Ryan Rogers grew up in Monroe, Louisiana where he began learning to play the violin in the 5th grade under Ms. Johnnie Bankhead. He chose the violin because there was one in his grandad’s garage. “Grandaddy had purchased the Venetian-made Lorenzini for his son, Wesley. However it had not been played since 1938 when the 13 year-old tragically drowned in Bayou DeSiard behind their home. It’s the violin I still play.”
Ryan quickly found classical excerpts from the beginners’ Orchestral Transcriptions especially appealing – as well as baseball. He pursued both the rest of his school days culminating in his graduation from LSU with a B.S. in mathematics and an “L Club” membership in baseball having received excellent violin instruction from Dr. ‘Dinos’ Constantinides. After working as an assembler computer programmer in Houston for a year, Ryan landed a position with AT&T (dba South Central Bell) as an engineer back home in Monroe. He was naturally drawn to play in the Monroe Symphony. There as an unexpected bonus he met his future wife, Mary Hickman, who was finishing her college days at NLU. Previously Mary had come over to Jackson with Nancy Baltz to play in the Jackson Symphony. So in 1973 Ryan and Mary for the 1st time together commuted from Monroe to play in our Symphony – while still single.
Married in 1975 they briefly lived in Monroe and Nashville before settling in Clinton for the long haul in the Fall of 1976. Here they raised their 3 children, Mary started hundreds of beginning string students, and Ryan continued his career with AT&T. They both have especially fond memories of another violin-playing couple – Roger and Colleen DiGiulian – who began the orchestral program in Monroe. Through the DiGiulian’s Ryan and Mary were afforded the opportunity to play “in an orchestra” as part of their normal school experience. To them and many others it was a very special and valuable educational experience. Their hope is that we can continue to make “school orchestra” available for our children and grandchildren, as a musical legacy.