Showcasing the Arts
2020 Governor's Awards in the Arts award

The 2020 Governor's Awards in the Arts are made by Hopkinsville artist Willie Rascoe from reclaimed cherry wood.


2020 Governor’s Awards in the Arts:

Education Award

Paducah Symphony Orchestra

McCracken County

Education has been a priority of the Paducah Symphony Orchestra (PSO) since its founding more than 40 years ago. The PSO focuses on young people as tomorrow’s audience, and promotes the positive impact music education can have on children’s lives. The orchestra hosts a yearly summer music camp, offers K-12 students free tickets to selected concerts, allows students to sit in the orchestra to listen as part of the Musical Chairs program and teaches children about the great composers through the six-year, K-5 Musical Story Time program. Additionally, the orchestra performs a High School Tour once per year, rotating among regional high schools in an effort to meet students where they are and inspire interest in orchestral music. Artistic director and conductor Raffaele Ponti regularly visits schools throughout the region to promote music as an educational tool.

What does this distinction mean to the Paducah Symphony Orchestra?

With no full-time education staff, the Paducah Symphony’s education programs are brilliantly executed by regional educators at both the college and K-12 level, as well as loyal and experienced volunteers. This award is a testament to their hard work and passion for music education.

Why is education an important component of the orchestra’s mission?

As a regional orchestra, we are keenly aware of our place both in the community and in the orchestra world. Our purpose and mission is to bring the rewards of great music to a growing, diverse audience and to build community around music. These programs are important because they foster an appreciation of our art form from the very beginning, placing culture and humanities at the forefront for a lifetime.

What has been the most notable result of the orchestra’s education mission?

After years of building our portfolio of education programs, we can now say that the PSO offers a comprehensive slate of programming for all ages and skill levels. There are learning opportunities and experiences for every student, from age 5 to 18. Soon the PSO will launch a long-awaited Music Academy, a much-needed resource for instrumental music students in the area. This exciting opportunity will broaden the reach of the PSO and enhance the quality of school music programs throughout our region.


Page last updated: December 11, 2020
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