Matt Rogers was 5 years old when he got his first laugh.
“I was addicted to making people laugh. I wanted to be a comedian,” he confesses.
Nearly 40 years later and this passionate, kind, and funny auctioneer/performer is still lighting up a room in hopes of making a difference.
Before this California native commanded attention on stage at gala events, he put his 6’5” frame to work as an offensive lineman for the University of Washington. After school, he used his vocal cords as a sports broadcaster covering top college teams. In 2010, he moved to California and big things began to happen, literally. He was cast as the host of the Discovery Channel’s Really Big Things, a show that spotlighted big things like a huge hydrogen partial collider in Germany. He hosted Lifetime’s Coming Home, a program reuniting military families. He made appearances on The Price is Right and Family Feud and was a finalist on American Idol. In 2021, a dream came true when the Spring Hill, Tennessee resident beat out 200 contenders to become the official “voice” of the Tennessee Titans, Rogers’ favorite home team.
“I want to people to feel joy, give more and laugh more. I’m all about making the room better,” he says.
He’s also about making his family feel better. He and his wife, Teri, have four children Brayden, 16, Mason, 14, Samantha, 8, and Brooklyn, an infant. The three youngest were born with Cystic Fibrosis (CF), an uncurable disorder that causes severe damage to the lungs, digestive system and other organs in the body. Rogers was at a 2009 fundraiser for CF when he was first asked to emcee.
“I wasn’t sure what I was doing, but I got the crowd involved, and they had a blast,” Rogers says. Clearly Rogers was doing something right. The event raised three times as much as the previous year. Soon, Make A Wish Foundation and Susan Komen Foundation were calling and Rogers’ career as a professional auctioneer was launched.
More than a decade later, Rogers has hosted more than 1,000 events including. Since 2019, after hosting Crescendo several years running, you could say he has been the voice of Sinfonia Gulf Coast. Whether hosting a TV show, announcing a football play, or auctioneering, Rogers loves to entertain.
“I love being on stage,” Rogers says. “I was always the kid trying out for the church and school plays. I was singing victory opera in my jock strap in the locker room after the games. Though I love all music from Christian to rap, I’m not a musician. I am a performer.”
As much as he loves the spotlight, that’s not what keeps this big-hearted emcee coming back.
“I love people,” he says. “I love to show people how to have a good time. Whether you are a billionaire or have a $200 budget, you are looking for a good time — and both of you deserve all I have.”
Rogers returns to host a range of annual events from small town spaghetti suppers to A-list celebrity galas. But Sinfonia has a special place in his heart.
“I am impressed with Sinfonia. The team, starting with Demetrius Fuller, is first class. How you do anything is how you do everything and the way he treats me, the orchestra kids, people at events — everyone gets first class treatment,” Rogers says.
Rogers has traveled the world hosting events and he believes Sinfonia events are set apart.
“The Gulf Coast community is unlike any in America. It’s very special,” Rogers says. “There aren’t many Sinfonias. If you want to see the most influential people and decision makers in the Panhandle, you need to go to Sinfonia events. When you have an opportunity to be around the most influential people who are looking for what they can give versus what they can get, it’s a gamechanger. On top of that, because the most influential people are there are going to get a 5-star experience from the food to the entertainment.”