Seven student musicians will represent Paducah and McCracken County at the inaugural Global Youth Concert in Icheon, South Korea, July 29-August 4, 2019. The invitation to participate came from the Mayor’s office in Icheon, one of Paducah’s sister UNESCO Creative Cities in the creative field of Crafts & Folk Art.

The Global Youth Concert is an international exchange program in which young musicians from around the world gather to form a symphony orchestra, rehearse and play music together.

Heath Middle School music teacher Steven Page has coordinated local rehearsals and preparations for the concert. According to Page, who also coordinates the Paducah Symphony Orchestra’s Summer Music Camp, “It's kind of cliche that music is the universal language, but we're going to experience the truth of that on this trip. To me, this represents two big things: I get to show off some of the talented music students right here in our city, and I get to help open their minds up to seeing different cultures and how much we have in common.”

Paducah and McCracken County students will participate alongside students from UNESCO Creative Cities of Crafts & Folk Art, Al Ahsa, Saudia Arabia, Icheon, South Korea, Jingdezhen, China, Limoges, France and Santa Fe, USA as well as Icheon’s sister cities, Seto, Japan and Wuxi, China.

“Saying that this is a once-in-a-lifetime experience doesn't even do it justice,” said Page. “This will be my eleventh experience with musicians in a different country, but it's my first time to see students from different cities collaborate like this.”

Mary Hammond, Executive Director of the Paducah Convention & Visitors Bureau, local focal point for the UNESCO Creative Cities Network (UCCN), recognizes the value of this cross-cultural collaboration of Creative Cities.

“The UNESCO Creative Cities’ team in Icheon has become a good friend of Paducah since Paducah joined the UCCN in 2013. The Icheon team traveled to Paducah to participate in the Creative Cities of Crafts & Folk Art Annual Meeting in 2017 and, in turn, hosted the sub-network meeting in 2018,” she says. “The Global Youth Orchestra is yet another way to build relationships, cooperation and awareness among cities with common goals.”

Follow the students’ journey on the Paducah Delegation, Global Youth Orchestra-Icheon, South Korea Facebook page at

For more information about Paducah’s role as one of the world’s UNESCO Creative Cities and ongoing collaboration within the Creative Cities Network, visit