Why Jordan Auditorium Renovation is Special to a Lot of Folks

The architectural firm that will handle the renovation of the Jordan Vocational High School auditorium hasn’t been selected yet.  (It’s in the last 7 of the 15 SPLOST construction projects.  Architects for the first 9 projects were chosen Saturday.)  When it is selected, I am sure somebody will let its leader know just how important their project will be.  That’s not to say the other projects are unimportant, but we are talking some real history here.

1947 JVHS Red Jacket Band, Jordan auditorium, Columbus, Georgia

That Jordan auditorium, which, in my view, is probably still the most impressive of all of the high school auditoriums in Columbus,  not only served the Jordan student body, but was used by the Three Arts League and other organizations. For Columbus newcomers, or those not old enough to remember, the Three Arts League was an organization made up of  Columbus cultural leaders who brought in world-class symphony orchestras,  solo performers, and roadshow Broadway plays and musicals from the 1930’s to almost now.   I don’t recall when it was disbanded, but with the River Center now in operation, it’s not needed any more.  

I went to see a school play in the auditorum a couple of years ago and was impressed that it had a fairly adequate stage lighting system.  I’ll bet it dates back to when the Three Arts League used the auditorum. It probably needs some serious upgrading.  Hopefully, that will happen when the auditorium is renovated.

The Jordan stage was home for the famous Bob Barr Red Jacket Bands that won national awards in places like Chicago, New York, and Los Angeles.   Barr was the band’s first professional director, coming to the school in 1946 and leaving in 1963.  I was a member of the original band that he started in 1946.   Band practice was the highlight of every day. He was a hard task master, but also very entertaining, doing such things as breaking his baton when we didn’t play something right.  It worked. The band went from 17 pieces to 75 in about six months and played Beethoven’s “Eroica” in its first public concert before the Jordan student body.  He could be mean as a snake, and his expectations were very high, but he got results, and everyone in the band that I knew loved him.  Success means a lot to emotionally charged high school kids.  Remember when you were one?

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2 Responses to “Why Jordan Auditorium Renovation is Special to a Lot of Folks”

  1. dicksworld.wordperss.com Says:

    Reblogged this on Dick’s World and commented:

    I’m really glad the Muscogee County School Board voted to renovate the Jordan Vocational High School auditorium. It is an important piece of Columbus history. I wrote a post about it 2010. it follows.

  2. Just me. Says:

    It’s a beautiful auditorium and deserves to be preserved! I grew up watching the legendary JVHS Red Jacket band under Mr. Bob Barr perform at halftime of football games, march in parades, and excel in concerts. It was rivaled by no other high school band in the land!

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