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Local singer, conductor returns to roots at Prizery

It’s a homecoming of sorts, but not the kind with covered dish and sweet tea in the fellowship hall.

No.  Dr. Eugene Rogers will return to a Halifax County stage Friday night.  After many years away, Junior, as he is affectionately called by many locals, will lead the 54-member Michigan Men’s Glee Club in a concert on stage at The Prizery in the Chastain Theatre.

Rogers called The Prizery last year and presented the idea of performing for the hometown crowd as part of an east coast tour with the longest continually performing men’s collegiate glee club in the country.  He remarked that when he took the job at Michigan, he indicated that a tour to his hometown in Virginia was high on his priority list, along with concerts in Richmond, Washington and New York and oh yes, a little side trip to China.

Rogers grew up on Bold Springs Road, South of the Dan River in Halifax County.  He sang in his church choir, school choirs at Cluster Springs Elementary and the middle and high schools. He graced the stage for many Halifax County Little Theatre musicals from “West Side Story” to “Godspell.”  From a young age, the musical talent could not be contained.  Rogers loved to sing.  He knew then that music would be his life. 

Rogers’ life has been filled with music. Before taking the position of conductor at the University of Michigan, Rogers’ work included Macalester College in Saint Paul, Minnesota, the Boys Choir of Harlem, Waubonsie Valley High School in Aurora, Illinois, and Anima Young Singers of Greater Chicago (formerly the Glen Ellyn Children’s Choir).  

At Macalester College, where he served as director of choral activities, Rogers commissioned and premiered numerous new works and began the Songs of the Earth (World Music) Concert Series.

As a singer, Rogers has performed with the World Youth Choir, The Portland Symphonic Choir, The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra Chorale and the May Festival Chorus in Cincinnati, Ohio.  Recently, he traveled to and studied the choral traditions of East Africa (Tanzania), and he published three editions of Tanzanian Choral Music under the Hal Leonard World Music Series.

The public is invited to attend the performance Friday night at 7:30 for Rogers’ homecoming.  

For tickets contact The Prizery box-office at 434-572-8339, www.prizery.  Reservations are encouraged.