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Hodgson, Hugh

Musician and educator Hugh Hodgson was born in Athens, GA in 1893. By age four, he showed a unique talent for the piano - and by age fourteen he was studying piano in Europe. Hodgson returned home to attend the University of Georgia, where he played tennis and majored in zoology while continuing his music interests. In 1915, Hodgson played in New York’s Carnegie Hall. He was an organist for a number of Athens churches before being appointed director of music at the Lucy Cobb Institute in Athens in 1925. Here he began giving informal lectures and recitals of music - not only to the students at the Institute but to anyone who wanted to listen. Thus began a lifelong devotion to bringing music to common people. In 1928, Hodgson became a professor at the University of Georgia, heading the newly created Department of Music (a position he held until his retirement in 1960). While at the University, he won numerous awards and taught and influenced countless students. Hodgson continued his efforts to popularize various forms of music by presenting an annual opera, organizing a Little Symphony Orchestra, directing the Men’s Glee Club, establishing chamber music festivals, and performing recitals and delivering lectures nationwide. Even after his retirement, Hodgson remained active as a church musician and guest professor and performer. Atlanta Constitution editor Ralph McGill praised Hodgson by writing: “Hugh Hodgson is to music what Johnny Appleseed was to the Northwest and its orchards. He burns with a passion to make music available to everyone.” Hodgson died in Atlanta on Aug. 12, 1969. The University of Georgia’s School of Music, and its main concert hall, are both named in his honor. Hodgson’s influence can not only been seen in this school and this concert hall, but is heard on special fall Saturday afternoons in Athens, when the University of Georgia football team takes the field. From the UGA Athletics web site: “Among the University’s oldest and most lasting traditions is the school fight song, “Glory, Glory” which is sung to the tune of “The Battle Hymn of the Republic.” It was sung at games as early as the 1890s, but arranged in its present from by Georgia musician-composer Hugh Hodgson in 1915.”