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Fordham Community Saddened by Loss of Music Department Chair


Fordham University mourns the loss of James Boyce, O.Carm., chair of the Department of Music and Art History and a professor of music. Father Boyce died on Feb. 21 at St. Vincent’s Hospital after an illness. He was 60 years old.

Father Boyce began his career at Fordham as an assistant professor of music in 1985 after earning his doctorate in musicology from New York University (NYU). He rose to associate professor, and  became chair of the department in 2006. Recently he was named full professor.

A native of Canada, Father Boyce was ordained a Carmelite priest on June 4, 1977 at St. Therese of Lisieux Church in Cresskill, New Jersey. He was in residence at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church in Tenafly, N.J.

Father Boyce’s area of expertise was the study of Medieval Latin liturgy and the Carmelite liturgical tradition, from historical, legislative and spiritual perspectives. Most recently, Father Boyce published Carmelite Liturgy and Spiritual Identity: The Choir Books of Kraków (Brepols, 2008), a 500-page book, featured recently in Inside Fordham, on Carmelite choir books that he discovered in a small Kraków convent.

In addition to his doctorate degree, Father Boyce held a bachelor of arts in French and bachelor of music in piano from McGill University; a master’s degree in musicology from NYU; a master’s in theology from Washington Theological Union and a master’s of music in piano from Catholic University of America.

“Fordham has lost a multitude in Father Boyce,” said Joseph M. McShane, S.J., president of the University. “Not just a scholar of music, he was an accomplished musician himself, a generous mentor and teacher of music, and a genial colleague. The University, the church and the world of musical scholarship are all poorer today. He will be missed greatly by the Fordham family and by his Carmelite brethren.”

Michael E. Latham, Ph.D., interim dean of Fordham College at Rose Hill, recalled Father Boyce not just as a scholar who attained a national and international reputation, but as the kind of person who taught extra class sections to support the work of his junior colleagues.

“A dedicated, compassionate teacher, he was a leader in his department,”  Latham said. “He was, in all respects a wonderful, caring devoted colleague.”

The Wake and Mass of Christian Burial will take place at:

Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church
10 County Road
Tenafly, N.J.  07670
(201) 568-0545


Thursday, February 25
7 to 9 p.m.

Friday, February 26
2 to 4 p.m.
7 to 9 p.m.

Mass of Christian Burial:

Saturday, February 27
10 a.m.        

Father Boyce is survived by his brother Raymond, his sister Diane Forestell (Roy), his cousin Joan Foster, nephews Michael and Lucas Forestell, stepmother Betty Boyce, stepsisters Stephanie Dunne (and family), Patricia Kearns and Victoria Kearns, cousins and his Carmelite family.


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