1917 – 1975
Born in Meriden, Benjamin Hozer changed his name to Homer for professional reasons. His talent and love for music surfaced in his early years, and Ben Homer became a member of the Meriden Symphony at the age of 11. His composing ability blossomed early with his "Class Song – 1932" at Jefferson Junior High School. At age 15 he became a member of the American Federation of Musicians.
After a stint with the Silver Rhythm King at WICC in New Haven, Homer won a scholarship to the prestigious New England Conservatory of Music. In his third year there, he was engaged by Artie Shaw to copy his arranger's scores. This led to subsequent arranging for Raymond Scott., Jack Teagarden, AI Donahue, Bob Chester, Les Brown and Paul Whiteman. "Downbeat" magazine wrote, "No band's library is complete without a Ben Homer arrangement." At age 26, he was then the youngest member ever inducted into ASCAP.
Homer's best known compositions are "Shoot the Sherbet to Me Herbert,” "Joltin' Joe DiMaggio," "Mexican Hat Dance,” "Bizet Had His Day," and the all-time favorite "Sentimental Journey."
He returned to the New England Conservatory of Music in 1942 to teach Modem Theory and Arranging.
Ben Homer's music and arrangements live on with the resurgence of the music of the big bands – a fitting tribute to and a lasting legacy from this talented musician and composer.
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