On October 19 Northwest Catholic High School alumnus and acclaimed tenor Fran Rogers returned to his alma mater to address students. Rogers spoke at the school's semi-annual honors breakfast and conducted a master class with the school's choir.
Mr. Rogers began his day before sunrise. He was busy in his hometown of Boston the evening prior as he sang the National Anthem for the Celtics/Bucks game in the TD Garden. Although Rogers needed to be in West Hartford by 7:30am the following morning, he admitted he appreciates his seat on the court floor. It didn't take long to realize Fran Rogers loves a game as he referenced all his favorite teams in his conversations throughout the morning.
After NWC students who earned "first honors" last spring enjoyed breakfast in the school's dining hall, Fran spoke to the eager students. He opened his speech with self deprecating humor, admitting he was invited to this special breakfast only once during his tenure at NWC. From there he continued to reminisce about his failures and feeble attempts as a high school student. Fran was a self-proclaimed "mess." It's hard to believe someone so accomplished today could have been on shaky ground only 15 years ago, but that's precisely what Rogers confessed.
When he entered NWC as a freshman, Rogers set his sights on playing basketball, being a star trumpeter, and doing just about anything other than singing, which his big brother had excelled at during his time at the school. Alas, Rogers was cut from the basketball team, rejected from the jazz band, and unsure if he'd ever find his place. But that is precisely what Rogers did. He hung up his basketball sneakers, jumped at the chance to play mellophone, stirred up enough confidence to audition (again!) for the concert choir, and found himself accepting invitation after invitation to sing the National Anthem at home games.
In case his audience missed the theme, Rogers made it plain: "I was rejected, I got a lot of no's, and I haven't even mentioned my dating life." When his listeners stopped chuckling, he drove home the point: "What I learned at Northwest Catholic is to try again. This school," he concluded, "literally helped me find my voice."
After teaching a master class with the choir, Rogers was on the road to his busy career in Boston. His upcoming performances include Art in Solitro's Triangle, Rodolfo in Puccini's La Boheme, and his Symphony Hall debut singing a collection of songs by Pavel Haas and Gideon Klein. He is a regular national anthem soloist for Boston sports teams including the Celtics, Red Sox, and Patriots, having recently performed for an audience of over 12 million on ESPN's Monday Night Football.
For more information and details on upcoming performances, please visit franrogersmusic.com.