Inside SFS

Galen Rogers ’04

Galen Rogers ’04, now a taiko drummer, Javanese gamelan, and ethnomusicology teacher as well as professional modern dancer, is never far from SFS in his thoughts. As a teacher at Marin Academy and in the World Music program at SOTA, Rogers is happy to have fulfilled an SFS classmate’s joking prophecy that he would grow up to become one of their music teachers (because of his affinity for music class). He directs San Francisco-based taiko ensemble Jiten Daiko as well, and is a member of the Balinese music and dance community Gamelan Sekar Jaya, the latter of which Doug Goodkin and James Harding also used to be members — all of which make Rogers think of the “links on the chain between teacher and student.”

“I was just reflecting today on something that Doug said about me at my 8th Grade graduation. He said that I was ‘fire under water.’ As I’ve figured out who I am and what I value…the image of ‘fire under water’ has been a sort of guiding principle. I don’t panic or show stress easily, but I’m passionate and dedicated and strong - so, ‘fire under water.’ I think this memory of Doug’s words at my graduation stands out to me so much because he saw me so clearly. It is such a privilege, and it is so grounding and so deeply validating to be seen clearly. A clear sense of self is something so valuable that we struggle for often, so it’s really special when a mentor can hand you a little nugget of self-awareness. When I’m concerned that I can’t do something, or when I make a mistake, I find strength in this sentiment. The idea of ‘fire under water’ is a foundation from which I make choices about my future.”

Posted October 31, 2018