A naturally-gifted, thoroughly trained, and highly-accomplished musician and instructor in music, who has done much, in developing and raising the standard of her department, to make the College of the Pacific one of the very best educational institutions in all the west, is R. Nella Rogers, the teacher of voice culture, and musical favorite in San Jose, where she is known as a soloist, as well as at Helen Guth Hall, where her pleasing personality makes it a pleasure to reside. She was born near Princeton, Bureau County, Ill., the daughter of Andrew Rogers. a native of England, a cabinet maker and a furniture dealer at Princeton, Ill., and also a landowner. While in Illinois, he married Miss Mary Ross Whitney, a native of Ohio. Her maternal great-grandfather came from England and settled in Maine where her grandfather, Ephraim Whitney, was born; her grandfather afterwards settled in Ohio where he was married to Miss Edith Ross, a native of the Buckeye State, a daughter of Squire Wm. Ross, who was mayor of Urichsville, Ohio, for forty years. Miss Ross was very musical and had a splendid voice much appreciated in those days and their children were all talented as musicians. Miss Rogers' mother also possessed a beautiful soprano voice and was in demand for church singing. She spent her last days in Los Angeles. She was the mother of three children, one of whom is now deceased. Edith E., a sister of our subject, is the wife of J. A. Shank, a dealer in lumber and fuel in Spokane.

As a little girl, Nella Rogers came  to Jefferson, Iowa, brought there by her mother; for her father had died three months before her birth. She attended both the common and high schools at Jefferson, and in time matriculated at the Conservatory of Music at Oberlin College, Ohio, where she studied both voice and piano; then she became a teacher of voice and piano in the Conservatory of Music of Grand Prairie Seminary at Onarga, Ill. During this period she did concert work throughout the state of Illinois. Meanwhile she made two trips to Europe; the first time she studied at Hanover and then found her way to Weimar, the classic city in which Liszt lived and taught; and there she became a pupil of Frau von Milda. Her second trip she went first to Berlin. where she studied under Georges Graziani; and in Paris she took instruction from Mme. de la Grange. Her mother meantime had married a second time to Mr. Charles Fellows Peck of New London, Conn., had removed to Fremont, Nebr.. and on her return from abroad Miss Rogers joined her mother in that city and the two immediately made preparations to come to Los Angeles, Cal., to spend the winter.

Dr. Eli McClish, who had been president of Grand Prairie Seminary, while she was a teacher there, had become president of the University of the Pacific (now the College of the Pacific) and learning that Miss Rogers was in California tendered her the position of teacher of voice, which she accepted, coming immediately and taking up her work in 1897; since 1899 she has been the head of the department of voice culture. In 1911 she studied with William Shakespeare of London, England, while that celebrated musician was teaching in Los Angeles, and in the summer of 1916, she was a pupil of Dudley Buck in New York; she also studied under Kronberg of Boston, and during 1917, 1918 and 1919, she was a student at the McBurney studios, in Chicago. How enthusiastically progressive she is may be gathered from the fact that for four consecutive years she has gone East for graduate work.

As a soloist with an exceptionally pleasing mezzo-soprano voice, Miss Rogers has been singing in the First Congregational Church in San Jose for the past nine years; and she has frequently contributed to public programs of various kinds, favoring her audiences with her talent. With practical experience in oratorio work in America, and a thorough and broad knowledge of musical conditions in the musical centers of the Old World, as well as in the United States, Miss Rogers has been of inestimable service to many an aspirant, in developing real talent, and in encouraging the ambitious to reach the highest possible goal.

From Eugene T. Sawyers' History of Santa Clara County,California,  published by Historic Record Co. , 1922. page 913


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