Carnegie Hall | Musikverein Vienna | Royal Festival Hall at Southbank Centre | Sydney Opera House


Frequently Asked Questions

Below are some of the most frequently asked questions about the program and application process. Do not hesitate to call or email our team with additional questions.

What is the High School Honors Performance Series?

The High School Honors Performance Series at Sydney Opera House was established to showcase some of the most talented student performers in high school today. Through an individual nomination and selection process, accomplished students are brought together in Sydney, Australia, with international peers to comprise the Honors Choir and Honors Orchestra.

Who are the conductors?

Our 2018 Honors Conductors will be announced in Fall 2017. The Conductors for the 2017 High School Honors Performance at Sydney Opear House are:

  • Dr. Jeffery Ames, Honors Choir
  • Jason Seber, Honors Orchestra

All of our conductors have received international acclaim for their work and have extensive experience in working with talented students, making them the perfect choices to lead our Honors Ensembles. Click here to learn more about all of our distinguished Honors Conductors.

What do Finalists do in Sydney?


The program was developed to challenge students to perform at their very best as they play on one of the world’s renowned stages. Though much of the students’ time is therefore focused on performance preparation, the week also allows students to experience the best of the sights of Sydney and the surrounding area.

Planned highlights of the 6-day program include (tentative and subject to change):

  • Perform as part of the Honors Choir or Honors String Orchestra in the Honors Performance at Sydney Opera House under the direction of renowned conductors.
  • Work with master conductors and build your performing resume.
  • Rehearse and interact with other Finalists from across the world.
  • Celebrate your accomplishments on a Finalist Celebration Cruise on Sydney Harbour.
  • Experience the highlights of Sydney, including a day trip into the Blue Mountains to see some of Australia’s famed animal species, such as kangaroos, emus, and koalas.
When is the 2019 High School Honors Performance Series at Sydney Opera House?

The 2019 High School Series at Sydney Opera House will take place July 31-August 5, 2019.  The Honors Performance at Sydney Opera House is Sunday, August 4.

What ensembles will perform at the 2018 High School Honors Performances at Carnegie Hall?

The Sydney Opera House performance will feature the Honors Choir (mixed choir) and Honors Instrumental Ensemble (format TBD; all orchestral instruments invited to apply).

What is the connection between the Honors Performance Series and WorldStrides?

The Honors Performance Series is coordinated by WorldStrides OnStage (formerly WorldStrides Heritage Performance). For more than three decades, WorldStrides has strived to promote excellence among choirs, bands, and orchestras by providing outstanding educational and performance opportunities for accomplished student performers across the world. They are proud to support the Honors Performance Series as yet another unique educational and performance opportunity for talented instrumentalists and singers.

How are Finalists selected?


  • Music directors from across the world recognize and nominate their talented high school musicians.
  • Nominated students and self-nominating students are invited to apply individually for selection.
  • Applicants submit a complete application and audition recording. Self-nominating students must submit an additional teacher recommendation.
  • All applications are reviewed by the Series expert Board of music professionals for final selection. Applicants are first accepted into the program and are then assigned to an ensemble upon instrumentation and balance requirements (the Series cannot guarantee that, if accepted, applicants will be placed into a specific ensemble).
  • Each applicant receives a notification email to the address(es) listed on their application at the end of October. This email will specifies the student’s application results: Finalist (selected to perform), First Runner-up (waitlisted), or Deferred (not accepted and not waitlisted).
What are the application requirements?


The High School Honors Performance Series application requirements are as follows. Please see the application page for additional details.

  • Complete Application Form
  • Teacher Nomination or Recommendation
  • Complete Performing Biography form
  • Three- to five-minute audition recording
  • Application deposit (the full deposit amount, minus a $10 application fee is refunded if not selected; once a participant is accepted, his or her deposit becomes non-refundable)

Applications are not considered until all required pieces are received. If an applicant fails to submit required portions, their deposit is not refunded.

What are the requirements of the audition recording?

Each applicant must electronically submit an audio-only MP3 or M4A audition recording. Please visit the application page for additional information.

May I apply for multiple ensembles?

Applications are automatically considered equally for all applicable ensembles, so if you wish to apply on only one instrument or voice part, you need submit only one application and audition recording to be considered for all applicable ensembles. Accepted applicants will be placed into an ensemble by the Series Selection Board based on balance and instrumentation requirements; students may not request a specific ensemble.

Additionally, you may audition on more than one instrument, and you may also audition as both an instrumentalist and a vocalist. In both cases, you only need to submit one application form, deposit, nomination/recommendation, and Performing Biography, but you will need to submit multiple audition recordings.

Can family participate?

Parents, family members, and friends are welcome to join their Finalist by purchasing one of our Family Program packages or by purchasing individual tickets to the performance. This is a wonderful experience to share with family and friends.

Information on package options will be provided to Finalists once accepted and posted on this website. Additionally, information on how to purchase tickets to the performance will be provided to Finalists. Other than individual tickets to the Sydney Opera House performance, all hotels, activities, touring and events are available only as a part of a package (cannot be purchased individually).

How do you ensure performer safety?
The safety and security of our student performers is our highest priority. Though all Finalists will be provided options to have family participate in a Family Program package, we recognize that many students may be traveling to New York alone. We’re proud to say that the Honors Performance Series is produced and supported by organizations with nearly 50 years of experience providing student-focused event and travel logistics. Every program element is designed so that music professionals, parents, and performers can rest easy and students can focus on their main reason for being in New York – performing at their very best in Carnegie Hall. Program elements include:

  • Airport shuttles and staff to greet and send off students from assigned airport
  • All transportation during the program
  • Chaperones to supervise performers outside of rehearsals and during activities (see below for additional information about our Chaperone selection process)
  • Program staff experienced and trained in working with high school students
  • Accommodations in student-friendly hotels (safe areas, interior corridors, etc.)
  • Doctors on Call arrangement for medical support while on the program
  • 24-hour staffed emergency office in New York City to handle the unexpected
  • Extensive participant insurance while on the program

Through these many measures, the Series ensures that the program is a safe and positive experience for all involved.

How are students supervised while in Sydney?

In order to provide a safe and structured experience, all Finalists are assigned a program Chaperone. The Series invites music teachers, most of whom have nominated students for the program and all of whom have demonstrated expertise working with high school musicians, to apply for selection as program Chaperones. All Chaperone applicants undergo a background check prior to selection and are trained on the Series safety policies and procedures. Prior to the program, Finalists and their families will receive a biography of their Chaperone and will have the opportunity to communicate with them before arriving in Sydney.

What is included in the program cost?


The Honors Performance Series provides a hassle-free experience so that selected student performers can focus on their main reason for being in Australia – performing at their very best at Sydney Opera House. The Series includes for all Finalists (tentative):

  • All rehearsals, including equipment and sheet music
  • All production and services for the Sydney Opera House performance
  • All shown activities, including sightseeing, celebration, and other activities
  • All ground transportation during the program, including transfers between the assigned airport and hotel (flights to and from Australia are the responsibility of the participants; additional information about the option to participate in a group flight will be distributed to Finalists after acceptance)
  • Exposure to and learning from world-class conductors for the program duration
  • Student chaperones, city touring guides, and program staff
  • Five nights’ lodging in a centrally located, student-friendly hotel with staff onsite to ensure a good stay
  • A 24-hour staffed emergency office to handle any unexpected circumstances
  • Around-the-clock access to one of our George Washington Hospital doctors on call for US-based medical support during the program
  • Extensive traveler insurance while on the program

Transportation to and from Sydney and meals are NOT included in the program; additional information about the option to participate in a group flight will be distributed to Finalists after acceptance. A set payment plan and need-based scholarships are available.


Is transportation included in the program?

All ground transportation, including shuttling between the designated airport and hotels once in Sydney, is included (for registered participants of the program only). Transportation to and from Sydney is the responsibility of each participant. Because this is a selective program, we encourage you to refrain from booking airline tickets or other travel arrangements until you have received both your acceptance and the specified arrival/departure times and locations.

Will someone meet me at the airport?

Finalists and Family Package participants are given a window of time at a specific airport during which included transportation to and from the hotel will be provided. Participants should book their flight arrival and departure times to coincide with these periods in order to meet up with program representatives at the airport and take advantage of this included service. Participants arriving or departing outside of these windows will be responsible for arranging their own transportation to or from the assigned hotel.

What if I am arriving into a different airport, or by train or car?

Participants arriving into a different airport than the one assigned, or arriving outside of the designated arrival window should proceed directly to the official program hotel for registration (details will be provided to finalists following their selection).

Are meals included?

No, selected Finalists are responsible for purchasing their own meals during the program. At meal times, students are escorted by their Chaperones in small groups to nearby restaurants. The Series team advises Chaperones as to meal options that are suitable and affordable. We generally suggest Finalists plan to spend $30-50 per day on meals.

Are scholarships available?

The High School Honors Performance Series is dedicated to bringing together talented student performers around the world. Need-based partial scholarships are available to ensure that performers from all economic backgrounds are able to experience this unique performance honor. Please call +1 (800) 503-0807 for more information.

Where do participants stay?

For safety reasons, we do not share the name of our Honors hotel(s) except to accepted Finalists and the Responsible Parties listed on their accounts. Each hotel has been chosen for its cleanliness, hospitality, and safe location.

Do I get to choose my roommates?

Finalists are placed four-to-a-room with double beds in each room. In general, roommate selection is randomly assigned by gender. Meeting new people and making new friends is a key element of the Honors Performance Series, and roommates enhance the entire experience.

If a Finalist is traveling with a family member who has purchased the 6-Day Family Program package, they may request to room together. Occupancy other than four-to-a-room requires a room surcharge. Please contact us if you would like more information about this option.

How can I reach a Finalist in case of emergency?


During the program, families may call our emergency office (this number will be shared with Finalists and their families before the program). We have staff on-call 24 hours a day who will be able to put you in touch with your child in case of an emergency. Please also note that all Finalists wear a wristband indicating a toll-free number to our support staff in case of an emergency.

With further questions, please contact the Honors Performance Series at +1 (800) 503-0807.


Is there a code of conduct for Finalists?

To ensure a positive experience for all Finalists, participants are required to sign a behavior contract before participating in the Honors Performance Series. Finalists who do not follow these guidelines can be removed from the program and will be sent home at the family's expense.

Do you offer travel insurance?

Yes, t
he Program & Travel Protection Plan is an optional policy designed exclusively for Finalists and Family Program participants. This policy is offered to protect the investment of Finalists and their families. Complete details about the policy will be shared to selected Finalists with their acceptance materials.

Who do we make checks payable to?

Please make checks payable to the Honors Performance Series. For faster processing, checks should be mailed to the Honors Performance Series at P.O. Box 6276, Charlottesville, VA 22906-6275. Once received, checks sent to our New York address may take an additional 1-2 weeks to process.

How can I ask people to donate to my program fees?

Requesting donations is easy with our Gift of Performance e-cards. Those closest to you will enjoy their special e-greeting and the opportunity to be a part of your unforgettable experience!
Click here to send e-cards to all of your family and friends! Many Finalists have accumulated donations in excess of $1,500 through this fundraiser alone!

This experience was by far the best music experience I have ever been on. It was fun and exciting, and I got to meet so many great people and musicians. I made memories I will never forget on this trip and would highly recommend anyone to participate in this group because it was a truly exceptional experience.


Honors Performance Series

1359 Broadway, Suite 1504,
New York, NY 10018

The Honors Performance Series is proudly presented and operated by WorldStrides.

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