The event will be held at the Savannah International Trade and Convention Center and will consist of music educators from across the state coming together to have clinics on methods of teaching and technology. Educators also will witness performances by different ensembles.
Eric Willoughby, band director for WHS, said this will be the first time for the band to perform at the GMEA conference.
He said only three middle and high schools as well as three colleges are selected each year to perform at the conference.
"Those nine schools were selected out of the nearly 60 who applied," Willoughby said.
The symphony's performance will last one hour and will consist of six pieces, with publication dates ranging from 1977 to 2011.
"We'll be performing a piece inspired by Indian and ethnic music to a piece about the Wright Brother's experimentation and ultimate success of their first flight," Willoughby said. "Most of the music is college-level, advanced music. It's the hardest program I've tried to teach high school students by far."
Students have to pay their own way for the GMEA event, but are able to offset much of the cost through fundraising headed by the band's booster club.
"About 90 percent of the band's funding comes from the booster club," Willoughby said, adding the program holds a "citrus sale" in November, which raised around $10,000.
"Our biggest fundraiser each year is the 'Rock-a-thon,'" Willoughby said, "and this year it helped raise $34,000 in sponsorships from local businesses in our community."
The Rock-a-thon is a business directory that lists local businesses who support the band and encourages those associated with WHS to patronize these businesses.
Another fundraiser is a semi-formal dinner-dance event held in March called "An Enchanted Evening."
Willoughby said the band partners with the Etowah Jazz Society to perform at the Trinity Life Center and his most mature students help serve a catered steak dinner.
"I think of this (event) as one of our best kept secrets because it is student- and performance-based," Willoughby said. "There is dinner and dancing, and it probably costs less than going to a nice steakhouse."
Willoughby said tickets are $25 a person or $40 a couple.
Since Willoughby became band director in 2008, he said he has seen the band grow from 145 members to 220 members this year.
The increase in the size of the band also led to the hiring of faculty member Wesley Brooks, who serves as assistant band director for WHS and South Central Middle School.
Willoughby said the impact of band goes beyond helping a student play a musical instrument.
"There's something for everybody and my philosophy is based on each kid achieving his best," Willoughby said.
Willoughby's philosophy has proven successful over the last three years, with 25 students participating in All-State band, nearly 30 students participating annually in the District 7 honor band, and students regularly taking part in festivals and other performance opportunities.
"I can get all excited about our accomplishments," Willoughby said, "but when it comes down to it and the kids walk in the door and feel they are home and have a peer group, it will help them to get through school."
Emma Haley is a WHS senior who plays saxophone and is a drum major for the band.
"I really love to play and I enjoy the social aspect of band as well," Haley said.
In April the band will perform at the annual Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington, D.C. The Daily Tribune News will provide information on this upcoming festival at a later date.