Artist Bio

Roger's Family from left to right: Brother Randy, Roger, Parents Ruthevelyn and Jim, Sister-In-Law Jackie and Brother Richard. c. 1960s

Roger’s Family from left to right: Brother Randy, Roger, Parents Ruthevelyn and Jim, Sister-In-Law Jackie and Brother Richard. c. 1960s

  January 13, 1950 in Downey, California, I was born into a musical family. My mother, Ruthevelyn was an arranger for live radio in the 40’s and for Rhythms Productions an educational music publisher in the 50’s and 60’s.  I was surrounded by music of all types growing up.  My mom had a vocal jazz quartet along the lines of the Hi-Lo’s, and my brother Richard had several jazz/pop ensembles including RCA recording artists, The Match.  At age 10, I begged my parents for guitar lessons and was fortunate to study with Lou Morrell, a well respected studio musician and eventually with jazz great, Herb Ellis.

nervoussystem

“Warren’s own Nervous System, whose members are, LEFT TO RIGHT: Bob Schaffner, Roger Emerson, Ken Power, and Marc Setterholm, entertain the junior class.”

  In 1965 I joined my first rock band,  “The  Nervous System” as an electric bass  player. We were popular around Southern California and recorded several demo recordings for Mike Curb, later  to become founder of Curb/Warner records.    Unfortunately, none of our  songs became  hits and I  continued to play sessions on bass with the  likes of  Teddy Neely (Jesus Christ Superstar) and the  Association (Along Comes Mary, Cherish).

 

 

Mount Shasta as seen from Roger's father's ranch.

Mount Shasta as seen from Roger’s father’s ranch.

At 19 I ventured to Northern California, to a small community college where I decided to major in  music…duh!  It seems obvious now, but realize that I was a  songwriting, singer-guitarist.  NOT your typical music major.   The fact is, I probably would have washed out of a large  program such as the ones offered by area schools, UCLA, USC  and Long Beach State.  I ended up with two very talented and  supportive teachers:  George Mattos and, the then  unpublished, Kirby Shaw.  It was….a match made in heaven.   These two men recognized my musical nature and proceeded  to impart all of the necessary theory, sight-singing, vocal and instrumental skills required of a music educator.  I will be forever grateful for their wisdom and encouragement.

Roger's first original published piece of choral music.

Roger’s first original published piece of choral music.

   In 1973 I graduated from Southern Oregon University, in  Ashland, Oregon, with a degree in Music Education and landed my  first teaching assignment in Mt. Shasta, California, some 60 miles  south of Ashland.  For four years I taught band, choir, and general  music to grades K-8.  It was a wonderful learning experience in the  broad spectrum of music education.  It was during this time that I  decided to tryout my songwriting skills on my choirs.  In 1977 I  published my first pieces with Jenson Publications.  By 1980 I was  writing or arranging 20 pieces per year and my royalties far  exceeded my teaching income.  At that point I resigned my teaching  position (I had moved on to the high school by that time), in order  to devote my full attention to writing.  The rest is…well as they say,  history.  I continue to compose or arrange 20 to 30 pieces per year  and up until recently, taught the guitar and vocal jazz programs at  College of the Siskiyous.

christmas13fam

Roger’s Family Christmas 2013. Back Row (l to r): Harriet + Randy, Jackie + Richard, Roger + Mari, Jim. Front Row (l to r): Jen, Ryder and Kayla.

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