May the Road Rise to Meet You

From Wind Repertory Project
James Stephenson

James Stephenson

Subtitle: Irish Blessing

General Info

Year: 2021
Duration: c. 3:00
Difficulty: III (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Stephenson Music
Cost: Score and Parts (print) - $50.00; (digital) - $50.00

Instrumentation (Total possible; flexible)

Full Score
Flute I-II
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II-III
B-flat Bass Clarinet
B-flat Soprano Saxophone
E-flat Alto Saxophone
B-flat Tenor Saxophone
E-flat Baritone Saxophone
B-flat Trumpet I-II
Horn in F I-II
Trombone I-II-III
Bass Trombone
Percussion I-II, including:

  • Bass Drum
  • Suspended Cymbal
  • Triangle

Violin I-II

SATB Choir


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

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.

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.

When I lived in Naples, Fla., 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.

- Program Note by composer

For dad.

- Program Note from score

Performance Notes

The score groups instrumental and vocal parts such that the work can be played as full band or orchestra, a cappella choir with piano, woodwind quintet, saxophone quintet, brass quintet, trombone quintet, or string quartet.


State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • University of Wisconsin-Parkside Wind Ensemble (Laura Rexroth, conductor) - 20 October 2022

Works for Winds by This Composer

Adaptable Music

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