Welcome to our Festival blog

We are a small congregation who organised a highly successful 'William Byrd Festival' in May 2011 to celebrate the life and work of the village's Elizabethan composer, William Byrd (c.1540 - 1623). In 2012 we played host to the world-famous choir The Cardinall's Musick under their director Andrew Carwood.

This website contains everything you need to know about William Byrd and his links with Stondon Massey. The church is open for services, of course, and on the second Sunday afternoon in the month during the summer.

Sunday, 15 May 2011

William Byrd Festival: "Every man should learne to sing"

The 'William Byrd Festival' has migrated!!

Our 'Top 10 hymns' service is repeated at the Priory Church of St Laurence, Blackmore. Once again Anthea Gray is officiating but with John Hatt playing the organ.

The Service was inspired by William Byrd's famous appeal to everyone to take up singing. In his preface to the First Book of Cantiones Sacrae he wrote:

Reasons briefly set downe by th' auctor to perswade every one to learne to sing.
First it is a Knowldge easely taught, and quickly learned where there is a good Master, and an apt Scoller.
2. The exercise of singing is delightfull to Nature & good to preserve the health of Man.
3. It doth strengthen all the parts of the brest, & doth open the pipes.
4. It is a singular good remedie for a stutting & stammering in the speech.
5. It is the best meanes to procure a perfect pronunciation & to make a good Orator.
6. It is the onely way to know where Nature hath bestowed the benefit of a good voyce: which guift is so rare, as there is not one in a thousand, that hath it: and in many, that excellent guift is lost, because they want Art to express Nature.
7. There is not any Musick of Instruments whatsoever, comparable to that which is made of the voyces of Men, where the voyces are good, and the same well sorted and ordered.
8. The better the voyce is, the meeter it is to honour and serve God there-with: and the voyce of man is chiefly to be imployed to that ende.
omis spiritus laudet Dominum.
Since singing is so good a thing
I wish all men would learne to sing.

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