As Saint Patrick’s Day approaches, I am reminded of the encouraging text of the Irish Blessing. This for me, is such a beautiful statement of support and well-wishing as we each of us, move through life on a peaceful, bountiful journey. Here are the words so you might feel blessed.
May the road rise to meet you,
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
The rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of his hand.
May God be with you and bless you:
May you see your children’s children.
May you be poor in misfortune,
Rich in blessings.
May you know nothing but happiness
From this day forward.
May the road rise up to meet you
May the wind be always at your back
May the warm rays of sun fall upon your home
And may the hand of a friend always be near.
May green be the grass you walk on,
May blue be the skies above you,
May pure be the joys that surround you,
May true be the hearts that love you
I have heard it as a recitation, a solo sung to different melodies, a duet, and most profoundly sung by choirs. Here are two choral arrangement of this text, quite different, but equally moving, I think.
Irish Blessing, music by Bob Chilcott
An old Irish Blessing, music by Denes Agay
We are so fortunate in our community to have amazing music program in our schools, with an especially outstanding choral program at the high school. This happens because of dedicated music educators, and community support. When young people sing in a choir magic happens. Outside of skill development, community building and learning about commitment, there is just the sheer joy of being surrounded by sound. And when you are lucky enough to sing in an acoustically pleasing space, with a live piano accompanying your choir, it is truly a gift.
Choral music programs are essential to student development and well-being. I encourage you to support the work of your community music leaders. When choirs give concerts, either at schools or in community venues, attend. Hours of practice, preparation and dedication have been given to the music. Maybe consider sending an email to the school principal, or even the superintendent to applaud the efforts of your school music teacher – this helps secure programs and funding in these tenuous times where literacy, numeracy and STEM are the ‘headliners’ of education. Because can you really imagine a community without music? I wouldn’t want to.