The American organist and composer, Richard Keys Biggs (16 September 1886 — 17 December 1962) received an Hon.Mus.D from Loyola University in Chicago. He studied in London with Sir Richard Runciman Terry, the founder of the Choir and Choir School at Westminster Cathedral (Roman Catholic) in London.
He worked in Southern California, and was organist of the San Diego Exposition, as well as of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Long Beach, as well as several other churches in Canada and in Brooklyn, New York. In all these churches, he either founded or directed choirs of men and boys, so, that "elevates" him, at least in my eyes... ;-). In the 1940’s he was director of the men's and boy's choirs of the new church and parochial school at Blessed Sacrament in Hollywood, so, this is where he was working when he composed "American Hymn."
For years I've seen his name, but never bothered to look at his music. He is NOT related to the famous concert organist, E. Power Biggs!
"American Hymn" was published in 1945 by Delkas Music Publishing Co. in Los Angeles. Written shortly after the conclusion of World War Two, there really is a feeling of pride and patriotism about it, and I was glad to discover this by accident when I was trying to decide what to upload for the Fourth of July.
It's a nice piece, and very grand. There are some big "stretches" in the right hand, and you may have to "redistribute" the parts between the hands in order not to miss any notes! ;-)
The score is attached below, as well as an autographed photo of Richard Keys Biggs.
Today marks the 241st (I think!) "birthday" of the United States. With all the stress and embarrassment that we are undergoing in our country at this time, it is hard for many of us to keep the faith and try to preserve the positive role and leadership that the United States has played in the world. We pray that it may always be so!
I wish all of you a Happy Fourth of July!
God Bless America!
Let Freedom Ring!