[JPL] Horace Clarence Boyer, R.I.P., gospel singer and scholar

Tom Reney tr at wfcr.org
Thu Jul 23 08:06:42 EDT 2009

Horace was a vibrant presence in the UMass community for decades, a 
mentor to many, myself and Avery Sharpe included.  He was also a 
generous supporter of Jazz a la Mode and WFCR.  He joined me on many 
occasions during fund drives, and those are among the most memorable and 
successful nights I've ever had.  He'd rattle the plate like he was 
collecting for a church service and encourage the "backsliders" to come 
through with contributions.  I'll dedicate tonight's show to his memory.



*Horace Clarence Boyer (1935 - 2009) *

Horace Clarence Boyer 1935 - 2009 AMHERST - Horace Clarence Boyer of 
Amherst, passed away Tuesday morning July 21, 2009 in Amherst. He was 
born July 28, 1935 in Winter Park, Florida to Mr. & Mrs. Climmie, Sr. & 
Ethel M. Boyer. He was the fourth of eight children born to this union. 
He is a graduate of Bethune-Cookman University (Daytona Beach, FL) and 
held Masters and Doctorate degrees from the Eastman School of Music 
(Rochester, NY). His teaching career included tenures at Albany State 
College (Georgia), the University of Central Florida at Orlando and from 
1973 to 1999, the University of Massachusetts as a member of the Faculty 
of Music and Dance. As a very young boy, he formed a gospel-singing duet 
with his brother, James (a Professor of Education & American Ethnic 
Studies at Kansas State University).


As the Boyer Brothers, they began recording as teenagers making several 
recordings for Excello, Vee-Jay and Savoy Records. He also wrote liner 
notes for re-issues of Mahalia Jackson records for Columbia Records. As 
a gospel performer, he traveled into some 40 states. Additionally, he 
served as a lecturer and clinician on gospel music and the African 
American Sacred tradition. One of the highlights of his career was being 
named as Curator of Musical Instruments at the National Museum of 
American History, Smithsonian Institution. During his residency at the 
Smithsonian, he also served as Distinguished Scholar-at-large of the 
United Negro College Fund where his duties included directing the famed 
Fisk Jubilee Singers. Boyer's research resulted in the publication of 
over 40 articles in journals such as Music Educators Journal, the New 
Grove Dictionary of American Music, the Black Music Research Journal, 
and Black Perspectives in Music. He is the author of HOW SWEET THE 
SOUND: The Golden Age of Gospel Music, published in 1995. For several 
years, he was director of the Voices of New Africa House Workshop Choir, 
an ensemble of 50 voices drawn from Smith, Amherst, Mount Holyoke and 
Hampshire Colleges as well as the University of Massachusetts. Their 
specialty was gospel music.


Boyer is listed in the Biographical Dictionary of Afro-American and 
African Musicians, as well as International Who's Who in Music and 
Musicians' Directory. The recipient of a Ford Foundation Fellowship, he 
served on the Editorial Advisory Board of the journal, REJOICE. In 
recognition of his teaching and contributions to music, Boyer was named 
a Chancellor's Distinguished University Lecturer by the University of 
Massachusetts in 1990 and was awarded the Chancellor's Medallion. During 
his career, he received many citations, awards and honors from schools, 
colleges, churches and professional groups including the Martin Luther 
King Heritage Award from the city of his birth in Florida, the Lifetime 
Achievement Award of The Society of American Music which he received 
during their Denver Conference in 2009--as well as the Union of Black 
Episcopalians in 2008. The University of Colorado conferred an Honorary 
Doctorate upon him in 1996.


He leaves to mourn his passing--his loving and caring wife of forty-four 
years, Gloria Boyer, 92 Grantwood Drive (Amherst), three brothers: Clem 
Boyer (Juanita) of Maitland, Florida; James Boyer (Edna) of Manhattan, 
Kansas and Joe Boyer (Patricia) of Huntsville, Alabama--two sisters: 
Minnie Boyer Woodruff of Orlando, Florida and Edythe Boyer Jones of 
Orangeburg, South Carolina, his god-daughter, Dr. Edythe Woodruff 
Stewart (Robert) of Fresno, California, and sisters-in-law Armetta B. 
Cason of Olustee, Florida; Fannye L. Morton of Jacksonville, Florida and 
Fairy Blue of Buffalo, NY and a host of nephews, nieces, cousins, 
friends and associates. A private graveside service is planned. A public 
memorial service, to be held at Grace Episcopal Church, will be held at 
a later date. Obituary and register at www.douglassfuneral.com 


Tom Reney
"Jazz à la Mode"
Monday-Friday, 8 - 11 p.m.
NPR News and Music for Western New England
Hampshire House
131 County Circle
Amherst, MA 01003-9257
tr at wfcr.org
413-545-3220 office
413-545-2546 fax

More information about the jazzproglist mailing list