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THE JACOBY COMES OF AGE by Richard A. Salkin The orchestra on Jacoby Hall’s opening night.

In local history, some events stand out. For Jacksonville, the opening of the Robert E. Jacoby Hall, on April 26, 1997, was pivotal. Like October 1, 1968 (consolidated government), and November 30, 1993 (NFL franchise announced), the opening of the Jacoby is a local milestone. Things have been fundamentally different ever since. Getting the hall conceived, financed, designed, built and established was a Jacksonville journey in itself, a long and winding road that started in the 1980s. As the orchestra gained in skill, board members realized the musicians needed a home of their own in order to take symphonic music in Jacksonville to a whole new level. In the end, civic and government leaders seized the reins of cultural leadership to create the Symphony’s first permanent home. Which is not to be confused with a starter home. With seating for 1,800 within an acoustically perfect space, the Jacoby incorporates state-of-the-art technology and design characteristics that rival its counterparts in musical capitals throughout the world. It is a home for the long term. And like most 20-year-olds, it is just hitting its stride. Identifying the Need Like many mid-sized cities with orchestras, Jacksonville was an up-and-comer 20 years ago. We had a respectable orchestra that was growing in terms of size and artistic quality; a justifiably proud community provided wide local support. But there were issues. The orchestra was performing in the cavernous 3,200-seat Civic Auditorium, completed in 1962, sharing the venue with traveling roadshows, graduation ceremonies and other events.

A packed house for Jacoby Hall’s opening night.

“The acoustics were not good for a symphony orchestra,” said Bob Shircliff, one of the community leaders who helped drive the effort to upgrade the venue. “And the musicians could never rehearse where concerts were being played.” To a casual observer, neither ENCORE 15

Profile for Jacksonville Symphony

Encore 3: 2016-2017  

Offers a deeper look into Jacksonville Symphony's programming. Includes guest artists, composer and musician profiles.

Encore 3: 2016-2017  

Offers a deeper look into Jacksonville Symphony's programming. Includes guest artists, composer and musician profiles.

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