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Lehigh Carbon Community College

By Suzy Alstrin

Dr. Jacob Augsten, a professional singer who conducts and teaches at one of the largest colleges of music in the country, the University of North Texas (UNT), takes over as Reinhardt University’s Director of Choral Activities this fall. He looks forward to continuing in the footsteps of Dr. Martha Shaw following her retirement.

Dr. Augsten grew up in Griffin, Georgia, and earned an undergraduate degree from Clayton State, where he also intently observed Dr. Shaw conducting the Spivey Hall Children’s Choir each week. “Dr. Shaw looms large with the incredible work she’s been doing for decades. She’s had a tremendous impact on me as a choral director and a music educator,” he said. “I’m grateful for the legacy that she leaves behind.”

Dr. Augsten pursued a master’s degree at Georgia State and taught choir in Clayton and Henry County public schools. He earned a doctorate in musical arts at UNT while instructing the fundamentals of choral conducting and conducting the UNT Chorale. During his career, he has conducted and performed with numerous professional choirs.

Along with looking forward to returning with his family to Georgia, Dr. Augsten says, “I’ve always admired Reinhardt. The School of the Arts has the opportunity to make a powerful impact. I couldn’t be more thrilled about it.”

In anticipation of working with Reinhardt’s students, Dr. Augsten articulates what grounds his teaching, “At the end of the day, the most important parts of being in a choral program lie in the sense of community that we share, cultivate, build, and rebuild every day. We should live in the beauty of this unique thing that we do, in which a group of people with seemingly unlimited differences come together in a room and create something greater than the sum of their parts. That’s what we want to do every day.”