For Howard Pence, a Lexington area music teacher, the dream began in 1947 with 14 local high school string players. Pence was hoping to provide quality learning and performance opportunities for talented young musicians and, in turn, to bring cultural enrichment to audiences throughout the state and country. With the help of Thornton Scott, Chester Travelstead and eleven other dedicated citizens, Howard Pence realized his dream as his 14 string players grew to 49 players and a full Youth Symphony Orchestra in 1949. By following his dream, Pence created one of the oldest, independently chartered youth orchestras in the United States.
With each passing decade this dream has continued to flourish and grow, as the Youth Music Society of Central Kentucky became the Central Kentucky Youth Orchestras, today consisting of over 400 young people participating in six orchestras and 2 community programs. For CKYO, the many young musicians who have been its members and the community who has steadfastly supported it the last 70 years represent a journey of incredible experiences and spectacular achievements.
1953 Performance, American String Teachers Association conference, Cincinnati, Ohio
1958 Performance, Silver Anniversary conference, Violin and Cello Teachers’ Guild, Carnegie Hall