Walkway star to honor late pianist Bob Rogers

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Bob Rogers plays the piano during a Music Theatre of Denton rehearsal of its final summer community musical “Way North of Ordinary" Tuesday, July 7, 2009 at the Denton Civic Center.

Late Wednesday afternoon, the beloved late Denton pianist Bob Rogers will be honored with a star in Denton’s small walk of fame outside of the Campus Theatre.

Arts enthusiasts will gather at the busy downtown theater to celebrate Rogers, a former professor emeritus of the University of North Texas College of Music who donated more hours than could be counted accompanying the performers in shows by local nonprofit performing arts companies.

Mike Barrow, the managing director of Denton Community Theatre, the company that maintains and manages the Campus Theatre, said the 18-inch by 18-inch five-pointed stars signify a $10,000 donation.

“This is actually [bought] by a group of people who, very soon after Bob passed away, started talking about it and then people started coming by the theater and dropping off checks in Bob’s name,” Barrow said.

Monday afternoon rains delayed the installation of the stone star, Barrow said, so the ceremony will have the star set up on a table for well-wishers to see and photograph.

Barrow said people came by the downtown theater to drop off $20 bills, while others wrote $1,000 checks to show their affection for Rogers.

Rogers was a professor emeritus and an alumnus of the University of North Texas. He died at the age of 91 on May 14 last year. Rogers began his teaching career at UNT in 1939, when the school was still the North Texas State Teachers College. He taught piano pedagogy and applied piano from 1948 to 1984 and served as the assistant dean in the College of Music from 1969 to 1975.

But Rogers was best known as a generous volunteer for the Denton performing arts scene.

He often volunteered to play at the Denton Benefit League Charity Ball and was a longtime member of the Trammell Group, a Denton troupe of performers who sang parodies by local writer and humorist Donna Trammell.

Rogers was an accompanist for the group — and often bantered with the performers during shows.

Last spring, UNT honored Rogers by naming a series of piano recitals in his honor.

The $10,000 will benefit the Campus Theatre Contingency Fund, a line in the budget that keeps the historical building in shape for its busy schedule. The theater is in use nearly every day of the week for 51 weeks a year. Barrow said the Campus Theatre goes dark for one week during the winter holidays.

The Campus Theatre was renovated for the performing arts in the mid-1990s, and Denton Community Theatre has supervised the first of some costly repairs.

Last summer, the company replaced two air conditioning units. Barrow said more repairs — the roof and carpet replacements — are in line.

“And we almost always get at least one phone call from someone who wants to see if they can sneak in a rehearsal,” Barrow said.

The star dedication will be followed by a reception. Longtime stage colleagues of Rogers, Peggy Capps and Kay Lamb, will provide refreshments. Daisy Rogers, Bob Rogers’ widow, will make egg salad sandwiches — her late husband’s favorite treat. Barrow said the company will also serve complimentary chardonnay.

“Because, as you know, you never sat down to visit with Bob without having a little chardonnay,” Barrow said.

LUCINDA BREEDING can be reached at 940-566-6877and via Twitter @LBreedingDRC.

STAR DEDICATION

What: Denton Community Theatre honors the late Bob Rogers with a sidewalk star.

When: 4:30 p.m. Wednesday

Where: Campus Theatre, 214 W. Hickory St.

Details: To honor the late pianist with a donation, call Denton Community Theatre at 940-382-7014, ext. 3, or make checks payable to the Campus Theatre Contingency Fund and mail them to the Denton Community Theatre at the Campus Theatre, 214 W. Hickory St., Denton, TX. 76201.


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