FIVE FIRSTS: David Andrews Rogers

October 14th, 2016, 9:30 am by Greg
David Andrews Rogers (photo: Stephen Mosher)

David Andrews Rogers (photo: Stephen Mosher)

NAME: David Andrews Rogers, but most people just call me DAR. Originally from Texas. Now based in New York City (for the past 25 years or so).
BAND AFFILIATION: Currently Music Director and Conductor for the Broadway National Tour of “An American in Paris”
INSTRUMENT: Conductor, but I also play the piano, used to play the organ, played the trumpet when I was in school and studied the cello for a few months many years ago.

1. THE FIRST ALBUM I EVER BOUGHT WAS … Gosh, it had to have been an original Broadway cast album, but I have no idea which one. But my album, later cassette, later CD library has always been impossible to categorize. Everything from the Beatles to Led Zeppelin to Broadway to classical to Kiss to Streisand to Shirley Bassey to Dead Can Dance with a healthy side order of Reba McEntire and Dolly Parton to remind me of my small-town Texas roots.

2. THE FIRST CONCERT THAT I EVER SAW WAS … The Carpenters. Definitely. They were remarkable. Her voice was astonishing live. And their music was the soundtrack of our lives in the late ’70s. And each song seemed like a perfect little one-act play filled with layers and emotion and longing. I was blown away. Plus, I got to meet them, briefly. I was starstruck, of course, but also struck by how nice and normal and down-to-earth they seemed. I wanted to spend my life surrounded by people like them. I wanted to BE people like them.

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3. THE FIRST MUSICAL INSTRUMENT I EVER OWNED OR PLAYED WAS … Piano. Definitely. I started studying the summer before first grade – perhaps primarily to channel some of the inexhaustible supply of energy I seemed to have. And I never practiced. I played. Sometimes hours a day. But I didn’t think of it as practice. As a chore. I thought of it as playing. And I loved every moment of it. Still do.

4. THE FIRST SONG THAT I EVER PERFORMED IN PUBLIC WAS … My first piano teacher was also the organist at our church, and she let me play the Offertory at one Sunday night service. I have a vague memory of the piece of music, but the correct spelling of the name escapes me. But it was a game changer for me. I was hooked.

5. THE FIRST BAND I WAS EVER IN WAS … Well, though not exactly a “band,” the first real organized group of musicians with whom I played was the pit orchestra of a summer stock theater production of Cole Porter’s “Kiss Me Kate.” I was 12 years old. And, I was hooked. For life. Theater – in one form or another – is really all I’ve ever done since. Well, theater and nightclubs and bands and symphony pops orchestras and recordings. And currently, on a nightly basis, I get to conduct the classic music of the Gershwins in the stunning Broadway National Tour of “An American in Paris.” And I’m grateful for every note of it!

David Andrews Rogers steps into the orchestra pit at Proctors in Schenectady to conduct the orchestra for the performances of “An American in Paris,” which opens on Friday (October 14) and runs through Friday, October 21.