MORTON — Carnegie Hall.
That iconic 127-year-old concert venue in New York is where Morton High School sophomore Casey Hoffmire is scheduled to perform Monday night.
The violinist is part of an orchestra filled with students, selected through audition videos, set to accompany the Annie Moses Band in a 21-song show.
"I'm so excited. I never thought I'd have this opportunity. It's a blessing," Hoffmire said.
Morton orchestra director Dave Getz said Hoffmire is blessed with talent.
"It's safe to say Casey is the top high school-age violinist in the Peoria area," Getz said.
Hoffmire has been the concertmaster for Youth Music Illinois' Youth Symphony for two years. She's been the concertmaster for multiple orchestras, including her high school orchestra and at the University of Illinois' Youth Orchestra Festival this past summer.
The concertmaster is the second-most significant person in an orchestra, behind the conductor or director.
Hoffmire also teaches violin, plays occasionally at weddings and at her church, and is to participate next week in the Illinois Music Education Association's all-state festival at the Peoria Civic Center.
She's been playing the violin for 10 years, first taught by her mother, Jane Hoffmire, who has performed with the Peoria Symphony Orchestra and is a founding member of the River City String Quartet.
Casey Hoffmire now studies violin with Bradley University assistant professor Marcia Henry Liebenow, concertmaster of the Peoria Symphony Orchestra.
"At first, I didn't like to practice the violin," the 15-year-old said. "But now, I love it. I can't imagine loving it more. It's not a chore at all."
Getz also is scheduled to be part of the orchestra Monday night at Carnegie Hall. The 2008 Morton graduate plays the viola. His wife Lauren (Bauter) Getz, a 2010 Washington Community High School grad, is to be part of a 200-member choir.
"There were openings in the orchestra and choir, so we jumped at the opportunities," Dave Getz said.
The Annie Moses Band performed at sold-out shows in 2015 and 2016 in Morton High School's Bertha Frank Auditorium as part of the Morton Fine Arts Association's Fall/Winter Concert Series.
Hoffmire wasn't at those shows. But she was there when two members of the band gave a 90-minute workshop for Getz's orchestra students in 2016.
Last June, Getz received an email informing him about Monday's Annie Moses Band concert and asking if he had any exceptional students who could audition through a video for an accompanying orchestra. A video was needed ASAP.
Hoffmire was at a church camp in Michigan at the time, but back home her family had a recent video of her rehearsing for a recital. She was selected for the orchestra a few days after Getz received the original email.
Music for Monday's concert arrived in Morton in November. The orchestra will be accompanying the Annie Moses Band in 19 of the 21 songs on the set list.
"That was more songs than I expected," Hoffmire said. "I found some of the songs on YouTube, though, so that's helping."
Morton's entourage, including Hoffmire's parents, Darin and Jane, and older sister Jamie, left Friday for New York. They'll have a free Saturday to be tourists in the Big Apple and see a Broadway show.
Rehearsals for Monday's show are to be held Sunday at a hotel and Monday afternoon at Carnegie Hall before the show at 7 p.m. EST (ticket prices are $7.50 to $45).
The Nashville, Tenn.-based Annie Moses Band is made of up six family members who perform a blend of folk, roots and classical music.
Lead singer/violinist Annie Wolaver and her siblings Alex (viola) and Ben (cello) — all Juilliard School educated — launched the band, named for their great-grandmother, in 2001.
The band has recorded 12 albums and five live DVD's and performed in hundreds of venues throughout the U.S. It made its Carnegie Hall and Grand Ole Opry debuts in 2012.
Steve Stein can be reached at 686-3114 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @SpartanSteve.