Retired Clayton State English Professor Dr. William Pasch Shows His Versatility with “Star in the East”
Generations of Clayton State University students remember Dr. William Pasch as an outstanding English professor at the University, and as one of the first professors to teach master’s level courses at Clayton State.
Now a professor emeritus of English, Pasch is also known for his musical accomplishments, including the recent publication of his choral anthem, “Star in the East.” Composed this year and dedicated to the First Presbyterian (USA) of Peachtree City choir and its director, David Stivers, “Star in the East” was recently published by Augsburg Fortress, and has sold approximately 2,500 copies. Pasch is organist of First Presbyterian and a resident of Griffin, Ga.
This Sunday, Dec. 21 at 11 a.m., First Presbyterian Church of Peachtree City will present lessons and carols to celebrate the Advent season, and one of the choir anthems will be “Star in the East,” marking its first performance in Peachtree City.
Star in the East is an arrangement of a folk hymn from the American “Sacred Harp” tradition, which is rooted in the immigration from the British Isles to the Eastern U.S. in the 17th Century. Pasch’s arrangement adds reflection on the mysteries of the Nativity with a brief soprano descant on the ancient hymn “Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence.” It also focuses on the “Morning Star” tradition and uses a text by Reginald Heber (1783-1826), which is found in many Christian hymnals to this day.
In all, Pasch has published more than a dozen choral anthems and has won prizes in national hymn contests for his compositions and hymn texts.