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Friends of Mister Rogers Hope For a Speedy Delivery Into Songwriters Hall of Fame for Beloved Personality on His 95th Birthday

by Rich and Laura Lynch

GRAMMY and Emmy winning music producer - Dennis Scott and Friends celebrated the music of Fred Rogers at an industry event held at Steinway Piano Gallery (Fred's choice piano was Steinway) in Nashville, Tennessee on March 20, 2023. The party showcased special musical performances by country singer-songwriter Teea Goans, singer-songwriter & guitar virtuoso Parker Hastings and studio vocalist Gary Janney.


Steinway Nashville was the perfect choice for this fabulous program.

The fete took place on what would have been Fred Rogers' 95th birthday and it was also commemorating the reissue of a special deluxe version of Thank You, Mister Rogers: Music & Memories. Originally released in 2019, the collection featured recordings from music icons such as Micky Dolenz, Sandi Patty, Vanessa Williams, Jim Brickman, Jon Secada, Lee Greenwood, Rita Wilson, Tom Bergeron, The Cowsills, Jaci Velasquez, Kellie Pickler, Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis Jr. The deluxe set contains a newly recorded version of "Won't You Be My Neighbor" by Parker Hastings who added a Chet Atkins feel to the original theme song. The reissue also includes artist interviews along with track commentary.

"During the making of Fred's album I had the opportunity to speak with people from all walks of life," Scott said. "Everyone agrees that we need Mister Rogers now more than ever. They miss him as well as his music." Fred Rogers was an author, producer, and Presbyterian minister best known as the creator, showrunner, and host of the TV program Mister Rogers' Neighborhood which ran from 1968 to 2001. The show was educational, entertaining and although aimed at young children occasionally addressed tough topics.


Producer Dennis Scott is helping Mister Rogers get wider recognition for his songwriting.

The Steinway Piano Gallery (4285 Sidco Drive, Nashville, TN) has a spectacular showroom of grand pianos along with some smaller keyboards. They also have a dedicated recital room which was used to celebrate Mr. Rogers birthday on the 20th. Light refreshments and cake were served during the presentation. Dennis Scott armed with a Gibson acoustic sang "Won't You Be My Neighbor" with a few creative changes to suit the occasion including shout outs to folks from out of town.

A number of videos were shared including remarks from Nashville's Mayor - John Cooper but I think folks were more excited to see Mr. McFeely on screen as many remembered him from Mister Roger's Neighborhood. He shared that Fred was generally very patient with people but not as much with technology - so when things went wrong which they can on a TV show, Fred would go to the piano to play out his frustrations.


Country artist Teea Goans told her personal story of interacting with Mister Rogers.

Teea Goans said that the song "It's You I Like" is still one of her favorites and her rendition was moving. Parker Hastings on guitar put an imaginative spin on "Won't You Be My Neighbor". Gary Janney sang a heartfelt "I Think of You", another tune penned by Fred. We learned that Mr. Rogers wrote over 200 songs that were featured on his beloved show. Lastly, we were treated to a video that featured artist and individual interviews including compelling commentary from children.

Scott is a passionate supporter of the music of Mr. Rogers. Dennis lobbied and succeeded in getting a special entry about Fred Rogers read into the Congressional Record. Dennis along with others are currently pushing to have Fred inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame. He mentioned this at the presentation and asked people to sign the petition which can be found at Change.org.

"After producing two albums featuring Fred Rogers' music, I have developed a deep appreciation for his songwriting skills," said Scott. "If you look closely at his tunes, you can see what a lyrical craftsman he was. And his choice of chords is more complex than one might expect to hear in any "children's" song. That's the magic of Mister Rogers. He never talked down to kids - musically or otherwise. His songs have messages for all ages and his composing is as sophisticated as many of our great American writers. There's no doubt in my mind that he belongs in The Songwriters Hall of Fame."


Parker Hastings picked out a new rendition of the classic theme song.

Like Mr. Rogers, Dennis is well-respected in the children's music industry. Dennis started young with an acting role on Broadway at age seven. As an adult he toured with the New Christy Minstrels (playing upright bass and singing). Scott's novelty tune "Captain Kirk's Disco Trek" led to his first serious foray into children's music and a Grammy for "Sesame Country." The producer has remained active ever since.

He has also served as the Music Director on a number of TV shows such as the Emmy award winning, "BJ's Teddy Bear Club". Scott's music has also been performed by a wide range of artists including Alison Krauss, Amy Grant, The Muppets, Ricky Scaggs and more. Lastly, Dennis is a member of The WannaBeatles who play in around the Nashville region.


Happy Birthday Mister Rogers!

Related Links: For more information on MISTER ROGERS and the other organizations mentioned please visit the following links - Thank You, Mister Rogers | Mister Rogers | Dennis Scott | Steinway Nashville


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