ROCHESTER, N.Y. -- Hundreds of high school musicians from across the state gathered in Rochester this weekend to celebrate the New York State School Music Association 's Winter Conference. 

For many of the students performing this weekend, the experience is once in a lifetime. The opportunity to play at the Eastman Theatre was only given to the cream of the crop according to the NYSSMA president.

The musicians playing this weekend have had to endure a grueling selection process. It started off with 8,000 auditions, then 2,700 were recommended for the conference, and from there it was narrowed down to only 900 students.

Of those selected to play, many hope to go on and perform beyond graduation. 

"They have been working towards this, in most cases from 4th or 5th grade. They've been playing their instruments, they've been practicing. These kids play at a tremendously high level of accomplishment. Most of them if they wanted to go on to major in music would have no problems getting into many of the elite universities that have music majors," David Gaines, NYSSMA President. 

Rochester plans to continue the partnership with the organization for upcoming years.