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Mr. Rogers’ music essential to campus climate, brings hope

Written by: Clara Ivanoff

The music department’s performance, “Mister Rogers: The Musician,” will spread Rogers’ message of compassion and kindness—something we should all be doing in today’s divisive and disdainful climate.

Rollins is an especially important place to do so because this is where Rogers grew from a student to a talented musician, and on to a national symbol of compassion, service, and love.

Choir students and alumni will sing pieces from Rogers’ opera, “Josephine, the Short-necked Giraffe,” in which Josephine feels lonely because she is different. Listeners can feel the essence of Rogers imprinted on the libretto, especially at the end, when she realizes that she is loved. 

This is one of Rogers’ most valued themes: we all go through difficult moments, but all of us still deserve happiness. 

As a transgender woman, I face many challenges and insecurities, but then I remember Rogers’ idea that everyone matters. I realize that I can have a happy life surrounded by those who love me by letting love and friendship become my guiding light, like Rogers did.

Rogers has left a legacy of love and music at Rollins, and I think it is important to celebrate his life with music and joy. I believe that singing his songs can be a powerful reminder to reconsider our biases and feelings of disdain toward people who are different.

Every time my professors recount stories of Rogers, they portray him as a person who found importance in caring for and loving one another while remaining hopeful.

The music department has worked arduously to prepare three performances in commemoration of Rogers.The sense of community and family in our music department illustrates Rogers’ believe in friendship and service. 

These pillars are what help us give the audience a high-quality show. From building a stage by hand to writing arrangements and singing them with spirit, everyone has shared their talents in a Rogers-style collaboration to create this magnificent production.

As a music student and a member of the choir, it means a lot to me to perform Rogers’ songs with my peers and to bring happiness and compassion to our audience.

There will be many musical treats for concert attendees, so come sing with us.

Performances of the show will take place on Friday, Nov. 8 at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday, Nov. 9 at 5 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. in the Tiedtke Concert Hall, inside the Keene Music Building.

Tickets are $10, available from the Rollins Box office. Call 407.646.2145 or find them online.

Rollins faculty, staff, and students receive free admission, but they should pre-order their tickets in case these unique performances sell out.

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