Amherst Area Gospel Choir
The Porter-Phelps-Huntington Museum continues its 36th season of Wednesday Folk Traditions on July 12th 2017, with the 8th Annual Horace Clarence Boyer Gospel Performance featuring the Amherst Area Gospel Choir. This show, the 36th annual gospel performance at the Porter-Phelps-Huntington Museum, honors the life and work of Dr. Horace Clarence Boyer, a professor and gospel artist devoted to preservation and instruction of gospel music. On July 12th, the Amherst Area Gospel Choir continues Boyer’s tradition of bringing gospel to all with a compilation of songs, deriving from slave spirituals, African diaspora, Tommy Dorsey’s Big Band hits, Boyer’s original music, and contemporary pieces. This and all other performances are held wednesday evenings at 6:30PM in the Sunken Garden at the Porter-Phelps-Huntington Museum, 130 River Drive, Route 47, Hadley, MA 01035. General admission is $12, or $2 for children 16 and under. Picnicker are welcome on the museum grounds beginning at 5:00PM.
Dr. Horace Clarence Boyer’s return will mark his 29th consecutive annual performance at the Porter-Phelps-Huntington Museum. Whether leading the “Year of Jubilee”, in tandem with his brother James to form the Famous Boyer Brothers, or accompanied by local gospel groups, Boyer’s music and presence brought people together from all over the Connecticut River Valley. In addition to his musical pursuits, Boyer was a trailblazer in the academic study of African-American sacred music. His research culminated in his 1995 book, How Sweet the Sound: The Golden Age of Gospel. In an interview with NPR after his brother’s death in 2009, James Boyer spoke of his brother’s work: “His idea was, ‘Why not?’ It is just as respectable as the secular music. He took it on, in a way, to prove to the academic community that it had its place in the American music scene” (NPR, 2009).
Upholding the legacy of Horace Clarence Boyer, Amherst Area Gospel Choir’s director Jacqueline Wallace noTes the group’s commitment to presenting gospel music as a viable and relevant concept. After four years of gathering exclusively for a Gospel Christmas Cantata at various local churches, the 25 members, spanning three generations, decided to expand to a year-round group to celebrate faith and music. In this way, the Amherst Area Gospel Choir may help to preserve and advance the spiritual and artistic form that is gospel. Everyone is welcome to sing; if you are a believer, a non-believer, a seeker, or just like the music.
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