As Music Director and Conductor of the Susquehanna Valley Chorale for over twenty years, one of Dr. Payn’s major contributions to the Susquehanna Valley has been consistent quality performances enriched by a balance of traditional classical music with innovative new choral/orchestral works.
Under his leadership, the SVC has commissioned three major choral works which are receiving wide acclaim by numerous choruses and audiences throughout the world. He has “raised the bar” for introducing inventive and unique programming with a vision to inspire and engage audiences of all ages. With over fifty compositions to his credit, Payn’s choral and handbell works represent distinctive, original music performed regularly in major church and concert venues globally.
Bill (as he likes to be called) recently retired as former Chair of the Department of Music, Professor of Music, and Director of Choral Studies at Bucknell University in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania where he led his choirs to international recognition. His Emmy nominated Bucknell Candlelight Christmas production continues to be aired every holiday season on national public television. In addition to his many professional accomplishments, awards and recognitions, Payn continues to be the guest festival conductor, headliner and clinician at hundreds of events in the U.S. and abroad.
Musicians and former students (who affectionately called him “DP”) refer to his “clear, concise conducting – easy and free in motion and conveying beauty of musical phrase coupled with a caring attitude for each person and an insistence on the very best participation – never accepting second best”.
Recently, Bucknell University (through the generosity of Robert and Natalie Rooke) honored him with
the William A. Payn scholarship, an endowment fund that annually provides full tuition to a talented and promising incoming music student. He was also recently presented with the Elaine Brown Award for Choral Excellence by the American Choral Directors Association for outstanding lifelong work in the
In retirement, Bill and his wife, Ruth, enjoy visiting their children and 11 grandchildren, world traveling,
and relaxing in the quiet countryside on their organic farm (Walnut Acres) along Penns Creek in rural