Information and History of Young At Heart Big Band

Music from 1930-60s big bands! Performing throughout central Kentucky, based in Lexington area, to preserve and introduce new listeners to the joy and uniqueness of classic, swing-era big band music. Additionally, the organization raises funds to support young musicians. The average age of the band members is 80.

This band began as part of the Donovan Scholars Program at the University of Kentucky in 1980, under the direction of Dr. Jessica Davidson. In addition to the band, the program also included a chorus and folk music. The band left the Donovan Program in 1989 and reformed 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 musical programs.

In 2001, the Jazz Band Group left the Davidson program and on October 6, 2000, reformed under the name “Young at Heart Jazz Band.” It continues today with the philosophy of providing music for those who enjoy the sounds of the Big Band Era. During this time Jessica became disabled and left the group and moved to Texas to be cared for by her daughter.

The band, consisting of sixteen to twenty seniors from Central Kentucky performs for nursing homes, veteran centers, schools, churches, civic events, senior centers, art centers and numerous charity fund raisers. It has performed over 120 different venues—about thirty to forty times a year.

All members are volunteers and no one receives pay. Contributions received by the band are used to support young aspiring musical students with instruments in area schools along with other musical programs.

In May of 2005 it received the First Annual Community Service Award by the Bluegrass Area Jazz Association for outstanding service to the community.

In April of 2013 the Big Band was invited by the Norton Center for the Arts at Centre College to provide pre-show entertainment for the Boston Brass and Enso String Quartet.

In September 2013 it was presented the Friend of Music Award by District Seven of the Kentucky Music Educators Association.

In 2015, it was nominated by the Lexington Music Awards for Best Big Band.