Lunch with the Arts caps off season with Young at Heart band

Published 6:13 pm Friday, December 7, 2018


Contributing writer

The Community Arts Center is capping off a successful 2018 calendar year of Lunch with the Arts with music from The Young at Heart Big Band. This will be the Band’s fourth consecutive performance as the December featured artists.

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The band members’ average age is 80 years and counting, but that doesn’t prevent them from raising the roof when it comes to their music.

“We are so excited to have the Band back for the fourth time at Lunch With The Arts,” says Joan Stansbury, LWTA program coordinator. “We have had such a tremendous response over the years, we knew we had to invite them back. From the beginning, this has been one of our best attended programs — always a standing-room-only crowd. When they launch into a classic, the excitement is contagious. No one can resist tapping a toe or swaying with the beat.”

The band is made up of up to 20 musicians from Central Kentucky. Over the years, the band has built quite a following, giving more than 30 performances every year, which speaks to their popularity. They make music in a variety of venues, from veterans’ centers to charity fundraisers.

The Young At Heart Big Band enjoys bringing the experience of their brand of music to the young and not-so-young, alike. The band was formed as part of the Donovan Scholars program at the University of Kentucky in 1980, under the direction of Dr. Jessica Davidson.

According to the band’s website, the band left the Donovan Program in 1989 and reorganized as the Davidson Senior Music Group of Central Kentucky. Dr. Davidson (pianist and director) was a very dedicated lady who had a firm belief in the benefit that senior musicians could gain from participating in music programs. In 2001, the Jazz Band Group left the Davidson program and on Oct. 6, 2000, became the “Young at Heart Jazz Band.” 

So what is at the core of Big Band or Swing music? Irving Mills described it perfectly in 1943 when he wrote the following lyrics to a Duke Ellington 1931 musical composition: “It makes no diff’rence if it’s sweet or hot. Just give that rhythm ev’rything you got.”  Of course, those words are from the jazz standard, “It Don’t Mean A Thing, If It Ain’t Got That Swing!” and that is just what the Young At Heart Big Band exemplifies every time they take the stage. Anyone who has heard them play understands this band truly gives it everything it’s got when they take the stage.

“But the Band isn’t just about playing music,” reminds Stansbury. “The Band also has a philanthropic mission.  Band members are volunteers and no one receives pay. Contributions received by the Band are used to provide instruments to students in area schools and other music programs.  In addition to financial contributions, they accept used instruments, which can be re furbished and given a second life.”

The upcoming Lunch with the Arts calendar includes the following presenters:

Jan 16 – Dick Domek (Ragtime Piano); Feb  20 – Maurice Manning (Poetry); Mar 20 – Bruce Richardson (Japanese Tea Ceremony); Apr 17 – Danville Dulcimers; May 15 – Overtones (Barbershop Quartet); June 19 – Pioneer Playhouse.

Sponsors are also accepted for LWTA. Contact Niki Kinkead:

More info on the band can be found at


Lunch with the Arts, featuring The Young At Heart Big Band

Noon – 1 p.m. Wednesday, Dec 19 at CAC

$5 per person at the door


Winter classes for children and adults are open for registration. Visit  for full details.

• Starry Night Studios – Stockings by the Fireplace, 2-5 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 9; $35

This is a fun and flexible painting. You can easily personalize this painting with your family’s names and change the patterns to suit your preferences.

Mixed-Media Christmas Tree, 7-9 p.m. Dec. 19; $28

Inspired by the popularity of last year’s mixed-media nativity, this year we’re excited to offer a mixed-media Christmas tree class! We’ll up-cycle pages from old books into a three-dimensional work of art, building off of a 16″ x 20″ canvas.  Use our beads to create unique ornaments – or bring in discarded costume jewelry of your own!

• Night at the Museum, Dec. 7-8; $40

Open to 2nd through 6th graders, younger siblings in grades K-1 will be considered on a case-by-case basis. Grab your sleeping bag and get ready for a fun-filled holiday sleepover at the Community Arts Center!

• Tiny Trees Workshop, 4-5:30 p.m. Dec. 13; $20

For grades K-15. What could be more fun and festive than creating your own tiny Christmas tree? In this class, each student will personalize their own 18″ mini tree using paint, glitter, pom-poms, buttons, ribbon – and anything else we find in the classroom. These trees make great gifts!

Winter Break Art Camp: 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Dec. 20-21; $40/per day

Open to grades K-5.