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72-year-old University of Kentucky student continues love of lifelong learning through music

Posted at 7:58 AM, Oct 06, 2022
and last updated 2022-10-06 13:51:25-04

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — Jeffrey Jones always had a love and passion for music.

He’s a product of his environment.

It was natural for him and his siblings to follow in their father’s footsteps.

“My dad was a music professor and choir director all his life. He raised four children, all of whom played instruments and have stayed connected to music in some way,” Jones said.

That connection was never severed, but it was redirected for quite a while.

After getting his undergraduate degree and starting a master’s in music, Jones diverted to a handful of different jobs before getting his teaching certificate at 35 years old.

“I went back and got my teaching certificate as a 35-year-old in mathematics and eventually computer sciences,” Jones said.

That decision led to a near 30-year career at Fayette County Public Schools, roughly ten in the classroom and remaining more so on the technology side, before retiring.

“I’ve always kind of embraced the concept of lifelong learning. I knew that as I retired, I would be interested in going back to school.”

That’s exactly what Jones did once he retired.

No longer working in the school system, Jones took himself back to school.

He started taking classes at the University of Kentucky which grew into an independent study on music composition.

It was made possible by UK’s Donovan Scholar program which gives people 65 and older a chance to pursue higher learning through scholarship.

“It’s incredibly exciting to hear about something someone is so passionate about but never got to explore as a career. To come back and explore that career because they were curious,” UK Lifelong Learning Office executive director Joey Conrad said.

“We hear so many incredible stories about people who are coming back to finish those degrees or just learning something new.”

Over the years Jones has become proficient enough to get one of his latest compositions in the rotation for the Lexington Chamber Chorale.

It’s set to be performed at the first concert of the fall season Sunday, October 9.

It’s an opportunity that culminates a full circle journey in Jones’ pursuit and passion of professional music.

“Life takes you in a lot of different directions. This was really kind of a coming home for me in terms of my interests and abilities.”

If you want to learn more about the Donovan Scholar Program, click here.