Musicians young and old got an invaluable chance to rub elbows with some of the area’s best at Rochester Adams High School Tuesday night.
Rochester Community Schools Foundation presented the Jessica K. Rogers Memorial Concert for another year, a performance at the school’s auditorium featuring wind and brass quintets from the Detroit Symphony Orchestra.
The concert was provided free of charge by the Rogers Family, who have helped keep the event free and open to the public. Jessica, an Adams student, played in the wind ensemble at the school in addition to the Oakland Youth Orchestra, passed away after an accident. It was suggested to her parents that an endowment or foundation be set up.
“From the second night of her visitation, there was like 2,000 people that came and $18,000 raised from it,” said Paul Rogers, Jessica’s father. “That was the seed money [for the event].”
He recounted that the first few years, with students still at Adams that knew Jessica, flute competitions for students were held. After that, the first wind ensemble was organized, and the brass followed the year after. This year marks the 12th year that the winds have performed.
During the alternating performances, DSO members broke down into individual groups with aspiring musicians to get pointers from the experts. Clarinet players got advice on choosing reeds depending on the sound they need to make, and french horn players examined their own hand position and posture to produce a better sound.
“It isn’t often I get to work with a group of kids of such varied levels, especially after a performance,” said Ralph Skiano, the DSO’s principal clarinetist. “They get to hear us play, and hopefully it leads to more questions and curiosity about what we do.”
In addition to contributing to make the concert possible, Jessica’s father said that scholarships are provided for flute players, and instruments are purchased for RCS students.
“It’s just something to enrich the community and hopefully inspire the kids,” he said. “Music is neglected [comparatively in schools]. It increases the connections in your head. I think it’s important. Music is important.”