PANAMA CITY, Fla.(WMBB)–Local high school students got the chance to perform on stage Friday alongside professional musicians.

The Panama City Symphony Orchestra hosted a vocal master class for students at Rutherford High School on Friday. Professional musicians coached the students through their vocal challenges.

“It’s very inspiring to our children to be working with someone who knows what they’re doing and is a professional in the field,” choir and theater teacher Stephanie Skiba Rutherford said.

The professional singers introduced the students to the world of opera along with breathing exercises and the importance of telling a story through the vocal range of a song.

Panama City Symphony Orchestra Musical Director Sergey Bogza said it is important to connect students with live music compared to listening to music through earbuds.

“Just inspiring people with live music and seeing people’s eyes light up when they hear a beautiful soloist, a beautiful singer within feet away from them, and they hear this beautiful voice and say, oh, that is so wonderful,” Bogza said. “Also, having it be up close, so much music happens for many young people by way of their phone or television screen.”

Some of Rutherford’s students joined the musicians on stage to work on various songs and techniques. Senior Thaddeus Spurlock said the master class really pushed him to open up.

“I could never have it at the moment, but then when it took me like a lot of courage and a lot of thinking of how long I’ve been at the school lately, so it’s got me like quite a lot too, like, get enough and correct me,” Spurlock said. “When I think about this, I think it’s pretty exciting for me too, like, razzle-dazzle and show everybody what I truly got.”

Students said one of the most important take away from the class is to keep practicing and not to give up.

The Panama City Symphony Orchestra now has an outreach program for students to help guide and teach students about music.