A university orchestra and choir will perform the world premiere next month of an 11-movement composition that will serve as a tribute to the late Fred Rogers, known to millions as Mister Rogers.
Slippery Rock University’s 25-piece orchestra and 65-member choir will present “In Memoriam: A Requiem for Mr. Rogers,” a one-hour piece that includes English, Hebrew and Latin lyrics, poetry and dramatic readings.
Luke Mayernik, 21, the music director at St. Justin Church in the Mount Washington neighborhood of Pittsburgh, began to write the composition a few months after Rogers died Feb. 27 of stomach cancer at 74. He did so at the urging of St. Justin parishioner Maggie Stewart, who played Mayor Maggie on “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.”
“I believe Mister Rogers was a modern-day prophet. He was living gospel,” Mayernik said. “This piece is not about me. It’s about the singers. It’s about the people involved. It’s about the music. It’s about humanity — a belief in humanity.”
The tribute to Rogers will debut Feb. 29 at St. Justin Church, followed by a performance March 2 at Butler County Community College.