He graduatated from Bloomfield High School in June of 1960.
He wrote his first song lyrics in 1959 and 1960 and these early lyrics are included in his multimedia collection with audio files titled,
"Dream World" - Songs, Poems and Stories
Following his graduation from high school, he served in the US Army between 1960 and 1963 and was stationed at the 7th Engineer Brigade located at Rhein Main Air Base in Frankfurt, Germany.
While stationed in Germany Roger wrote some songs, played his bongo drums, and made his first demo record with a trio known as Jake & The Potpourris. A demo tape was made for two of his songs: "Dream World" and "Frauleins From Frankfurt." These songs and others from the 1960s are discussed in his first published memoir:
"Free As The Breeze" - Confessions of a Struggline Songwriter
After returning home from Germany, he worked for a few years at Fidelity Union Trust Company in Newark, New Jersey and attended Rutgers University at night. After leaving the bank, he worked in the audio-visual department at the East Orange Public Library in New Jersey and attended Upsala College (now closed).
He then went full time at Rutgers University and graduated with a BA in May of 1970. His major was Music Theory and Composition. During that time he was named to the Dean's List for his accademic achievements, and also he composed several classical works,
including a song cycle of poems he wrote, titled: six haiku songs.
Roger was the first one in his family to graduate from college.
For the next two years he attended Binghamton University and
received his MA degree in June of 1972.
His major was Ethnomusicolgy and
his focus was on Shaker music.
Following his graduation at Binghamton University, Roger was a Ph.D. candidate in musicology at Case Western Rserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. His specialty was early American music and his Ph.D. Thesis was on the music of the Shakers who had a community
in what is now Shaker Heights, Ohio.
He was also a teaching assistant for Dr. William (Bill) Randle, a disc jockey
introduced Elvis Presley on national TV in 1956. Roger taught his first college course in 1975:
"History of American Popular Music."
During this time at CWRU he did extensive research in Shaker music and
presented several popular music lectures and programs.
While in high school he wrote some song lyrics, including: "Bright Eyes"; "Story of Rock n' Roll"; and "Tears." But it was when he was in the US Army stationed in Germany that he began to write both words & music. He wrote his first song in 1961: "Dream World".
His first demo record [shown in picture] was for another song he wrote while stationed in Germany and is an homage to The Beatles, titled: "The Soho Serenade."
During the 1960s he wrote a lot of songs but none of them were commercially successful. So he began private piano and composition lessons with a very good teacher, Benjamin Hey Hissem. Roger's first classical composition was "Piano Variations of an Original Theme."
Over the past four decades, Roger has composed well over 100 classical compositions and arrangements.
To learn more about his music, click on this link to PineTree Music
In 1977, he moved to Massachusetts and began teaching in the Boston area at Stonehill College and Brookline Adult & Community Education Program. He spent the next eighteen years teaching music courses to hundreds of adult students, including senior citizens.
Some of the courses he taught include:
- A Listener's Guide to Music
- Great Composers (J.S. Bach, Handel, Mozart)
- The Genius of George Gershwin
- Music in the Movies
- Masters of the American Song
In addition to his composing and teaching, he has been a musicologist, lecturer, radio host, cable TV producer, reviewer, singer, and preservationist working primarily with vintage American music.
News items about Roger's music career:
See his publications available at the
Here is one of Roger's favorite poems...
Come, gentle peace, with smiling ray,
Beam on our land a cloudless day,
Beneath thy influence serene,
The oliver wears immortal green.
Come. gentle peace, resume thy reign,
With all thy virtues in thy train,
And then Columbia's soil shall grow
As verdant Paradise below.
-- Esther Talbot, Stoughton, MA, 1814
He has set this poem to music on this AMRC CD:
Gentle Peace: A Sampler of Songs amd Instrumentals