Twenty-six bands, orchestras, and choirs will perform at the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District’s 62nd annual Stairway of the Stars concert, beginning at 7 p.m. Thursday and Friday, April 7 and 8 at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium, 1855 Main St.

This event remains one of the most popular annual events in both the cities of Santa Monica and Malibu, as it spotlights the talents of the district’s music students, teachers, and music curriculum, school officials said.

This year’s Stairway of the Stars concert will focus on the orchestra and the guest conductor, Pete Anthony, who has worked on over 300 feature films with some of Hollywood’s top composers, event organizers said.

The 2011 Stairway Honor Award will be shared this year by two women who have significantly supported the district’s music and arts programs, Zina Josephs and Jean Sedillos.

In 1997, Josephs and Sedillos were among the first appointees to the Visual and Performing Arts District Advisory Committee.

The committee meets monthly and prepares semi-annual reports to the Board of Education, with the goal that a comprehensive, sequential arts education program be part of the core curriculum for all district students.

This year, the ensembles that will perform at Stairway of the Stars are the All-District elementary honor orchestra, choir, and band; high school jazz ensemble; and the middle and high school orchestras, choirs, and bands. Some of the musical selections will include: “Hark, I Hear the Harps Eternal” (choral), “Folk Dances” (band), selections from movie scores, including “Signs,” “Airbender,” and “Darfur” (orchestra), and “Chameleon” (jazz band).

Tickets are $14 each. Ticket sales to the general public can be purchased the night of each performance at the ticket window on a first-come-first-serve basis starting at 5:30 p.m. The concert will begin at 7 p.m., and the doors will open at 6 p.m.