Oldham County Day
Oldham County High band leader
Rogers to be honored
‘The Music Man’ to be the theme for
this year’s parade on July 20
July 2019 Cover
LA GRANGE, Ky. (July 2019) – Leading a parade comes easy to Brad Rogers. Having been the band director for the Oldham County High School for the past 33 years, Rogers knows a thing or two about maintaining rank and file while showcasing the musical abilities of his students.
A lot of qualities combine to make him the perfect choice for the 2019 grand marshal of the Oldham County Day Parade. This year he will actually get to ride in a car as he takes his place at the head of the parade as he definitely embodies the theme of “The Music Man.”
Rogers also will be honored by colleagues, neighbors and former students during the annual Grand Marshal Luncheon planned for noon Tuesday, July 16, at the John Black Community Center in Buckner, Ky.
Just as the musical was an instant smash hit when it premiered on Broadway on Dec. 19, 1957, Rogers has found much success from the beginning of his own long career in music.
He has been involved with band since sixth grade.
“I lived in Arkansas at the time,” said Rogers, 62. His instruments of choice were clarinet and saxophone. “I still play my instrument (clarinet) all of the time.”
• Hours: 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. Saturday, July 20, around the Oldham County Courthouse Square
• Parade: 10 a.m.
• Grand Marshal Luncheon: Noon Tuesday, July 17, at the John Black Community Center in Buckner, Ky. Tickets $15 adults; $10 children 12-under. They can be purchased at: www.OldhamCountyDay.com
His family moved to Columbia, Tenn., for his high school years where he attended Columbia Central High School. Rogers went on to study music at Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro, Tenn. He, of course, joined the band, the MTSU Band of Blue.
Graduating in 1978 he took a position as assistant band director at Christian County High School in Hopkinsville, Ky. This led to a series of other jobs: band director at Whitthorne Junior High School and Columbia Central High School in Maury County, Tenn., then Oakland High School in Rutherford County, Tenn.
His next move was to Oldham County, Ky. “I moved here in 1987 to take the position of band director at Oldham County High School,” he said. Two years later, Rogers earned a master’s degree in music teacher education at the University of Louisville.
For many sixth graders he is their first introduction to concert band, an experience he hopes will ignite a love of music in them. Rogers directs the marching, concert and jazz bands at OCHS, in addition to assisting with the Oldham County Middle School bands. He has also taught Advanced Placement music theory classes.
Rogers said his upbringing and his father’s musical ability influenced him greatly toward the reason he chose the career path he did. “First and foremost, as far as teaching is concerned, it’s the kids. They are capable of some pretty incredible things. If you expect a certain level of accomplishment, you’ll get it. The sky’s the limit.”
“Brad is one of the most dedicated educators I have ever met,” said Brent Deaves, Assistant Superintendent for Support Services for Oldham County Schools. “Brad is typically the first to arrive and last to leave every night (even including Saturday and sometimes on Sunday). The amazing aspect of Mr. Rogers is that from the minute he arrives to the minute he leaves he is like the energizer bunny. He puts in a 112 percent every day all day.”
Deaves, who was principle of the high school for six years, said Rogers “is one of those educators who you hope your child has sometime during their high school years. He is always challenging and pushing students with the support needed to accomplish their goals.”
Under Rogers’s leadership, the band has grown and continued to evolve. “Brad has had the ability to continue to grow and expand the offering of the band throughout the ebbs and flows of school culture changing. What has not changed is Brad’s ability to continue to change the lives of young people. I have not gone a year in Oldham County without hearing several stories of ‘I am who I am or what I am because of Brad Rogers,’ ” said Deaves.
Deaves said Rogers is not only a logical choice for grand marshal but one of many in Oldham County who has “had a larger impact on the better good of our community. He would never say that he has had that big of an impact, but others would. He is a perfect representative of what Oldham County wants to represent.”
“I think you would have a hard time finding others who have had so much impact on students’ lives. Brad is an educator you want to be more like. Brad is also one of those educators that, as a principal, I used as a sounding board. He had the ability to not only see the band program but others as well.”
Deaves went on to say, “Brad is very involved in the community both locally, regionally and statewide. He has been a voice on so many educational task forces, planning with other bands and choir directors. Brad has his finger on the pulse of our community through his years of service and so many relationships. I believe Oldham County in general is better off because of Brad and his band program.”
Rogers was instrumental in starting the Oldham County Community Band in 1988 after moving to Oldham County. The conductor, Jim Stuppy, went to South Oldham High School and Rogers took over. It actually “started in the band room in the high school,” he said.
The band is an opportunity for musicians of all ages to share their talents and love of music.
Oldham County Day is just one of many events at which the band performs. Others include Memorial Day ceremonies, fairs and concerts. “Sometimes, we perform joint concerts with the high school band,” he said.
Rehearsals are held at the high school and Oldham County Arts Center, which “gives us more visibility and entices others to join.”
Apart from school and the community band, Rogers performs with the Louisville Concert Band-Chamber Winds Louisville. Concerts usually include chamber music, solos with the ensemble and full-cast concert band works. Their repertoire is diverse and they perform four major concerts per year.
Rogers has performed with the group for 16 years and “played at every concert.” This puts his total number of concerts with the group at 64 consecutive concerts.
Frederick Speck, D.M.A. is professor of Music, Director of Bands, and Chair of the Department of Performance Studies for the University of Louisville. Speck has worked with Rogers through the Louisville Concert Band and the Kentucky Ambassadors of Music.
“Brad and I have known one another for at least 25 years,” said Speck. “From the beginning I was impressed by not only Brad’s personal musicianship, but more importantly his desire to help students develop the skills that would allow them to achieve high-level performance experiences themselves.”
He said Rogers is a gentleman and a man of integrity. “When we brought the Kentucky Ambassadors of Music program to our state in the year 2000, I had the opportunity to develop the best concert band staff possible. Brad was the first band staff member to join our program and he has been a wonderful staff member throughout.”
Speck said Roger’s influence is at every level: teaching, performing, conducting, chaperoning and logistics. As in his other pursuits, “he is valued by his colleagues for his musicianship, warmth and wit.”
As if he wasn’t busy enough, Rogers is also a staff member with the Kentucky Ambassadors of Music and participates in the European tour. This is an educational program designed as an opportunity for music honor students to perform and share their musical talents, while gaining cultural enrichment abroad. Students are “recommended by their band director to participate,” said Rogers. Selection is based on the students’ musical talent, leadership and character.
Rogers said many of the students who go usually consist of choir and band string players from the Arts Center. “A couple thousand plus go on 10 tours.”
Since 2000, he has participated in every European tour. Tours last 16 days and take place every other year. He worked his way up in the organization, beginning as a section coach, then becoming rehearsal conductor.
Although participants visit a set group of countries, the venues might change. Rogers said the stops include London, Paris, Switzerland, Lichtenstein, Austria, Germany and Greece.
“We rehearse three days at the University of Louisville before we are gone for three weeks. The experience is one of a lifetime.”
Even though the group “generally goes to the same places, it is always different for me because the people are different,” said Rogers. One of the big draws to the experience is that “I always get to play,” not just conduct.
Over the last several decades, Rogers has received numerous recognitions, which proves how talented and well-liked he is. Awards include OCHS Teacher of the Year, MTSU Band of Blue Hall of Fame, Ashland Oil Golden Apple Achiever Award (twice), National Band Association Citation of Musical Excellence (1999, 2014 and 2018), Phi Beta Mu Outstanding Bandmaster in Kentucky (2012) and John Philip Sousa Foundation Bandworld Legion Laureate (2014). He was named one of 50 Directors Who Make A Difference by School Band & Orchestra Magazine (2015). He was recently honored as a Rotary International Paul Harris Fellow and named Kentucky Music Educators Association High School Teacher of the Year (2017).
For the later organization, Rogers has held several positions on the KMEA Executive Committee, Marching Band Council, KMEA Strategic Planning Committee. He was the KMEA State Band Division chair from 2008-2010 and was president of KMEA from 2015-2017.
As to his involvement in the KMEA, Rogers said he “has been involved since I started teaching in Kentucky.” As an outgoing past president, he said he is honored that colleagues have recognized him through this organization. The KMEA is a non-profit organization consisting of more than 2,000 professional music educators at all levels, from kindergarten to the university level.
“All these experiences for me just made me better in the classroom at what I do. It all ends up coming back to the classroom.
Roger’s “class is the ideal learning environment - students continually practice, struggle, practice, struggle, learn from a professional who pushes students to learn,” Deaves said. “Students practice and struggle, practice and struggle but eventually put it together to produce a better outcome from where they started. Basically his class is the perfect example how learning should flow. You can take his educational and teaching beliefs and apply them to any subject.”
Rogers said giving back to the community is “a no-brainer. You should try every way you can to do so. The community has given so much to me; that’s why being grand marshal means so much to me.” Rogers’ focus “has always been on the high school band program. You’re giving back anyway if you do a good job. The community band has been a way to reach out and work with people.”
Rogers doesn’t plan to slow down any time soon. “I’m not one of those people who can sit.” He likes to play golf and work on cars but “would rather invest time in the students. I don’t consider it work.”
Going forward, he wants to ensure that “whoever comes in behind me has the same opportunities I’ve had over the last 32 years. This is what I’m the happiest doing.”
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