan Youth Orchestra, whose members will be watching the performance live in Kabul via web stream.
The "students really are quite excited," Scarsdale High School Orchestra Director Amedee Williams said. "Doing things that are unusual is fun and the opportunity to work with Afghan students is very unusual."
Williams, who has been with SHS for the past six years, said he came up with the idea to help the Afghan students after reading a New York Times article in April 2012. The Afghan Youth Orchestra was looking for funds to come to the U.S., and he was inspired to contact the conductor, he said.
Although SHS could not provide donations, Williams offered the option of free housing while the Afghan students toured New York. Since April 2012, the AYO was able to raise enough funds to stay in a hotel, instead of 60 different houses throughout Scarsdale. However, the two schools decided to keep their partnership going.
Tuesday night's concert is the first time the two orchestra's will see each other via web stream.
Williams said the idea is to raise some additional funds on Tuesday in order to take the 50 AYO members and 10 chaperons ice skating in Yonkers. The group is set to arrive on February 8 in Scarsdale and will be taking part in several activities with the SHYO.
The whole experience will wrap up with a special performance from both the AYO and SHYO at Carnegie Hall on Tuesday, February 12.
A select few of the 100-student orchestra from Scarsdale High will join the 50-member, co-ed orchestra from Afghanistan for the Carnegie Hall show, he said.
The Afghan students are mostly high-school age, but the 13 girls in the orchestra are a bit younger in age, Williams said.
Some of the SHS students will be hosting the Afghan students at their homes for dinner, join them for sightseeing in New York City and join them for ice skating in Yonkers.
Williams said the entire partnership is "a great experience" for both the Afghan students and the SHS students.