Edward Boatner: Composer and Educator

Edward Boatner
Edward Boatner

“Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” (Matthew 7:13-14)

“There has been no greater influence on the world of Black choral music than Edward Boatner.” (Max Roach)

Edward Boatner was born in 1898 and died in 1981. When he was a child, Edward Boatner traveled with his father, an itinerant minister. As a result, he came in contact with rural-church singing. He obtained musical education at universities.

During the 1930s, he taught in Texas, and settled permanently in New York.

He conducted a studio, directed church and community choirs, and arranged negro spirituals, which were sung by concert artists.

His best known arrangements are “Soon I Will Be Done”, “Let Us Break Bread Together” and “Oh, What a Beautiful City”. He published a “spiritual musical”, The Man of Nazareth.

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