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Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Sharon Rogers, leader of the Sharon Rogers Band

Last November, three members of the Sharon Rogers Band and the pilot who saved their lives in a 1946 plane crash came to Branson to launch their book, The Sharon Rogers Band.

Sharon (known in the book as Sherry) planned to come but had to bow out because of health issues. Last week Sherry left this world but will live forever in the memories of those who loved her and in her music.

I met her one time while working on the book. In October of 2007, Joyce Faulkner and I attended the Military Writers Society of America conference in San Diego. Sherry lived nearby. We made plans to meet her and interview her. I had heard so much about her from band members Florence Kuhn and Laura Daniels.

In a way, I felt like I already knew her. She was beautiful, talented, and according to the members, a great choice to lead the band. She not only led the band on stage, but also handled the managerial duties while the band performed in the Pacific as USO Camp Show #687 in 1945 and 1946.

We met for lunch and spent several hours listening to stories, asking questions and looking through old photos and newspaper clippings. We found her charming, beautiful, witty and intelligent. Her eyes lit up when she talked about the band members and the Pacific Tour. Both heartwarming and funny incidences filled her recollections of those long-ago days.

Joyce and I talked about the guts she and the other ladies possessed to pursue a life on the road as musicians in the 1940s. Whether women worked in factories, joined the service, toured with the USO, or kept families together back home, they had to be strong. We saw this strength in Sherry, and all the band members.

Like others of their generation, they answered their country's call. When asked to join the USO, they said yes. When asked to tour overseas and play for the troops, they said yes.

Sherry, I wish  you Godspeed and the chance to make music in heaven forever.

2 comments:

  1. What a great book - I hope more people learn about this story!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I have a US Army negative, probably from the Phillipins. Thought you might be interested.

    https://dl-web.dropbox.com/get/Public/img139a.jpg?w=69e16c68

    ReplyDelete