Pastyme is a vocal group from Asheville which performs a cappella music of all kinds. Even though Pastyme has its roots in the sacred and secular music of the High Renaissance, the group performs a cappella music from a wide variety of literature, from classical to jazz, for concerts, church services, and special events. The group has no director; instead, all contribute to the selection, artistic interpretation, and development of each piece. Pastyme was formed in 1999 by a group of friends who enjoyed making music with each other. While there have been some changes in membership, two of the original members remain. The members of Pastyme are all active in the music community of Asheville, singing with church choirs, the opera and musical theatre. The group has also performed at numerous venues and churches in the Southeast, including the Piccolo Spoleto Festival in Charleston, SC, May 2001, the Cathedral of St. Philip, Atlanta, October 2005 and April 2007, and the Echo Early Music Festival, 2009.
Pastyme has two CDs with the latest being Descends the Snow. The music on this recording comes from a wide range of traditions and styles, all celebrating the winter season. The selections include Renaissance polyphony, jazz arrangements of old favorites, contemporary compositions based on ancient chant, and modern carols, including several that have never been recorded for release before. Their first CD, es ist ein Rose, containing music from Palestrina to Pärt, written in honor of the Virgin Mary.
Pastyme's fresh and mellifluous sound, in the Holy Cross Episcopal Church sanctuary, is not to be missed. Pastyme's Christmas concert evokes the warmth and poignancy of Christmases past and present. Their presentation of Choral Evensong for the Season of Lent is prayerful, ethereal, and beautiful. Pastyme's four performances at Holy Cross in the past two years have been highlights of our program years. The church fills with parishioners and Tryon residents, who warmly welcome and embrace this talented and congenial group of singers.
Organist and choir director
Holy Cross Episcopal Church
Weaving in and out, solo-quality tones meshed in dynamics and emotions. That the music flowed effortlessly belied years of training. Individual accomplishment and practice, and a passion for classical music. The group formed because classics they love are seen as difficult and rarely performed. And without a director, Pastyme's programming is a collective effort."
Post and Courier Reviewer
Pastyme in an exceptional and engaging vocal octet with eclectic programming while maintaining an emphasis on traditional choral music performed at the highest level. The balance, blend, and intonation are virtually flawless. Although this is a group of mixed voices it is the closest sound western North Carolina has to the impeccable King’s Singers.
Jim Jerome Williams
Former North Carolina Teacher of the Year
Member of the NC High School Choral Hall of Fame
Their success with contemporary sounds in close harmonies and their impeccable ensemble are surely the outgrowth of many years of rehearsing and performing together. I have written elsewhere that they have perfected the art of "not oversinging and make a beautiful case for the appeal of music quietly and artfully rendered.
Carolina Voice of North Carolina