Roderic Wayne Bronaugh was a musical talent who shared his gift with a multitude of people, locally, nationally and abroad.
How do you say goodbye to someone who has offered so many things to so many people in so many ways? In all those things, music is the common denominator (and, to some cooking!). Home going celebrations were held for ‘Rod’ on Sunday, November 20, at Clark Memorial United Methodist Church and on November 21 at St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Church after he fulfilled his life’s mission and departed this life on November 14.
Reflecting on Roderic’s life, one would remember him as a big-hearted friend, son, brother and uncle who dearly loved God, his family, music and friends.
He was born in Nashville on July 18, 1955 to Rufus William Bronaugh, Sr. and the late Grace Nelson Bronaugh. Rod was baptized at an early age at St. Vincent de Paul.
How did he begin his life in music? As a young child, Rod sat under the piano while his sister practiced. It was then he discovered that he could play by ear. He had a sincere love for music, and because of this love, he was allowed access to the organ in the church at the age of 10 while he took piano lessons from his mentor, Leonard Morton. His sister would hide her head when he started to ‘play’ at the church, hoping no one knew the connection as his gift was not yet quite perfected. However, Fr. Kenneth was extremely proud that this young boy devoted his time to ‘playing’ for Mass.
The results of Mr. Morton’s work were evident in Rod’s success in music throughout his entire life. He organized singing groups in high school, one of which was called The Togethernistics. When he attended college, he organized The Natural Experience. He later received bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Tennessee State University in music. He developed and cultivated his musical career in musical education in Nashville, New Jersey and New York school districts. Early in his career he created a show on the local PBS station, The Magic Music Man, serving as an introductory class to music for children. “We had to watch this every day in class,” said Kim, his niece.
He soon took on a career in performing and was known as Rod Wayne in the music industry. He worked with the Bobby Jones Choir, traveling nationally and internationally, recording and performing and even reached the ‘Top Dog’ level during Amateur Night at the Apollo.
In 1990, Rod replaced the original lead singer for the legendary R&B show group, Blue Magic. As Blue Magic was known for its smooth ballads such as ‘Sideshow,’ Rod had a falsetto voice that kept the girls screaming! He travelled the world with the group until 2004. He then returned to Nashville and returned to teaching music at St. Vincent de Paul School along with several other activities while working at local churches for summer youth camps producing musicals with children along with other special projects involving a variety of individuals and organizations.
As his studies focused on the organizing of a Boy’s Choir, he was offered a position at Tennessee State University as the Community Academy of Music and Arts director. He had boy’s choirs at St. Vincent, the Nashville Inner City Exceptional Boys Choir (NICE) and the Community Academy of Music and Arts (CAMA) Boys Choir.
During that time, he also seemed to miss the collaboration of a singing group and organized another group that he called Majik. Majik continued to perform until 2015.
Rod also found time to collaborate with Mr. Morton whenever he needed assistance for the national and regional conferences held for the brothers of Kappa Alpha Psi of which they both were dedicated members. As late as October 30, 2016, Rod attended a Kappa gathering at Morris Brown in Atlanta, Ga.
One would wonder how he had time for friends, family and cooking, all of which he loved as much as music. With a life that solely used his gift of music to make a living, Rod never seemed to tire from tickling the piano keys. He often offered to have individuals come to his home to learn a song, rehearse, practice vocal exercises (along with some food), rehearse choirs, etc. And, with a special place in his heart for youth, his nieces and nephews were inspired and encouraged to develop their talents and to pursue their dreams, especially if those plans involved music.
Rod served as minister of music at St. Vincent de Paul and at Clark Memorial UMC for decades. Rod had many things remaining to be done. He was scheduled to prepare music for Midnight Mass at St. Vincent this year; the CAMA Boys Choir was to perform in December; and many other things were on his busy agenda. However, our plans are not God’s plans. And His plans are greater. Rod’s work was done, undoubtedly, as a “good and faithful servant.”
He was given his rest here on earth and called to the place that God has prepared for him—no doubt somewhere among the singing angels.
Roderick Wayne Bronaugh will be missed at Clark Memorial UMC
by Wanda Clay
Roderick Bronaugh was affectionately known to Clark Memorial United Methodist Church as simply ‘Rod.’ To others in the entertainment business, he is known as ‘Rod Wayne.’
Throughout his life, Rod has been involved with music. Many people have come into contact with Rod by way of a plethora of variations utilizing some form of music. He was a performer, a musician, a teacher, a tutor, a band manager, a director, a soloist—and a music legend.
When Rod left this earth on November 14, 2016, he left behind many musical projects that he continued to pursue until his last day.
“We are truly saddened by the loss of Rod,” said the president of the Imani Choir. “The word, ‘we’ reflects many more people than the administration, members and choirs at Clark Memorial.”
At Clark, Rod was the minister of music and he took on every task involving music for every occasion while maintaining choir rehearsals and Sunday morning worship services that included his directing of a different choir each Sunday, the congregational singing, funerals and other special occasions.
We are saddened and will miss Rod’s smiles, his frowns, his interesting way of walking (or should I say, strolling from his position in the musical corner), his extremely humble attitude concerning his musical resume, and his question whenever I saw him of “what y’all eating?” Yet we are overjoyed that he is certain to continue to make music in heaven.
Although we will miss his physical presence, we will forever feel his spiritual presence from the choir stand and around Clark Memorial Church.
Rod’s last rehearsal with the Imani choir was the song, ‘Better,’ and we are pleased that he will feel no more pain. Now all the demands of his time and talent have been made better as he dwells with the maker and the one who gave him his great gift of music.