Services are being held today to remember one of Augusta's great cultural leaders. More than a professor of music, Harry Jacobs, founder of the Augusta Symphony, was a musical mentor for all of Augusta.
Although he died Sunday, his legacy lives on with the symphony, with public radio and at Augusta State University's music department, where he helped make the performing arts theater a reality.
Mr. Jacobs' passion for music led him to organize the symphony not long after he arrived in Augusta in 1949. He had already had an impressive musical resume, having performed with the National Orchestral Association of Carnegie Hall, the New York Philharmonic, the NBC Symphony and others.
He was conductor and musical director for the Augusta Symphony from its inception in 1954 until 1991. In 1970 he helped launch WACG, Georgia Public Radio's Augusta station. He founded the Harry Jacobs Chamber Music Society in 1990 to bring renowned musicians to Augusta. He also influenced thousands of students during the 25 years he taught music at what was then called Augusta College.
Few of us have that kind of influence on a community. But Mr. Jacobs' talents were many - some were musical, some were organizational and some were visionary. Augusta was fortunate that he took to our community; the city certainly took to him, and will miss him indeed.