The American conductor, Melvin Dickinson, as a new college graduate, spent two years in Germany studying the works of J.S. Bach on a Fulbright Scholarship. He returned to his native Kentucky determined to share his passion for J.S. Bach's music with as many people as possible, forming a Bach appreciation society at a Frankfort church in 1960. After moving to Louisville, he founded the Louisville Bach Society (LBS) with his wife, Margaret, out of his home.
The LBS is still headquartered in the Dickinson home, but it has become a community arts institution, having celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2004. Melvin Dickinson conducts the chorus - which is made up of people from all walks of life - and serves as chief administrator, arranging a yearly schedule of concerts of works by J.S. Bach and other composers in Louisville, plus touring dates around Kentucky and the region. He seeks out works seldom heard in the community and places an emphasis on education: At least two Louisville Bach Society concerts each year are for schoolchildren, to introduce younger generations to classical music.
In 2001, Melvin Dickinson was honored with the Kentucky Governors Awards in the Arts Artist Award, which honors lifetime achievement.