Ave Verum

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.

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