If things get busy in Molly Rogers' home and she needs a quiet place to practice her violin, she can just head down to the family business:
Rogers Funeral Home in Frankfort.
"A lot of the rooms are very echoy," Rogers says of the home, located below her family's apartment. "They can be great places to practice."
Asked if being in the funeral home is creepy, she said, "I can walk past the deceased without blinking." But she doesn't play or practice in the funeral home when bodies are there.
In addition to practice space, the family business can be a great conversation starter.
"A few years ago, I had a new stand mate, and we didn't have much to talk about," Rogers said. "Then I said, 'I live in a funeral home,' and his eyes got real wide and he said, 'No way!'"
In reality, there's a lot to say about Rogers aside from her interesting abode.
The 17-year-old violinist will perform as a soloist Sunday night (Nov. 5) with the Central Kentucky Youth Orchestra, in which she also serves as the concertmaster. The solo is a result of her winning the orchestra's concerto competition, a prize Rogers (pictured, left, in a photo by Janet Worne) also collected three years ago.
"She won when she was 14," CKYO music director William Prinzing Briggs says. "She played beautifully, and even then, it was like she was ready to play anywhere she needed to."
Rogers started playing in a Suzuki program at age 5, and began studying with Tze Yean Lim in the preparatory department at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music in 1999. That's meant seven years of weekly, four-hour round trips from Frankfort to Cincinnati for 90-minute lessons. In addition, she has been spending her Mondays commuting to Lexington for Central Kentucky Youth Orchestra rehearsals.
It's paid off for Rogers in such solo shots as performing with the Louisville Orchestra, prestigious summer music institutes and appearing on NPR's From the Top, a young musicians showcase. Her quartet, the Amici String Quartet, won Louisville's Macauley Chamber Music Competition the past two years.
Now she is working with a new bass quintet since the other members of the Amici Quartet graduated.
As she and the group practice in the back corner of the Singletary Center for the Arts rehearsal room Monday, Rogers was focused on the score at hand. There was little evidence that she was less than a week away from a big solo turn. And the first movement of Camille Saint-Saens' Concerto No. 3 isn't light lifting.
"It's an intelligently, brilliantly crafted piece of work," Briggs says. "Molly is one of few young violinists able to handle it."
Rogers said, "I like something that takes effort," adding that she favors intense, romantic pieces.
The home-schooled teen is looking at colleges now, and is interested in a smaller school. But Cincinnati and the University of Kentucky are possibilities. Her two older sisters have arts careers: Doherty Reynolds is a graphic artist in Frankfort and Rachel Rogers is a Chicago stage manager, currently working on the Awesome '80s Prom.
And Molly intends to pursue music.
Briggs observes, "Music is just who she is, and when given the natural talent and feel for music she has, of course she'll go and explore that."
Sunday's concert is at 7 p.m. at the Lexington Opera House. Admission is $6 for the general public, $4 students and seniors and free for ages 6 and under.