Kimberlee (Kimmi) Hebdon

Written by Impact Coordinator Christa Iwu

When Kimberlee (Kimmi) Hebdon took her first lesson with Louisville Youth Orchestra (LYO), she was hooked. She began as a 12-year-old Horn player in the Horizons Brass Ensemble. Now, at age 17, she has since qualified for LYO’s Symphony Orchestra for advanced young musicians.

“I was growing each week when I went to rehearsal,” said Kimmi. “I can always expect to learn new things from my directors and my peers. I continue because I know this program will give me the fundamentals I need to start my own career in the performing arts.”

LYO provides out-of-school training to nearly 350 young musicians from 60 schools and 15 counties across the region. Students are required to participate in their own school’s music programs, which creates a ripple of positive impact beyond achievements in music.

Right alongside Kimmi in the Symphony Orchestra is Carley VanMeter, a 17-year-old clarinetist who sees performance not only as a career path, but also an antidote to academic and social challenges.

“Since I can remember I have struggled with reading and spelling,” said Carley. “When I would get pulled out of classes to go spend time with a reading specialist I was embarrassed, and some kids would make comments or call me dumb. The feeling of not being normal or like everyone else in my class was difficult for me. After joining LYO two years ago I have become a confident person and have made many friends! Academically, I have grown tremendously.”

Carley VanMeter

Research shows that students who participate in the arts have higher test scores and are more likely to graduate from high school and college. 

With generous support of nearly 20,000 donors, in 2017-2018 Fund for the Arts and its Arts Partners provided transformative arts education experiences to more than 400,000 youth at 257 schools, 31 community centers, and 45 libraries across Kentuckiana. 

“To anyone thinking about supporting music education for the youth I would ask them from the heart to please support,” said Carley. “Where words on a page didn’t make sense to me, music is something I fell in love with and understand. Music provides life lessons and life skills everyday along with teamwork and integrity.”

Click Here to register to audition for LYO in early September, 2018. 

To invest in arts training for youth in every discipline, Click Here.

Thank you Yum! Brands and Old National Bank for supporting Louisville Youth Orchestra and making these opportunities possible!

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