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Mister Rogers: The Musician 

Photo by Ellis Pollard

 Instruments sat quietly on stage as the audience waited to be whisked away to their childhoods through the music of Mister Fred Rogers (’51 ’74H). The lights dimmed, and the Fred Rogers Jazz Quartet started to play an instrumental melody composed by Artist-in-Residence Chuck Archard and Associate Professor of Music Jamey Ray. Waves of joy and nostalgia washed over the audience over the next hour as Rollins student and staff singers sang songs composed by the Rollins alumnus. 

“Mister Rogers: The Musician” was a concert run by the Rollins Music Department as a culmination of the Mister Roger’s Week of Kindness—a week during which the city of Winter Park comes together to celebrate the life of Mister Rogers and continue his legacy of kindness towards others. According to the Winter Park Chamber of Congress, this week aims to “reflect back on [his] messages, and introduce others to world of Mister Rogers, through a series of activities and events in the Orlando area hosted by members of the cast and crew of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.” 

Professor of Music, Theory, and Composition Dr. Daniel Crozier spoke at the concert, recalling his own personal experience with his uncle, Mister Rogers. He recalled his time visiting his uncle in his woodshed, who would be composing his latest song for the television series. Dr. Crozier recounted his uncle’s influence on him and showed the lasting impact that Mister Rogers had on him and his career. 

Associate Professor of Music Dr. Grau took to the stage to perform a jazzy rendition of “The Clown in Me.” The crowd cheered and laughed as he danced around the stage with comedic expressions. His cover reminded audience members of the child-like humor that Mister Rogers always brought to his show. Every aspect of the concert pointed back to the genius of “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.” 

“Mister Rogers: The Musician” brought together both those who knew Mister Rogers personally and those who only knew him through his work for a night of remembrance and joy. It was poetic for the week to end in the very building where his journey had started. 

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