Hugh Hodgson School of Music
Backstory and Context
The Hugh Hodgson School of Music was built in 1995, and is made up of five stories of classrooms, practice rooms, electronic music studios, piano labs, and other types of rooms for music to be made. Edge Recital Hall is located within the school of music, and the school also includes a music library, a choral suite, a band room, and many offices for professionals in the music department, along with other musical organizations. The School of Music is adjacent to the Performing Arts Center, which contains two large concert halls. The smaller of the two, Ramsey Concert Hall, is located in the upper deck of the Performing Arts Center. The larger of the two, Hodgson Concert Hall, is named after Hugh Hodgson along with the School of Music.
Hugh Hodgson had a vast influence on the music department at the University of Georgia, which is clearly exemplified by his name being continued in a fitting and public way. Hugh Hodgson was born in 1893 in Athens, Ga. He showed natural talent for music at a very young age, and began his musical career on the piano, which he continued to play throughout adulthood. He attended school at the University of Georgia, where he studied zoology and continued his musical endeavors. After college, he ran music departments for churches in the area, while also playing music for the public. Hodgson did this until he entered his career. In 1928, Hodgson was hired as a professor at the University of Georgia, and became the first director of music at the University.
Hodgson created numerous opportunities for everyone to make music, in and around Athens. When he became the director of music, his work to spread music began and took off wildly. In addition to teaching music classes, he was well known for the programs he began at UGA for all music students, including his Men’s Glee Club. He also conducted a University Little Symphony Orchestra. Along with these organizations for music students, he wanted to create programs that non-music students could be involved in. He began teaching multiple Music Appreciation classes, for students who wanted to learn about music history and its cultural value. He also began a music festival for music teachers and musicians throughout Georgia, that continued for 22 years. People came from all over the state, and eventually the country, to attend this festival every year. On campus, Hodgson also started a weekly music appreciation hour, which occurred every Thursday and gave students and locals in Athens an opportunity to hear new music each week. Musical groups at the University of Georgia participated in these weekly sessions, including the international women’s music fraternity, Sigma Alpha Iota. These programs were successful, inclusive for musically or non-musically inclined individuals, and groundbreaking for live music in Georgia and at UGA.
In February 1941, a newspaper article was written in reference to another article by Ralph McGill of the Atlanta Constitution. The title reads that Hodgson is called a “Modern Johnny Appleseed to Music Lovers Throughout Georgia”. Hodgson was compared to Johnny Appleseed due to his tireless efforts to bring music to the common people of Georgia. Hodgson was not only interested in those musical scholars, but for all people to have the opportunity to interact with music and its powerful abilities. When Hodgson took his job as head of the department of music, radio broadcasting was still new, and music was not very easily accessible for many. Most of Hodgson’s work was to further programs where music could be heard by locals and non-musical scholars. The year 1941 was very important to Hodgson and the music department at the University of Georgia, because the Fine Arts Auditorium building on North Campus was completed, and Hodgson’s music department was able to locate itself there. The Fine Arts building remained the home for the music department until the Hugh Hodgson School of Music was built on East Campus in 1995.
The namesake of Hugh Hodgson is quite fitting for the School of Music, since he did so much for furthering music at the University and in the community. Hugh Hodgson also arranged the version of the UGA fight song, “Glory, Glory” that the Redcoat Band uses today.
Facilities. Hugh Hodgson School of Music. . Accessed April 21, 2018.
School of Music records, UA09-021, Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library, The University of Georgia Libraries. (Box 3 and 4).