CKYO believes every young person with outstanding musical ability and a willingness to work hard should be given the opportunity to develop that skill. The purpose of CKYO is to foster, in cooperation with public and private schools, quality musical opportunities for talented young musicians in the Central Kentucky region and provide affordable, family-friendly concerts to the community.
We believe that every young person with outstanding musical ability and a willingness to work hard should be given the opportunity to develop that skill. The purpose of CKYO is to foster, in cooperation with public and private schools, quality musical opportunities for talented young musicians in the Central Kentucky region and provide affordable, family-friendly concerts to the community.
The Central Kentucky Youth Orchestras (CKYO) is one of the oldest, independently chartered youth orchestras in the United States, with a tradition dating back to 1947. Over 400 students gather from 15 counties and 60 area schools to participate in CKYO. We offer six orchestras; Symphony, Concert, Repertory, Preparatory Strings, Jazz Repertory, and Jazz Arts Orchestras. Dedicated to the musical education and growth of its student members, we provide performance opportunities, motivational workshops, small group instruction, travel, mentoring and quality social interaction.
In addition to our performing ensembles, CKYO operates three community music programs: Friends in Music, CKYO in the Schools, and North Limestone MusicWorks.
CKYO established the Friends in Music (FIM) program in 1996 to address a need in our community to provide music instruction to Fayette County students who would not otherwise have the means to afford it. CKYO Symphony Orchestra members act as mentors along with the Program Director and professional teachers to teach free stringed instrument lessons to children in Title I schools in Fayette County. FIM currently operates in 2 Fayette County middle schools and offers highly subsidized private lessons from professional teachers in Lexington. FIM also partners with Central Music Academy (CMA) to provide lessons to participants.
Through our CKYO in the Schools program, each season CKYO performs ‘run-out’ concerts throughout the central Kentucky. These concerts serve to expose public school students to live orchestral music by bringing a CKYO ensemble into their school at no cost to the school system. Each season over the course of two weeks CKYO ensembles perform for nearly 3,000 public school students ranging from Kindergarten to 12thgrade.
North Limestone MusicWorks (MusicWorks) is a daily orchestral and ensemble music program fostering positive development of Lexington’s youth by providing equitable access to high-quality music education. The program offers intensive study on string instruments and musicianship training from Arlington Elementary School, 2.5 hours daily after school. MusicWorks is inspired by the musical and social philosophy of El Sistema, Venezuela’s national system of youth orchestras and choirs. El Sistema seeks to affect social change through the pursuit of musical excellence by providing Venezuelan children with access to free instruments, intensive musical training and orchestral experience.
This is an exciting time for our organization, and I am thrilled to lead this historic and prestigious institution. While the spirit of our organization is as strong as it has ever been so is our desire to continue to improve, deepen, and expand our offerings to our students and our community; and we cannot move forward on many of these projects without further financial support in place.
CKYO’s commitment to the community of Lexington and Central Kentucky has become a substantial philosophical and financial commitment of our organization. Friends in Music is an afterschool program designed to provide professional music instruction for orchestral students in Title I middle schools through group and private instrumental lessons. Additionally, through our CKYO in the Schools program, each season CKYO has performed ‘run-out’ concerts throughout the Lexington community over the course of the year. These concerts serve to expose public school students to live orchestral music by bringing a CKYO ensemble into their school at no cost to the school system. Finally, CKYO is excited to have formed the first El Sistema-inspired nucleo in the state of Kentucky: North Limestone MusicWorks. We are proud to join the national and international community of El Sistema programs and equally proud of the work being done right here in Lexington. Now in its third year, MusicWorks continues to grow and evolve. Our students who began with simple exercises on the violin, viola, cello, and double bass are now perform complex works of Johann Sebastian Bach and Serge Prokofiev in venues across our city, and even traveling to Cincinnati to participate in the annual Seminario of Midwest El Sistema-inspired programs. At CKYO we have tried to connect deeply with our community through an emphasis on collaboration. Collaboration is not simply about joining forces, but about creating art—and creative experiences—that would not have been possible otherwise. Over the last few seasons CKYO students and ensembles have collaborated with organizations like the Lexington Philharmonic Orchestra, Chamber Music Festival of Lexington, Lafayette high School Chorale, Bluegrass Youth Ballet, and University of Kentucky Opera Theatre. These are enriching projects for our students and essential to continuing the spirit of musical excellence and joy that is at the core of our purpose and mission. Over the last few seasons, our Symphony Orchestra worked with singers from UK Opera Theatre and the Lafayette HS Choirs to present the complete First and Second Acts from Puccini’s beautiful La Boheme, and this Fall we worked with Everett McCorvey, founder and director of the American Spiritual Ensemble, to design a unique concert presentation of Antonin Dvorak’s Symphony No. 9 From the New World which included settings of African American spirituals that inspired Dvorak’s work. I truly believe that the strength of our youth orchestra is the diversity of interests and backgrounds represented by our students. We have young people who wish to pursue careers in music; we have young people who have other professional interests but can’t imagine their daily lives without music; we have young people who have made strong friendships through CKYO that they wish to foster every week at rehearsal; and we have young people who just aren’t sure where music fits into their lives. CKYO is not a single-minded entity. I believe that this diversity makes our progress towards our group goals of musical excellence and fostering a passion for music that much more meaningful.
Sincerely, Daniel Chetel Music Director & Conductor Central Kentucky Youth Orchestras
We are currently celebrating the 68th season of the Central Kentucky Youth Orchestras! I’m excited to serve as President of the CKYO Board of Directors for this 2015-2016 season.
Our Music Director and Conductor, Daniel Chetel, is now in his fifth season with CKYO and he continues to challenge our students to achieve their best. He has implemented a great number of organizational changes that continue to serve our students and their families and engage new students in the community.
We began this season with an All-CKYO Retreat which brought together all four of our classical orchestras for a day of rehearsals and activities designed to help introduce the students to each other, and the parents were able to meet as one large group to discuss our plans for the year and how we can all be involved to make CKYO a positive and sustainable organization for our community. The day ended with a thrilling performance by almost 350 CKYO students together onstage performing "My Old Kentucky Home." Seeing students at the beginning of their CKYO experience (in 2nd grade) sitting near students in their final year of CKYO (seniors in high school) made quite an impact on everyone in attendance!
We also look to our community as we enhance our Friends in Music program at Bryan Station Middle School and Lexington Traditional Magnet School to engage with and serve more students toward the ultimate goal of helping these students successfully audition into CKYO. Leah Hagel-Kahmann, with a staff of experienced music teachers and dedicated CKYO student mentors, is leading Friends in Music through the next exciting chapter of this program’s existence. In addition to the after school mentoring, CKYO is partnering with Central Music Academy to provide private lessons to augment the scope and effectiveness of the instruction we offer.
Perhaps the biggest addition to CKYO programming in recent years is North Limestone MusicWorks. Now in its third year, this program continues to grow in scope and in reputation in the community. As we move into next season we will see our first class of students graduate from Elementary to Middle School and are working to integrate them into the Friends in Music program, as well as having them audition into our CKYO performing ensembles.
President, Board of Directors
Central Kentucky Youth Orchestras
While in recent years CKYO has served students in as many as 20 counties in Central Kentucky, the office and weekly rehearsals are located in Lexington: CKYO occupies an office in ArtsPlace, located downtown; The Symphony and Concert Orchestras rehearse on the University of Kentucky campus in the Singletary Center for the Arts; the Repertory and Preparatory String Orchestras rehearse at the School for the Creative and Performing Arts (SCAPA); and our Jazz Ensembles rehearse at Maxwell Street Presbyterian Church. With our “CKYO in the Schools” program, the orchestras have traveled throughout Fayette, Scott, Knox, Nicholas, Madison, Woodford, Montgomery, Clark, Jessamine, and Franklin Counties to perform for elementary and middle school students.
Daniel Chetel is currently serving in his fifth season as the Music Director and Conductor of the Central Kentucky Youth Orchestras. While living and working in Lexington Dr. Chetel has served as the Assistant Conductor for the University of Kentucky Symphony Orchestra, UK Opera Theatre, and the Central Kentucky Youth Orchestras. Dr. Chetel has led the UK Symphony Orchestra at subscription concerts, educational outreach concerts, and special events such as the Opening Gala of the Confucius Institute at the University of Kentucky. In addition, Dr. Chetel currently serves as the Conductor of the UK Philharmonia at the University of Kentucky School of Music.
Dr. Chetel has served as the Conductor of the UK Opera Theatre’s Annual Undergraduate Production, Cover Conductor for the Lexington Philharmonic Orchestra, and guest conductor of the Reading Symphony Orchestra in Reading, PA. Recently Dr. Chetel has also served as Cover Conductor for summer concerts of the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra as well as Assistant Conductor for the Opening Ceremonies of the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games held at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, KY.
A strong believer in music education, Dr. Chetel worked for the Boston Youth Symphony Orchestras as Program Coordinator for the BYSO’s Intensive Community Program, a rigorous stringed instrument curriculum serving underrepresented youth throughout Boston. In the summer of 2008 Dr. Chetel traveled to Acarigua, Venezuela to work with a nucleo of the nation-wide Venezuelan Youth Orchestra System, El Sistema. CKYO’s new community music initiative North Limestone MusicWorks is based on the philosophies and practices of El Sistema.
As an operatic conductor Dr. Chetel has worked for DiCapo Opera (NY), University of Kentucky Opera Theatre, University of Maryland Opera Studio, Newton Symphony (MA), Dunster House
Opera Society (MA), and the Reading Symphony Orchestra (PA), where he has worked on fully-staged productions of Leonard Bernstein’s Candide, Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess, Mozart’s Cosi fan tutte and Die Zauberflöte, Puccini’s La Boheme, Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas, Strauss’s Die Fledermaus, and Vaughan-Williams’s Riders to the Sea, and world premiere operas by Thomas
Pasatieri and Joseph Baber.
Originally from Massachusetts, Dr. Chetel holds a B.A. from Harvard University, an M.M. from the University of Maryland School of Music, and a D.M.A. in Orchestral Conducting from the University of Kentucky School of Music where his doctoral research addressed the publication and performance challenges of Hans Krasa’s children’s opera Brundibar.
The CKYO Jazz Arts Orchestra (JAO) offers high school students advanced training and performance opportunities with a big band style jazz ensemble. The Jazz Repertory Orchestra (JRO) offers an introductory jazz experience intended for beginning jazz students in middle or high school. Each jazz season concludes with a performance at the historic Lyric Theatre and Cultural Arts Center in downtown Lexington.
CKYO ensembles travel to local public schools throughout the year to perform. These concerts are intended to be fun and informative events for local school students that expose them to orchestral music performed at a high level by fellow students. Additionally the CKYO Music Director visits schools, classrooms, and orchestra rehearsal rooms to guest conduct throughout the community. Both of these programs are completely free to the public school system.
CKYO aims to expand our ability to offer financial assistance to families participating in the organization. Raising funds to support this venture is critical to making CKYO an accessible part of music education in Central Kentucky.
North Limestone MusicWorks is an intensive musical training initiative based on the Venezuelan national youth orchestra program El Sistema. El Sistema is a set of inspiring ideals that has led to an intensive after-school music program that seeks to effect social change through the pursuit of musical excellence. El Sistema focuses on children with the fewest resources and greatest need and is delivered at no cost to participants.The North Limestone MusicWorks will be a 2.5-hour after-school daily music program for students of Arlington Elementary School. It will be the onlyEl Sistemaprogram between Cincinnati and Atlanta. MusicWorks will operate on an academic year calendar, following the public school system. The program will run five days a week, from 3:30pm-6:00pm, and provide a space in which the students feel safe and welcome. No fee will be charged to the participants.
Here at CKYO we believe in strong music education and creating those experiences for every child. In our 68 years, in addition to providing the highest level orchestral opportunities, the mission of CKYO has evolved to include creating equitable access to those opportunities as well. It is with this in mind that we formed programs such as Friends in Music, MusicWorks, and CKYO in the Schools. The students in all of our orchestras and these programs are a talented, eager, and diverse group, anxious to grow as both musicians and individuals. Studies show that students who study music have larger vocabularies and more advanced reading skills, work better in teams, and have better critical thinking skills than students who do not study music. While CKYO is an organization based in music, we believe that through this determined focus music can enhance the lives of the young people that it touches.
In order for our efforts to be successful we require the support of people like you. We would not be able to offer any of these programs without the donations and sponsorships of like-minded people and businesses throughout our community. This year we revived our Annual Campaign with a letter detailing our fundraising efforts, and it is my pleasure to ask for your continued support. We view each and every dollar as an investment, not only in CKYO, but also in the lives of our students.
We are looking forward to a sensational season with our CKYO community!
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