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

Eric Jackson eric-jackson at comcast.net
Thu Jul 23 08:48:06 EDT 2009

Tom Reney wrote:

> 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.
> Tom

Hi Tom,

Thanks for posting the sad news. Where was that article from?

Even if you aren't familiar with his name, there is a good chance that 
you've seen or heard Horace speak. He was in a large number of 
documentaries, discussing African American religious music on both radio 
and T.V.

Years ago I was going to take some time off from work to take a short (a 
week, maybe, I can't remember) course at New England Conservatory with 
Horace teaching on African American religious music. Unfortunately, not 
enough people signed up so the class was canceled. I was very 
disappointed that I couldn't take the class.

Eric Jackson
Mon - Thurs 8 pm - mid.
89.7 FM WGBH Boston

> *
> *
> *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 
> <http://www.douglassfuneral.com>.

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