Rogers, James Hotchkiss (7 Feb. 1857-28 Nov. 1940), composer, music critic, organist, and teacher, was born in Fair Haven, Conn., and began piano lessons at 12 and organ lessons later, and studied in Europe from 1875-80. In 1883, Rogers moved to Cleveland, becoming organist at Euclid Ave. Temple playing until his retirement in 1932. He was also organist for Shaker Hts. Neighborhood Church and First Unitarian Church. Rogers was music critic for the PLAIN DEALER from 1915-32. It was said Rogers was never harsh; even when Isadora Duncan danced in an outrageous red costume in 1922, Rogers simply wrote, "all things considered, the orchestra did very well." Rogers explained his role was not to discourage but rather to encourage and advise. Rogers composed over 550 works: over 50 compositions for the organ, 5 cantatas, over 130 songs, and instruction books for both piano and organ. His composing style was late Romantic and tended toward the sentimental. "In Memoriam," a 6-song cycle centering on Walt Whitman's poems, was written for his son, Henry, who was killed in WW I. In 1946, the Cleveland Orchestra dedicated a program to Rogers. He taught at the Cleveland School of Music. Upon his retirement, he was honored by 500 musicians and friends at a farewell dinner. He moved to Pasadena, Calif., where he died.
The famous melody was composed by William Arms Fisher (1861-1948). He was originally from San Francisco and studied with Antonín Dvořák and Horatio Parker. He was instructor in harmony at the Conservatory of Music for several years, resigning in 1895 to take up teaching in Boston.
He was president of both the Music Teachers National Association and the Music Publishers' National Association. He also worked for the music publisher Oliver Ditson Company which was later taken over by the Theodore Presser Company.
This is another in my "Summertime Series". :-)
The score is attached below, as well as photos of James Rogers and William Fisher.