An Old Irish Blessing

by Teresa Jennings

This gentle song is probably the closest thing to a "serious" piece of music we offer in this issue. (You may have noticed that everything else seems to be fun, light, short, easy - somewhat of a departure from our first three issues of the year.) There are many musical versions of this well-known poem around, but naturally, we like ours the best. It is unison, so it is simple to learn, but it presents a chance for you to show off your children's "classical" vocal qualities. Our first choice for style is "pure" (using a nice, round head voice exclusively), but since it is technically a folk song, an easygoing folk style would work, too. It's your call. It might even be impressive as a solo.

Admittedly, the piano accompaniment included in this issue is quite lovely. However, we would be remiss if we did not encourage you to use the P/A cassette for accompaniment for this song instead of piano. We have painstakingly orchestrated a brass ensemble reminiscent of the Percy Grainger renditions of the folk songs of the British Isles. If you don't wish to use the cassette for performance, at least let your students listen to it. The instrumentation includes flugelhorns, horns, euphoniums, and bass trombones. The rich blend is extraordinarily beautiful.

If you do play the piano accompaniment, remember to be flexible for the last part of the piece at measure 22. Crescendo into it and play with great emotion, then ease up and ritard by the third measure of the phrase. Use lots of finesse.

Since this is a slower piece, we have also provided optional sign language on page 22.

One more idea: one of our folks on staff suggested that this would be a great piece for graduations and similar emotional events.

Text is taken from Music K-8 magazine.