Gregory Boatman ‘23 has grown up surrounded by music — his mother is a pianist and music teacher, his father a music enthusiast and trombone player. “I had a musical family growing up so it has always been present in my life. I played in my elementary school band, learned how to play the viola and sang for my school choirs. I really enjoyed it,” Boatman said.
His decision to attend Swarthmore wasn’t one driven by music however — instead, he was interested in attending a Quaker school and Swarthmore was at the top of his list. Boatman is a music and religion double major.
“I actually didn’t do much research on the music faculty before I came here but I got really lucky. I think we have a great music department and some really wonderful music professors.”
The college’s culture of multidisciplinary study encouraged Boatman to branch out. “I’ve developed an interest in dance through my time at Swarthmore which is really cool so it’s been great to have such a supportive department and take courses that are at the intersection of all my interests,” he expressed.
Boatman enjoys the Western classical music tradition, and has been especially interested in church music of late. He primarily sings and plays the clarinet and bass clarinet. Boatman is also passionate about performing with his friends and recently played a gig at Olde Club with his band, The Feral Boat Guys.
Post-graduation, Boatman plans to stay in the Philadelphia region and wants to join the Philadelphia choral scene. He currently sings with a church choir in the area and will be auditioning for more in April. He also hopes to do a lot more gardening.
Gregory’s Senior Recital will be held in the Lang Concert Hall on Sunday, April 16th at 3pm. There will be singing, improvisation, and original compositions.
Favorite music course at Swarthmore: 20th Century Music with Professor Barbara Milewski was one of my favorites. It was one of the first non-theory courses that got me thinking about music in an academic way. I also loved Ballet & Modern Dance in Europe & North America 1789-1960 with Professor Sabee. And all my composition courses with Professor Levinson and Professor Whitman, of course.
Favorite music-making experience at Swarthmore: I really enjoyed playing with the Swarthmore College orchestra this semester. I’ve also loved improvisation — it’s something I’ve done with different groups of people in academic and nonacademic settings over my years at Swarthmore. It’s just so spontaneous and an outpouring of music-making. Last spring I played Hindemith’s 'Bassoon Sonata' transcribed for bass clarinet with my friend Joseph Petchauer on the piano. I know you only asked for one but there’s so many when you really think about it!
What you’ll miss most about Swarthmore: There are lots of music-making opportunities. When you’re part of a school, there are so many different things in place that help you find what you want to do. We have the Fetter Chamber Music program and so many other ensembles. I think post-Swarthmore it might be a little harder to just get people together and make music but I hope I can keep doing it.
What sound or noise do you love? The sound of a gentle stream burbling.
What sound or noise do you hate? Oh that’s easy. The noise of the construction near Magill walk!
What's the last song/piece you played on your phone? I was just listening to ‘Locus Iste’ by Anton Bruckner this morning. I love that piece — it’s quite short but very beautiful to me.
Any parting words? Support your local small-scale farmers! And play lots of music!