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 .