EYEWITNESS NEWS (WBRE/WYOU) — When we think of veterans that have served our country, we often think about their roles as combat soldiers or in technical support. But, what about the role of a musician?
On this week’s Veterans Voices, Composer and Music Educator Roger Dickerson began playing piano at four years old. Little did he know his talents would take him all over the world, in the army and beyond.
Roger Dickerson played the piano, the french horn, and the baritone horn, the triple threat led to an Undergraduate Music Scholarship and Masters Degree from Indiana University.
Once Dickerson graduated, he got the call from Uncle Sam, playing in the 44th Army Band. It’s a job he took seriously.
“You’re serving your country and we all were trying to do it the best that we could in what we did. We were musicians,” said Roger Dickerson, U.S Army Band.
Dickerson and the Army Band spent significant time in Heidelberg, Germany playing for everything from officer’s events to marches, but upon his return home, Dickerson’s work as an educator and composer took shape.
Among his most famous students of composition is Terence Blanchard, who’s composed music for dozens of films including ‘Inside man’ and ‘Black Klansman.’
Blanchard recalled the first time he was hired to score a movie.
“My first thought was call Roger Dickerson. I called Roger and I said I have this project to do, what do I do? Do you know what he told me? Trust your training. To me, that shows you a kind of confidence he had in me, but also the kind of confidence he had in what he taught me,” Blanchard expressed.
Dickerson’s brilliance as a musician, teacher, and composer would be heard for generations in festivals, compositions, endless projects. What’s not lost on Dickerson is the service he gave to his country during his army years.
“I could see very well a sense of having made a contribution to something very important,” Dickerson said.
And Dickerson says the best part was making lifelong friends in the 44th Army Band.