William Byrd c.1540 – 4 July 1623
Transported by the wonder of angelic voices,
Swept up and away to heights
That cannot be reached by mortals,
Sacred music has the power to touch
The most sacrilegious among us,
Melting the stoniest of hearts,
Bringing comfort to the desolate.
Spirituality is not the sole domain of church
And the rituals of Rome,
Mecca or Constantinople
Or even ancient Jerusalem.
Spirituality transcends doctrine and dogma.
It touches the core of what it is to be human,
Caring and sympathetic to our mortal condition.
Sacred, acapella voices have the power
To perform an alchemy of transmutation
Making the lead of common speech
Into ethereal gold of harmony and melody.
Sacred music in the Western tradition
Was created with these goals in mind,
Designed to give pleasure and inspiration,
To believers and apostates alike.
It’s enough to convince the atheist and the agnostic
That there may just be a Heaven,
Or wish that it might be so.