The kids are all right, and they're going to be kicking out the jams at next Thursday's kickoff party for the 2019 Lower Town Arts & Music Festival.

Festivities will begin at 4:30 p.m. on Broadway, between Fifth and Sixth streets, with sets from the high school and middle school students in the Allen Music School of Rock.

Two groups of students who take lessons at the shop will come together to show the results of their learning and practicing together since last September.

The performance will take the place of the group's normal end-of-the-year recital.

LTAMF's music director, Seth Murphy, was thrilled to welcome the program into the festival.

"As a young musician growing up in Paducah I never had much opportunity beyond school cafeterias and church basements," said the St. Mary High graduate. "By giving the youth a platform to be recognized beyond their peers we hope to jumpstart the next generation of Western Kentucky creative-types."

For many of these young performers, this concert could be a foundational bit of experience.

"It's just an opportunity for the kids to play in front of people they normally wouldn't get to and get connected with other musicians while playing on an actual stage," said Stephen Montgomery, who serves as the instructor for the high school age group. "They can't play in the bars or most other venues around town."

Ashley Gaboriault, the middle school group's instructor, echoed his sentiments.

"I'm really excited for them to be able to have this experience," she said. "It's a great first step to being able to play music out in the world."

The groups, each made up of five students, will be playing sets of covers that afternoon -- running through their renditions of tunes by The Beatles, Nirvana, Everclear, The Eagles and others.

"At this point with the band, I let them choose their songs and OK them. As long as it has appropriate parts for everybody and the lyrics are OK, they're good to go," Gaboriault added.

After the sets from the students, the Paducah Jazz Ensemble will take the stage. Later in the evening, Big Atomic returns to town for a comeback set of its signature Atomic City funk rock.

The Aquaducks, a funk/soul band out of Nashville, will close the evening.

Food and alcohol vendors will be on the scene, as well as representation from the Save The Columbia project, an effort to restore the Columbia Theatre on that block.

For more information on the day's activities and the rest of the Lower Town Arts & Music Festival, visit www.lowertownamf.com.

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