Local Educators Help Coker Build First Instrumental Ensemble

For more information, contact Barb Steadman - 843.857.4199

Hartsville, S.C. – April 4, 2012 – For the first time in the institution’s history, students, faculty, staff and community members can participate in an instrumental ensemble at Coker College.

The new band, a credit-bearing course for Coker students, begins this fall and will be directed by Steve Rogers and Penny Miller Rogers, husband and wife educators with 70 years of combined experience leading music ensembles in the Pee Dee Region.

“This new instrumental ensemble, in addition to the three new vocal ensembles, announced earlier this semester, represents a vital evolution for Coker’s music program,” said Coker College Associate Professor of Music and Coordinator of the Music Program William Carswell.  “They will provide an unprecedented array of performance options for our students and will bring music lovers in the community more opportunities to enjoy excellent concerts in Hartsville.”

“Mr. Rogers was my high school band director,” said Robbie Gainey, a sophomore music education major, who is especially enthusiastic about the expansion.  “He and Mrs. Rogers are going to usher in a new era for the Coker music program.  I believe with their leadership we will build a strong instrumental ensemble and draw more talented musicians to Coker.”

“We’re really excited about working together to build this new program,” said Miller Rogers, who currently teaches as an adjunct music education instructor for the College.  “Coker students are high-energy and reliable, just a cut above.”

“The specific literature we perform will naturally depend on the instrumentation we are able to assemble,” said Rogers, “but I anticipate that we’ll cover a full range of genres, from classical and modern to jazz and popular arrangements.”

Rogers will work principally on the podium and take the lead with such things as instrumentation and literature selection.  Miller Rogers will assist as needed with directing but will mainly concentrate her efforts on providing individual and sectional instruction.

Rogers has 36 years of experience as a director of marching, concert and jazz bands in South Carolina schools, serving as site chairman for the South Carolina Band Directors Association Concert and Solo and Ensemble Festivals. He has performed as singer, trombonist and bassist in church, civic and private ensembles and has served as interim choir director at churches in Hartsville and Sumter, S.C.  He teaches beginning band in Florence, S.C., and performs with the Hartsville Chamber Ensemble vocal group.  He also performs as a bassist for the Florence Jazz Messengers and for After Dark, a jazz quartet.

Originally from Gastonia, N.C., Miller Rogers graduated from Hunter Huss High School and earned a Bachelor of Music Education degree from East Carolina University in Greenville, N.C. Before retiring in 2010, she served as band director at Chesterfield-Ruby Middle School in Chesterfield, S.C.  She previously taught in Sumter, Hartsville and Horry County, S.C., and Sampson County, N.C. Since her retirement from public school teaching, Miller Rogers has been an adjunct professor in music education at Coker and serves as a mentor for young music educators through mentoring projects sponsored by the American School Band Directors Association and Phi Beta Mu.  She also enjoys playing flute as often as possible, performing in area churches and on selected programs with the Florence Symphony Orchestra.

Through the department of dance, music and theater, which has been identified as a growth center in the College’s recently approved five-year strategic plan, Coker offers a major in music with concentrations in voice, piano and musical theater as well as a major in music education with a choral/vocal or piano emphasis. Coker also offers a major in theater with concentrations in performance or technical theater, and a major in dance with concentrations in performance/choreography and movement analysis/therapies.

As an institution with 50 programs of study, 14 NCAA Division II programs (with two more slated to begin by 2013), and more than 30 student organizations, Coker takes enormous pride in its ability to offer personalized learning, where students can customize their own education through double majors or self-designed majors, studying abroad, completing internships and becoming involved in campus life.

For information about the Wind Ensemble, contact Penny and Steve Rogers at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . For information about other new music ensembles, contact Carswell at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . For information about admission to Coker College, visit http://www.coker.edu/future-students.html.





Coker College readies undergraduates for personal and professional success through a distinctive four-year program that emphasizes a practical application of the liberal arts as well as hands-on and discussion-based learning within and beyond the classroom. Coker is ranked among the “Best Colleges” in the South by U.S. News & World Report as well as The Princeton Review. Located in Hartsville, S.C., Coker is within two hours of the cultural, financial and recreational resources of Charlotte, Columbia, Charleston and Myrtle Beach.


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