It provides a platform for students to showcase their musical talents on the grand stage.

That could shed some light as to why members of the Northern Lehigh High School Band are on cloud nine as they prepare to perform at their biggest production of the year.

That would be in the form of the 53rd annual Lehigh County Honors Band festival concert, scheduled to be held at 2 p.m. Saturday at Northwestern Lehigh High School. The Host director this year is Scott Brown, band director at Northwestern Lehigh High School.

Lehigh County Honors band is comprised of students from the 11 high schools in Lehigh County: Northern Lehigh, Southern Lehigh, Whitehall, Northwestern Lehigh, Catasauqua, Salisbury, Allentown Central Catholic, Emmaus, Parkland, Dieruff, and William Allen High School. The students are selected to represent their schools by the Lehigh County Band Directors Association in early-December.

Among the students chosen to represent Northern Lehigh are freshmen Jamie Miller, Abby Messinger, Zac Schlegel, and Marc Beleno; juniors Heather Heiney and Michael Miller; and seniors Logan Thomson and John Hudicka.

David Carroll, Northern Lehigh High School band director, said the selections for this year's concert are: The Star Spangled Banner, Son Montuno from 2nd Suite, Magnificent 7, Bandology, Critical Mass, American in Paris, Music from the Incredibles, Hymn for the Lost and Living, Liberty Bell, Schindler's List, and American Barn Dance.

All told, Carroll said the festival concert requires 20 hours of rehearsal by the students and band directors.

"I am pleased at the level of preparation all of the students have done to prepare for this year's concert," Carroll said. "I am, as always, very proud of my Northern Lehigh students."

Carroll said the purpose of the festival is to "promote music education in our schools, showcase the great musical talent that exist in Lehigh County, and to give our band students a unique and enriching instrumental experience which extends beyond the typical concert band settings that exist in most public schools."