Jen Rogers was dragged “kicking and screaming” to a concert almost a decade ago that would later lead to the dream job she didn’t know she always wanted.
For a jazz and experimental Medeski Martin & Wood die-hard, and sort-of String Cheese Incident fan who worked at the Phoenix Symphony, a Phoenix Chorale show didn’t seem too interesting to Rogers. However, her co-worker’s relative was in the show, and Rogers agreed to attend.
On September 28, the Phoenix Chorale's Board of Directors announced the appointment of Rogers as its new president and CEO. This was after Rogers worked as a fill-in after the previous CEO left at the end of July 2015. She has worked with the Phoenix Chorale since 2008.
Rogers always saw herself working in music — her goal was to figure out how to help musicians make a living. So, she headed up to Northern Arizona University where she studied saxophone and music education and got really into the late-'90s Flagstaff music scene of jazz, funk, and jam bands while she got a degree in arts management.
She became an intern at the Phoenix Symphony, which later became a job, where she worked in marketing and public relations for three and a half years before doing some consulting.
“The Phoenix Chorale has a sound like no other choir I had ever heard in my life at that point,” Rogers says, describing the synchronization of singers like a flock of birds that glide together effortlessly.
“The intimacy of experiencing the human voice … is a profoundly human experience,” she explains.
In 2008, Rogers started with the Phoenix Chorale, where she focused on marketing and branding. According to a press release, she oversaw "a 99 percent increase in overall ticket sales, with a 157 percent increase in subscriptions and 79 percent increase in single tickets.” Her record promotion efforts also landed the Chorale on the Billboard charts for more than 20 weeks in 2012.
Throughout all of this, Rogers’ spirit has stayed true to that music-loving hippie from Flag. From her days at the Phoenix Symphony to today, in her “spare
“Now that I’m the CEO, I’m working on fundraising, finances, overseeing the marketing, and putting on concerts, but I’m really focused on running the business — really being kind of the main champion,” she explains. “People always think I’m a singer, but I’m not. I’ll leave that to the professionals.”
She’s excited to be part of where the Phoenix Chorale goes next, working with talented musicians and leaving a great legacy. Working with artistic director Charles Bruffy has also been an “amazing experience” for her, she says.
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“I don’t know any conductor who thinks the way he does,” she explains.
The Phoenix Chorale's 2016-17 season will open in November with the 50th Anniversary of Duke Ellington's Sacred Concert (November 12-13), A Chorale Christmas: Silent Night (December 16-20), Coro y Guitarra (March 3-5), and Mix Tape (Apr. 28-30). More information is at www.phoenixchorale.org.
Editor's Note: After this article published, Phoenix Chorale contacted New Times and requested that this article