Most of the information on this AMP site
was researched and written by
Roger Lee Hall
Roger Lee Hall is one of most active American music specialists, working in popular, folk and classical music and media too: radio, cable television, recordings and video production.
He has written and compiled over 40 books and music collections in various subjects including music guides for Christmas music in America, Lincoln and Liberty, Choral singing from The Pilgrims to the Shakers, New England music, songwriter George Gershwin, Old-time radio, Hollywood film music, and music of the Shakers.
He grew up in New Jersey but had his first music experience singing in a glee club while a young cadet at Eastern Military Academy (E.M.A.) at what was once the magnificent OHEKA Castle of wealthy financier, Otto Hermann Kahn, who was a great supporter of opera and Broadway shows.
After attending E.M.A. for several years, Roger moved back to New Jersey. He graduated Bloomfield High School in 1960. Since he had already begun writing songs, in the high school yearbook he was listed as an "amateur songwriter."
After military service in the U.S. Army stationed in Germany, and several years working at various jobs and writing about two dozen pop songs, he attended Rutgers University
and graduated in 1970 with a B.A. degree
in Music Theory and Composition. He composed his first classical works while at Rutgers between 1968 and 1970. He studied conducting and music history with Dr. Alfred Mann, piano with Chester Fanning Smith, and composition with George Walker and Robert Nagel.
Two years later, in 1972, he was awarded his M.A. degree
in Ethnomusicology from Binghamton University.
His thesis was on Shaker music notation. He also composed several more pieces including Piano Variations on a Shaker Marching Tune, Op. 1b [recorded on the CD, Gentle Words: A Shaker Music Sampler)
He did further work in Musicology at Case Western Reserve University,
where his specialty was Shaker music and
music from earlier America.
Roger is now one of the foremost authorities on vintage American vocal music, especially from the 18th, 19th and early 20th centuries.
Also, he is the editor and compiler of numerous publications, and he has produced a series of CDs for the American Music Recordings Collection.
Over the past few years, he has compiled a series of multimedia CDs and DVDs focusing on American music subjects, including New England music, music of the Civil War Era, Shaker folk spirituals, vintage popular songs, and film music. The titles are listed in the Multimedia Americana Music Series [MAMS].
His most extensive project to date has been a Deluxe DVD with over 200 music examples titled, Preserving Our Musical Past.
In addition, Roger is an ASCAP composer with over 100 compositions and arrangements to his credit.
Roger has the following titles:
Because of his considerable accomplishments in so many areas of music, he has been listed in two highly esteemed reference volumes:
Who's Who in America
Who's Who in the World
Both of these directories are published by Marquis Who's Who®. This is what Editor-in-Chief Fred Marks wrote in his letter to Roger:
Congratulations! Based on the reference value of your outstanding achievements, Marquis Who's Who has selected your biography for inclusion in the Who's Who in America 2013 (67th Edition). First published in 1899, this renowned biographical reference director chronicles American achievement of the highest merit.
It is a testament to your dedication and hard work that you have earned a place once again amongst the country's most accomplished professionals. You should be proud of the achievements that have brought you this prestigious recognition.
Announcements and Articles
See Roger Lee Hall's official website
Composer and Songwriter
While stationed in the U.S. Army in Germany in 1961, Roger wrote his first song, "Dream World," He sang backup vocal and played bongos with the group which he named -- The Potpourris.
During the early 1960s he wrote several dozen songs but was unsuccessful in getting them produced by record companies.
He turned his attention to studying music in more depth at Rutgers University,
taking composition lessons with
and George Walker, the first Afro-American composer to receive the Pulitzer Prize for Music. He also had a consultation session with Aaron Copland.
Since 1985, Roger has been a member of ASCAP (American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers)
has composed and arranged over 100 pieces of music
piano works, chamber music,
and choral music.
© © PineTree Music
One of his compositions, "Creator God, We Give You Thanks,"
won a choral competition prize in 1993. Later he arranged this piece for solo voice and piano and titled it: "Hymn to the Environment." More information about this environmental hymn is available at PineTree Music
For several anniversary celebrations of the Old Stoughton Musical Society (the oldest choral society in the United States),
Roger composed two songs: "Peace" and "Dedication."
Both of these Stoughton songs are available on this CD: American Choral Sampler
Also, Roger composed a special song in Russian and English:
"My dareem vam nashee pyesnee"
(We give you a gift of our songs)
It was written for the Sharing A New Song Chorus from Boston to perform on their tour to Moscow, Yaroslavl, and Novgorod in Russia in 1988. His song opened the historic concert when for the first time a combined Russian and American chorus sang together in Yaroslavl.
His anti-war song, "Peace" (Op. 21) was given to the directors of Russian choirs when they visited in the U.S.
Some of his music may be heard on these CDs:
Creator God, We Give You Thanks
The Humble Heart:
24 Shaker Spirituals
If you wish to inquire about his compositions or
to commission a piece of music from him,
Since 1972, Roger Hall has presented many scholarly papers, among them are these organizations:
American Musicological Society (national/regional meetings) Communal Studies Association (national meetings)
Dublin Seminar (New England region)
Maine Statehood Conference
Religious Folk Art Conference in New York City
Shaker Seminars (various locations)
Also, he has been a consultant for such institutions as the National Geographic Society in Washington, D.C. and the Paul Revere House in Boston.
Over the past four decades, Roger has presented over 150 hundred lectures and workshops
on a variety of topics, including these titles:
- Beautiful Dreamer: The Life and Music of Stephen Foster
- Bing and Bob in Hollywood: A Centennial Tribute
- Centennial Tribute to Harold Arlen, Dorothy Fields and Jule Styne
- Charles Tomlinson Griffes: Impressionist Composer
- Hooray for Hollywood: Memorable Movie Music
- I Got Rhythm: The Genius of George Gershwin
- Lincoln and Liberty: Music of Abraham Lincoln's Time
- The Lore and Legends of New England Songs
- Music, Art and Architecture of the Shakers
- Music of George Washington's Time
- Remembering Radio: Music and Memories
- The Sidewalks of New York: Old Songs and Stories
- The Simple Gifts of Shaker Music
- Singing Stoughton: The Story of America's Oldest Choral Society
- Symbols and Symmetry: Shaker Music, Art and Architecture
Roger is available to speak about American music preservation in general,
or any of the topics listed at
Lectures and Workshops
Film Music Critic and Historian
Roger holding a Sammy Award certificiate
Since 1988, he has selected the best film music of each year for his own Sammy Awards. These awards are named after the Oscar-winning lyricist, Sammy Cahn. The categories include: Best Score, Best Song, Best Overlooked Score, Most Overrated, and occasionally also Worst Song or Score. They are now the longest-running awards chosen exclusively for film music.
The latest Sammy Awards are listed here.
Roger is a longtime film music historian and has taught film music courses in college and adult education programs.
He is a member of the International Film Music Critics Association.
Since it began in 1998, he has been the Managing Editor of Film Music Review, and has written over 500 reviews of CDs, DVDs and Books. He has also written articles for print magazines, including Film Score Monthly and Soundtrack.
In addition, he has written an informative reference book, now in its 5th edition, and available on a multi-media DVD with music examples and a video program. It is titled:
A GUIDE TO FILM MUSIC: Songs and Scores
If you wish to inquire about his consulting work
for music professionals or a lecture or workshop
on film music history, write to him at:
Poet and Writer
Roger is a published poet and has written a series of poems about his life and music, plus many haiku poems and six of them have been set to music as six haiku songs, Op. 3.
Two of his one act plays were produced and directed by him and videotaped at their first performances:
"The Grand Constitution"
Celebrating the 200th anniversaries of the U.S. Constitution and The Stoughton Musical Society Constitution, both written in 1787.
This play is in two scenes and concerns the writing of the Stoughton Musical Society's Constitution, the oldest one of any musical organization in the United States.
Music by William Brown, Francis Hopkinson, Alexander Reinagle, William Billings, and Roger Hall.
Videotaped at the Stoughton Public Library, Stoughton, Massachusetts, October 1987.
Read more at:
NOW AND THEN
"The Musical Telephone"
This play was based on a chapter from Edward Bellamy's influential utopian novel, Looking Backward (1888).
Music by Edwin Arthur Jones, Joseph Brackett, and Roger Hall.
Videotaped as the opening event at the Bellamy Centennial Conference, Emerson College, Boston, Massachusetts, September 1988.
Read more at:
The Musical Telephone
Roger's writings available exclusively
on CD-ROM discs...
Songs, Poems and Stories by Roger Hall
"Following the Stars"
Music & Memories of Hopalong Cassidy
"Free As The Breeze"
Confessions of a Struggling Songwriter
"You Are My Sunshine"
Memories of Bloomfield, NJ
In 1975, Roger taught his first course on the history of American popular music at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland. He was then assisting
Bill Randle, a popular disc jockey on Cleveland radio who had introduced Elvis Presley on national television in 1956.
Roger's remembrances of working with Bill Randle are now available in a special multimedia collection titled,
"Shake, Rattle and Roll":
Electric Elvis and Bill Randle
For over twenty-five years, Roger continued as a music teacher at various colleges and adult education programs. He had a special interest in teaching adult students. He is now retired,
though he still presents lectures and workshops.
These are a few of the many courses he has taught:
- Great Composers (J.S. Bach, Handel, Mozart)
- The Genius of George Gershwin
- History of American Music
- Listener's Guide to Music
- Music in the Movies
- Masters of the American Song
Over the years, Roger has produced numerous radio specials and hosted his own nightly radio program.
During the 1970s, 80s and 90s, he was a frequent guest on Ron Della Chiesa's popular program, MUSIC AMERICA, on WGBH-FM in Boston, Massachusetts. Roger presented segments on Shaker music, New England music, and his annual Oscar film music tributes, including announcing the Sammy Film Music Awards.
In addition, Roger produced a monthly radio series titled, "Great American Songs," broadcast on another Boston area radio station. This series paid tribute to many great songwriters, such as: Harold Arlen, Irving Berlin, George Gershwin, Johnny Mercer, Cole Porter and others.
Roger also hosted his own nightly four hour radio program on WBET titled, IN THE MOOD, playing Big Band music and popular songs from the 1930s, '40s, and '50s.
Here are a few of his radio specials he presented on his nightly program called IN THE MOOD:
- Fifties Favorites -- Songs and Singers
- Top Ten Big Band Themes
- Top Ten Movie Songs and Scores
- Tributes to Hoagy Carmichael and Johnny Mercer
- Yankee Doodle Dandy -- World War II Musicals
Some of these programs are listed in his radio guide
with accompanying CD:
Remembering Radio: Great Songwriters and Singers
Cable Television Producer
Roger produced and hosted a series of music programs on cable television. These programs featured local musicians and historians:
"IN CONCERT" - A series of 12 programs celebrating the bicentennial of the oldest choral society in the USA, The Old Stoughton Musical Society, founded in 1786. Series theme music: "Stoughton Waltz" by Oliver Shaw, performed by pianist, Edward Wood.
"NOW AND THEN" - 4 programs about local history and musicians:
"A CENTENNIAL SALUTE TO STOUGHTON SQUARE"
"A CENTENNIAL TRIBUTE TO E.A. JONES"
"OLD STOUGHTON AND THE GRAND CONSTITUTION"
"A STOUGHTON MUSICFEST"
For over three decades, Roger has been a singer in numerous programs at museums, historical sites, libraries, churches, colleges and universities, conferences,
and special events.
He is producer of these PineTree Music CDs:
Come, Gentle Peace
Creator God, We Give You Thanks
The Dark Night is Ending
The Humble Heart
Besides his many other achievements, Roger has spent considerable time working to preserve neglected American music from the past.
His preservation work includes researching, editing, publishing,
performing and recording the music.
The most extensive projects have involved music from
two of the oldest singing traditions in the USA:
Music in Stoughton
He has received several Massachusetts Arts Council grants for this project which involved researching and writing about music and composers in Stoughton during the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries. See this article: Saving Local Music
This town has the oldest surviving choral society in the United States, founded on November 7, 1786. Originally called The Stoughton Musical Society, it also has the oldest constitution of any performing musical organization, written in 1787 just a few weeks after the United States Constitution.
He has compiled and edited music by local composers, such as: Alanson Belcher and Edwin Arthur Jones -- Stoughton's most accomplished past composer.
Roger has produced a number of publications and CDs
featuring Stoughton music, including these titles:
Music of the Shakers
The second major project involved collecting research about this religious communal society, the oldest surviving one in the United States.
The Shakers originated in the Manchester area in the UK. Their spiritual leader, Mother Ann Lee, and eight of her followers arrived in New York City on August 6, 1774. This is the date celebrated by the Shakers as the beginning of their church in America.
Their first settlement was at Niskayuna (later Watervliet) New York in 1776, and their first community was established in 1787
at New Lebanon, New York.
Roger is one of the foremost experts on Shaker music and has written extensively about it for 40 years.
He was the first student to write a Master's Thesis
dealing with Shaker music.
His thesis with music analysis is titled:
The Shaker Letteral System:
A Practical Approach to Music Notation
(Binghamton University, Binghamton, NY, 1972)
Since then he has researched and uncovered hundreds of Shaker spirituals,
performed them in concerts, and recorded many of them as well. He has also edited and arranged over 200 Shaker tunes and written about Shaker music in numerous publications.
The best known Shaker song is "Simple Gifts" (aka: 'Tis the gift to be simple). He has studied its origin and evolution and written a history of the song. To read more about this song and the book, click on this link:
Joseph Brackett's "Simple Gifts"
In addition, he has compiled or edited these music publications:
- A Western Shaker Music Sampler (1976)
- The Happy Journey: Thirty-five Shaker Spirituals (1982)
- Love is Little: A Sampling of Shaker Spirituals (1992)
- A Guide to Shaker Music (1996, 1997, 1999, 2001, 2002, 2006)
- Come Life, Shaker Life: The Life & Music of Elder Issachar Bates (2004)
- How Happy Are They: Twelve Shaker Spirituals (2007)
- Gentle Words: Shaker Music in the 20th Century (2009)
- The Story of 'Simple Gifts' (2006, 2009, 2010)
- Blended Together: Discoveries Along The Shaker Music Trail (2011)
- May We Ever Be United: Music of the North Union, Ohio Shakers (2012)
He has worked on these recordings as singer, consultant,
- Harp of Joy -- Soloists and Plymouth Church Choir
- Love is Little -- Soloists and The Sampler Chorus (Sampler Records)
- Joy of Angels -- Soloists and The Sampler Chorus (Sampler Records)
- Simple Gifts -- Boston Camerata and Sabbathday Lake Shakers
- Let Zion Move -- Shakers from Canterbury & Sabbathday Lake
- The River of Love -- Soloists and Chorus of New England Voices
- Celestial Praises - Shaker Music in Our Time (AMRC)
- The Humble Heart -- 24 Shaker Spirituals (AMRC)
- Blended Together -- Interviews with The Shakers (AMRC)
- Gentle Words -- A Shaker Music Sampler (AMRC)
Two of these Shaker recordings are described here:
Let Zion Move:
Music of the Shakers
2 CD set featuring commentary and 40 Shaker spirituals performed by the Shakers from Canterbury, New Hampshire and Sabbathday Lake, Maine. The recordings and interviews were made between 1960 and 1980. Also included is a 72 page illustrated booklet with all the words for the music and extensive notes by Roger Hall. This is the most extensive historical recording ever compiled of the Shakers speaking about their heritage and performing their music. Much of it was recorded by Bill Randle, the Cleveland disc jockey who helped promote Elvis Presley in the 1950s.
To order a copy of this CD set, click on this link:
Let Zion Move: Music of the Shakers
Love is Little:
A Sampling of Shaker Spirituals
CD released from Sampler Records containing 36 Shaker spirituals from all the major Shaker communities in Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, New Hampshire, Maine, Ohio and Kentucky. A songbook with all the music and extensive notes, including a music chronology, is also available.
Click on this link for more information:
Love is Little: A Sampling of Shaker Spirituals
A list of multimedia DVDs and CDS,
music collections, pamphlets,
compiled and edited by Roger Lee Hall:
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