New Director of Music

Hello there!  Joel P. Rogers here.  I’m your new Director of Music and I want to take a chance to introduce myself.  I am so excited about becoming a part of your congregation and family.  I hope that we will be able to make great music together and lift our voices in praise to a loving God.  I should give you a little background about my journey to here and how my life has been blessed over the years.

I started as a very young musician in church when I was thirteen.  I began playing the piano for all services at Northwoods Baptist Church in Walkertown, North Carolina.  Our family moved to another Baptist church after a couple of years and I also played the piano for that church until I went to college.  My first year of college I spent at Brevard College, which began my lifelong love of these mountains.  At Brevard College, I was a music major with an emphasis in voice, piano and organ!  What a bad idea!  I spent the entire year in a practice room and had very little free time.  I transferred to Appalachian State University and continued as a church music major, but there was a change for me on the horizon.

During high school, I spent every minute that I wasn’t practicing piano at the local community theatre.  It was something I loved and had a feeling I was good at it.  I left school and began working as a theatrical musical director and actor wherever I found a job, and eventually ended up in based in Florida.  I spent a few years living the life of a professional actor, but also knew I needed to return to school to finish my degree.  While based in
Florida, I was the Organist/Choirmaster for St. John’s Episcopal Church in Naples and even though I was a wandering minstrel, I always had a church home.

Eventually, I returned to school to begin my real career.  I always knew that my first love was music, and my choosing to not make it my primary career was perhaps the best decision I ever made.  It always kept my church and my music special for me and I never had to let it be my “job.” I moved from Florida and finished my undergraduate degree (BFA) in Musical Theatre Performance at Northern Kentucky University.  I then moved to
Memphis for graduate school and finished my terminal degree (MFA) in theatrical direction with an emphasis in Musical Theatre (no real surprise there)!

I first taught at Bethel College, a small Cumberland Presbyterian college in Tennessee, and after two years, took a position in Chico, California at California State University.  I spent most of my teaching years there, served as Chair of our Department of Theatre for many years, and served as Dean at Cabrillo College in Santa Cruz, California.  I moved back to North Carolina five years ago and taught at Mars Hill University for four years.  I have recently retired from teaching and have started on another path.  I am currently finishing a few pre-requisite classes for the Associate Degree in Nursing program at AB-Tech.  Even as I type this, just a few hours ago, finished my last presentation for Anatomy & Physiology II, taught by your own Bill Sanderson.

And again, all along the way, the constant in my life was being a church musician.  I served for eleven years at St. John’s in Chico, California and prior to that was at Faith Lutheran Church in Chico. I served as Director of Music at Grace Episcopal in Asheville, NC and now I have found my way to you.  Here to serve your congregation, your mission, and your community.  I feel fortunate to have been met with such openness and I feel that this
opportunity is truly God given.  I look forward to worshiping with you, and look forward to introducing you to my husband, Rich.

So, that’s me…in a nutshell.  Please, always feel free to come to me with your suggestions or just to say “howdy.”  I’m looking forward to meeting with all of you and would love to sit down, have a meal, or just have coffee.  I am hoping to get a handbell choir up and going in the fall and if you are interested, please feel free to let me know.  If you are intimidated by the handbells, or music in general, please come to me and ask for help.  I
will do anything possible to make you feel at home.  If you want to find your way to the choir, also, please feel free. I will help you in any way possible. God is pleased when anyone lifts their voice!

In the meantime, please come and introduce yourself to me!  Tell me what hymn you miss singing, or what hymn you want to hear…I’m open to all suggestions.  If you have a special musical gift (banjo, violin, washtub), please let me know.  I would love to have you participate in worship, if you feel comfortable.

I can’t wait to make music together!

Joel P. Rogers