OWENSBORO, Ky. (WEHT) – A local orchestra director is having one more encore before the curtain comes down on her career. Daviess County Orchestra Director Karen Higdon is retiring after teaching for 27 years in Daviess County schools and 38 years total.

The Daviess County Middle School (DCMS) and Daviess County High School (DCHS) orchestras will perform a spring concert as Higdon’s last concert as director. A silent auction will also be held with the concert as the concert will be on May 10 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at DCHS. The school is located at 4255 New Hartford Road.

The evening will also feature a reception that will provide an opportunity for current and former orchestra students and families to share words of appreciation with Karen Higdon.

The silent auction will be open from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. and includes artwork, furniture and lamps created from instrument parts, as well as framed music prints, mugs and other music-related items. 

A highlight of the auction is an autographed Stingray electric violin signed by Emmy award-winning composer and recording artist Mark Wood. Wood is an original member of Trans-Siberian Orchestra (TSO) and creator of the revolutionary Viper electric violin.

The concert begins at 6:30 p.m. in the DCHS auditorium and will also be directed by Kyle Payton. The May 10 program will include fanfares, classical and contemporary music, Tchaikovsky’s “1812 Overture,” music of Eastern Asia, fiddle music and even some origami thrown in!

Higdon’s DCHS Orchestras have performed in Nashville, Cincinnati, Chicago, and at Northern Kentucky University, Murray State University and the University of Illinois. They have performed with guest artists such as Mark Wood and professional fiddler Daryl Anger. 

Higdon’s students have attended concerts by Itzak Perlman, Yo Yo Ma, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and other iconic performers. Many of her former students are now teachers, law enforcement officers, doctors, nurses, lawyers, translators, chefs and professional musicians.

“Every child has something within them that deserves to be heard,” Higdon said. “I am so blessed that I have been able to help my students bring out their joy through music.”

Higdon also performed with the Owensboro Symphony Orchestra for 15 years, directed pit orchestras for musicals, and assisted with the Symphony Youth Orchestra in addition to teaching in the school setting. 

Higdon served as chair of the Kentucky Music Educators Association Orchestra, magazine editor and president of the Kentucky chapter of the American String Teachers Association and worked with the Kentucky Department of Education in designing and evaluating state testing materials. She also worked with the American String Teachers Association as chairman of the planning committee for their national conference in Atlanta.

“My classroom is a microcosm of society. If my students can drop their baggage at the door and come together to create beauty in the world through music, surely society can do the same,” Higdon said.

All current and former music students and families whose lives have been touched by Higdon’s legacy are invited to attend this concert, silent auction and reception as a tribute to her commitment to making the world a more beautiful place through the power of music.

The DCHS Orchestra performed at the American String Teachers Association National Orchestra Festival in March 2022. DCMS and DCHS Orchestras earned distinguished ratings at the Kentucky Music Educators Association Festival. 

More information can be found about the silent auction, the performance or how to support or donate to the orchestra program by contacting Karen Higdon at karen.higdon@daviess.kyschools.us.