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Benjamin Homer (Art) 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. Probably very few Jehovah's Witnesses realize that the composer of "Sentimental Journey" became one of their own ministers in the early '50s, breaking away from quite a successful career in the music business. Then again, this could also be another aspect of this organization branching out into control of many aspects of life in America, including the insurance industry, various disaster aftermath services, and fast food chains. Ben Homer went to New York City in 1938 following studies at the New England Conservatory. In the thriving Big Apple music scene of that era he found many bandleaders hungry for appealing material, among them trombonist and singer Jack Teagarden, clarinetists Artie Shaw and Benny Goodman, and the unique bandleader and inventor Raymond Scott. Homer became a staff composer for dance band maestro Les Brown in 1940. Homer, his frequent co-writer Bud Green, and Brown comprise the colorful songwriting triumvirate credited with "Sentimental Journey," a hit for Doris Day and one of the most frequently covered songs in American history. Other titles by Homer before he became a minister hardly deserve to be as forgotten as they are, such as "Shoot the Sherbet to Me Herbert," "Joltin' Joe Di Maggio," and "Bizet Has His Day." source The song "Keep your eyes on the prize" was written by Ben Homer, a JW musical composer who also wrote the hit song "Sentimental Journey." source