Why I wrote the song "Rochester, My Home"
Every great city needs its own song -- and Rochester, New York is a GREAT city! New York, Chicago, San Francisco all have their own anthems, but as far as I can tell, Rochester, doesn't really have a tune it can call its own. Wichita has one, El Paso has one, so why not Rochester? I am sure songs have been written about Rochester over the years, but for the life of me I can't think of one. Can you? If so, why don't we ever sing it? Why don't we every hear it?
Maybe "Rochester, My Home" is the solution. Although it is undeniably folksy and sounds like it was written before the opening of the Erie Canal, I believe it has all the elements of a song our community can sing with pride, like Texans singing " The Yellow Rose of Texas" or southerners singing "Dixie". Many of the songs associated with the cities mentioned above are really just too difficult for the average Joe or Josephine to sing. "I Left My Heart in San Francisco" for example is a beautiful song that conjures up romantic images of cable cars and twinkling stars, but only Tony Bennett and a few other professional crooners are able to get through it. Similarly,I doubt New Yorkers returning home from family vacation are able to sing more than two lines of "New York, New York". It's just too hard to sing. The lyrics and melody for "Rochester, My Home" are so simple, on the other hand, that anyone can sing it! It even lends itself to harmony, in my opinion.
Whether or not "Rochester, My Home" becomes our anthem, I think a song that we can call our own would add a great deal to our sense of community. Let's show our love for Rochester, and start singing about it!
Bob Johnson is the 2011 recipient of the Am-Pol Eagle Newspaper's Citizen of the Year Award for culture. He has been playing fingerstyle folk guitar for fifty years.