Jeremy Boyer of Kimmswick can strike up a rendition of “Gloria” at a moment’s notice these days.
Boyer, a 1998 Potosi High School graduate who attended Mineral Area College, graduated from Southeast Missouri State University in 2004 with a Bachelor of Music Education, getting his start as a sports organist while playing at Southeast baseball games at Capaha Field.
Now, as the St. Louis Blues’ organist, he’s an integral part of the historic season that has taken the Blues into the Stanley Cup finals. The series with Boston is now tied 1-1. Game 3 is set for Saturday in St. Louis.
Staff at Southeast Missouri State University asked him some questions about life with the Blues.
What has it been like to be a part of this historic season for the Blues?
It’s been an incredible season! It’s felt as if it were the worst and best season in team history … all wrapped into one! The team had the worst record in the NHL on Jan. 1 and fired their head coach, but then caught fire behind rookie goalie Jordan Binnington and interim head coach Craig Berube. It’s really been remarkable how huge a turnaround the team has made!
When was the first time you started hearing about “Gloria,” and what was your reaction?
The first time I heard about “Gloria” was on Feb. 8. A priest friend of mine tweeted to me in response to a story about the song from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s Jim Thomas. He asked if I had it in my repertoire. I didn’t even really know what he was talking about. I knew OF the song “Gloria” by Laura Branigan, but didn’t think much of it at the time.
Had you ever played “Gloria” before this season?
Nope. Never. But I have to admit, it is a very upbeat and catchy song. Now whenever I hear it in the future, it’ll certainly be a pleasant reminder of an historic season!
When did you play it for the first time and how many times have played it since? Did it take some practice?
I don’t think I ever played it until the very end of the regular season, or perhaps after the start of the playoffs. I don’t know if anyone expected it to stick around and become the staple it’s become! It’s really a rather simple song to play, it is pretty repetitive, but again…fun and catchy! Several Blues fans had asked on social media or in person for an organ version of the song, so I recorded it after Game 5 of the second round series vs. Dallas and put it on You Tube for them to hear and share. Since then, I’ve played it (usually following the Laura Branigan version) for every win since. I’ve even played it at Busch Stadium and for a couple of road game Blues Watch parties held at Ballpark Village or Enterprise Center!
How exciting is it knowing the music, which you are at the heart of, is such a key component of this year’s season? You know, everyone’s saying, “Play Gloria!”
Whether it’s “Playing Gloria” or playing the goal song following Blues playoff goals, it’s very exciting to express my emotion through my music and hopefully that enthusiasm and emotion is contagious to the thousands of Blues fans in the seats or watching at home! A few teachers have said their schools played my version of “Gloria” during their morning announcements, and it’s been something their students have looked forward to hearing after Blues wins. Pretty awesome!
Do you play “Take Me Home, Country Roads” as well to get the crowd going? This is also a Blues’ fan favorite!
It is actually played by video with lyrics running along the LED boards, almost like Karaoke, but a much bigger display. Honestly, because it has no connection to St. Louis or Missouri (it’s about West Virginia), I don’t know why it has caught on so well other than it’s just a classic song that’s fun to sing along.
How many seasons have you been the St. Louis Blues’ organist?
I’ve played 12 seasons now. I started in 2007-2008 and would drive from Cape to St. Louis for games. I didn’t move until October 2008 to be closer. I played at Capaha through the summer of 2007 for Southeast and the Capahas.
Did you ever think, as a Southeast student, you would be where you are today?
I always knew there was a chance. But I have to give a lot of credit to Mr. Barry Bernhardt who was the Director of Bands when I was at SEMO for giving me a chance to play in the SEMO Show Band as well as playing solo for a few SEMO Basketball games when the band was on winter break. Same goes for longtime Southeast Baseball coach, Mark Hogan, who was so kind to let me come play organ for six or seven seasons at Capaha Park! These two men really gave me an opportunity to sharpen my skills as a musician while doing something I loved. An opportunity that I don’t think I could have had at any other university. It was almost like an unofficial “sports organist” class that I took as a student and then 2-3 seasons as an alum!
Can you still play the SEMO Fight Song from memory?
I can still play the fight song from memory! I was playing at Ballpark Village for a Blues watch party a couple seasons or so ago when I noticed the SEMO Alumni Association walking with their SEMO signs through Fox Sports Live where I was playing from the Budweiser Brewhouse. I started playing the SEMO Fight Song, and they recognized it and stopped by!
More about Boyer:
Boyer also is a vocalist. He sang for Pope John Paul II in the St. Louis Archdiocesan (Papal) Choir when the Pope visited St. Louis in January 1999. The Mass at which he sang was the largest attended indoor mass held in the United States with nearly 110,000 people in attendance.
Boyer, a tenor, sang with the Southeast Missouri State University Choir in 2003 at Carnegie Hall in New York City. He also plays piano, percussion, and saxophone.
His career on the organ started when he was 12. He was in band at school, and applied his ability to read music to learn to play the family organ, with encouragement and guidance from his mother, Roxana.
“I never had formal lessons until college,” Boyer explained. “I couldn’t have done this without my mom.”