May the Road Rise to Meet You for Adaptable Ensemble


for Adaptable (flex) band/orchestra/choir – Grade 3.5

VIDEO – Directed by J. Thomas Seddon w/ the Washburn University wind ensemble

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May the Road Rise to Meet You Irish Blessing

for Adaptable (flex) band/orchestra/choir

duration: 3 minutes

instrumentation (total possible):
flute 1-2, oboe, B clarinet 1-3, bass clarinet, bassoon
saxophones: soprano, alto, tenor, baritone
Bb trumpet 1-2, french horn 1-2, trombone (+2-3 and bass), euphonium, tuba timpani, 2 percussion: (sus. cymb, bass
drum, triangle) violin 1-2, viola, cello, contrabass,

Also included:
Melody in treble clef (high/low) and bass clef (high low), for solo possibility w/ piano
SATB choir: a cappella or w/ piano
Woodwind quintet
Saxophone quartet
Brass quintet
Trombone quartet
String quartet or orchestra (including contrabass)


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.

Notes from the composer:

When my father passed away in April of 2020, I was given the task of choosing a “prayer card” at the funeral home. Faced with the many choices in front of me, and an urgent decision, I was drawn to the one I recognized as the Irish Blessing.
When I lived in Naples, FL, my parents had decided to spend a bulk of their time there as well, and they had chosen as their church the Naples United Church of Christ. I had played there many times as a trumpeter, and had been present on many occasions when one of their favorite singers would sing the Irish Blessing at the close of a service. I always loved it.
Now, as a composer, I have decided to set that text to my own music, as a way of remembering those times with my parents, and, of course, to honor the memory of my father.

My father was also a pianist, and the (optional) piano part is written in much the way in which he might have accompanied the choir at the NUCC. He also sang tenor in the choir. My mother was an alto, and therefore I thought it appropriate to start the work featuring the altos.

Jim Stephenson; February 17, 2021

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