After decades of instruction Western’s music department will say a final farewell to percussion instructor Dennis Rogers.
Rogers came to Western in 1978, shortly after spending nine years teaching at the University of Missouri, Kansas City Conservatory.
Although Dean of Fine Arts Robert Willenbrink was not at Western when Rogers was hired, he is grateful for the many years of service Rogers has given to the university.
“He has worked here so much, perhaps you could call him an institution here. He has contributed a great deal with innovative programs and recruiting percussion students,” Willenbrink said. “He is very dedicated to students and what they desire to do, and he helps them. He has also contributed quite a bit to educators in the area. I just think his dedication to students really sets him apart.“
Rogers prides himself on teaching students about music as well as life.
“The best part about teaching is that it gives a person like myself the opportunity to teach students more than just their craft. Our craft is percussion, but there is much more than that. The real joy that I have is teaching young people about every facet of life, like; ‘Wisdom is its own reward’,‘By watering others, you water yourself’,’The truth is neither mean, nor nice, it’s just the truth.’ That goes on all day, everyday, between striking notes, and playing rhythms and having a lot of fun,” Rogers said.
Junior Jack Malo has received private lessons from Rogers and feels he has benefited most from Rogers’ personal and professional advice.
“He’s been around the block for a very long time, and he’s seen a lot of things. He knows where success comes from, and he is very good at giving you the means of success through his wisdom,” Malo said.
Rogers has dedicated his career to helping students succeed academically and better preparing students for their careers.
“Probably the greatest joy I have is watching students succeed. First of all succeeding in their degree, [working] each day, finally ends up in a diploma.Then recognizing that they have value, and have earned value in education,” Rogers said.
While Rogers anticipates a smooth transition into retirement, he is in hopes of remaining involved with music in the community.