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Omaha Black Music Hall of Fame | Jeanne Rogers
In 1934 a wunderkind was born.
, the only child of Robert and Matilda Killion, has drawn praise for her musical ability since girlhood.
, by the strictest definition, was deemed a child prodigy.
demonstrated an interest in music at the tender age of 3.
mother, recognizing the potential talent, urged her
husband to buy a piano for their daughter.
purchased a piano on a layaway plan.
By age 8, Jeanne
was playing for her
church’s Sunday school program.
Two years later, she
was singing alto and playing the piano for the junior choir.
trained for years as a classical pianist, stunning recital audiences with virtuosic performances.
attention to America’s original art form.
was amazing listeners with her
deft jazz pianistics and her
unforgettable vocal styling.
A promising career in either jazz or classical music was hers for the asking.
chose the path of American art music.
In 1956 Jeanne Rogers joined the Cliff Dudley Quartet as its singer.
Eventually she became the ensemble’s pianist.
Along the way Jeanne returned to school, at her mother’s prodding, and earned a bachelors degree in general education.
By the early 1960's, Jeanne
was ready to lead her
own jazz trio.
The group she
started performed in Omaha and toured the Midwest and Great Lakes area.
Jeanne, the gifted singer and pianist, was on the verge of fulfilling the promise of a musical career.
But early on, her
journey reached a crossroads.
mother was finding it increasingly difficult to manage the daughter’s five children alone--Mother Matilda desperately needed help.
tour or returning to Omaha was really not a choice.
did what a loving, caring, responsible mother would do.
musical career on hold and came home to raise her
children--all of which are musically gifted as well.
Jeanne became a school teacher.
She also earned a masters degree in elementary education.
Then she left the classroom and became a school administrator.
Jeanne went on to become the principal at Druid Hill School, from which she retired after 25 years in the Omaha Public School system.
has no regrets about the turns her
career path took.
lifework of music and education, together with a wonderful sense of humor, she
has literally touched the lives of hundreds of Omaha youth.
is constantly reminded of the positive effect she
has had on her
Jeanne is still active in the community and is a member of C.A.C.E. (Caring and Concerned Educators).
Moreover, Jeanne works part time at the Solomon's Girl Center, where she teaches music and is an advocate for a sewing program.
Jeanne also plays the piano and organ for the Episcopal Church of the Resurrection every Sunday.
gives piano lessons two days a week at Schmitt’s Music.
In 2000, her son Ron E. produced his mother’s long awaited first solo CD, Jeanne Rogers
the Late Show.
hasn't lost a step, as is quite evident on the album.