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Graduations: High school



Here's a compilation of responses regarding high school graduation songs:

At my current school, the tradition is that the seniors in choir pick a song
to be sung at graduation, and we do it only with piano accompaniment,
although I suppose we could do one with the band if we wanted to. (There
just happens to be a plethora of music with piano accompaniment as opposed
to band.) Difficulty is not so much an issue. All the choirs learn the song
and sing it to the seniors at our end of the year concert, but only the two
most advanced choirs and the seniors sing that song at the graduation. Most
graduation songs seem pretty easy, but a more challenging piece wouldn't be
out of the question.
Alexa Doebele

I have been in my present position for the past three years and what has
been done previously was that the seniors choose the senior song. Usually it
is something that is popular. This year one of our students wrote the senior
song that will be done by both band and senior choir members. We also have a
selection that is done by all of the choirs that I choose with the help of
some of the senior leaders from the top choir.
Inge Adelmeyer

You and the Song, by Ben Allaway, Santa Barbara Music Publishing. Great
farewell song from a choir to the conductor or parents. Also Ruth Bansci's
Walk Into Your World.
Ben Allaway

Because the students are so busy with Pops concert and graduation plans I
compose a piece for them and perform it for them. It is sort of a gift from
myself and then I give them all a framed copy. At my former school we
performed a piece voted on by the seniors.
Kelley E. Squires

I am of the keep it simple persuasion. In addition to the difficulties of
coordinating with instrumental programs, I've had a hard time getting
students together after classes and exams, before graduation. I usually have
one rehearsal after classes, before graduation and even that is sparsely
attended. People tend to be rather forgiving in these circumstances but I
hate having the seniors' last choral experience with me be sub-standard.
David Douglas

My composition Leave No Song Unsung, (SATB Heritage Music Press) has been a
good seller for graduation. It is not long and the text is appropriate.
However, do not worry so much about length because if it is
accessible...voice leading, accompaniment, etc. it may be able to be learned
fairly quickly and the length may not be an issue. My object is to always
write in success for the choir...good vowels in the correct tessitura, etc.
Linda Spevacek

At our school, the show choir (usually about 16 kids) sings one tune at the
graduation service. It's usually something quite easy (sometimes SAB) and in
a pop style. I let the choir seniors pick the song from a list I've made up
during the year. The band plays Pomp and Circumstance during the
processional.
Bret Nason

Thanks for the comments. It looks like something fairly easy to learn
without being too classically oriented is the general consensus for the
right graduation song. Here's a text I'm working on. Am thinking of an SAB
setting with both keyboard and Would love your opinions (private e-mail):

Out of the next of cozy down, into the limitless air,
the Dream soars.
Already and at last you leap and take hold.
Look back. Hear us sing,
"Be Well Always."

>From the lake of familiar depth, into the limitless ocean,
the Hope flows.
Already and at last you swim toward ebb and eddy.
Look back. Hear us murmur,
"Be Well Always."

Beyond the gate that swings open onto the limitless path,
the Adventure beckons.
Already and at last you run fast and glad.
Look back. Hear us calling,
"Be Well Always."

Copyright 2001, Brenda C. Kayne

Thanks, again.
Brenda
(Artistic Advisor
www.YourImpresario.com)

bckayne(a)yourimpresario.com





My original question about graduation traditions follows:

I am interested in knowing if your choirs participate in graduation
ceremonies, and if so, what sort of piece(s) are performed? Also - if a
soloist sings, what kind of piece do they perform? Our school has a
tradition of using one or two auditioned soloists as well as one piece
performed by the combined choirs, including the seniors. I am looking for
repertoire ideas beyond things like"You'll Never Walk Alone."

The compilation follows:


I have a piece suitable for HS graduation:
"I Move, I Go, I Seek" w/ text by Ray Bradbury. SATB, Piano acc.
I can send a sample copy if you like.

--Mark Gresham
mgresham(a)luxnova.com
Lux Nova Press
http://www.luxnova.com/


Cindy - my seniors only sing at graduation (not the whole choir),
and I let them decide what piece they want to sing. I get a lot of
different numbers on perusal, and let them decide. Sometimes I
feel the numbers they select are "schmaltzy" (I really don't know
how to spell that word!) but it is their graduation.

We have a similar tradition here.
In the past three years we have done the following repertoire:
And So It Goes- Arr. Bob Chilcott
An Irish Blessing- Rutter
When You Are Old- Kelley (?)
There is also I will Remember You- Sarah McClochlan arr. by Mac Huff.
Hope that Helps,

The piece of mine which has been performed at high school graduations is
"Trust the Seeds."

SATB a cappella
About 3 minutes long
$1.00/copy

Let me know if you'd like me to send you a free perusal copy.

Elizabeth Alexander

--
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Elizabeth Alexander / SEAFARER PRESS MUSIC
206 North Titus Avenue Ithaca, NY 14850
(607) 273-6489 / (800) 278-2087
FAX: (607) 273-4236
ea(a)elizabethalexander.com
http://www.elizabethalexander.com

A number of schools now use the song by Five O'Clock Shadow,
"Tribute."

http://mac3.a-cappella.com/shop/product_information.asp?number#60S

Be sure to check out ChoralNet's resources on this topic:
ChoralNet.org > Repertoire > Lists > Other occasions > Graduation
(there are several items, actually)

Letting Go, from Jeckle and Hyde
When We Say Good-bye, Mary Donnelly
The wish, Audrey Snyder

For other graduation exercises I have used various Kyrie's
How Can I Keep From Singing
Numerous Spirituals and some patriotic pieces.

I am a college student and a recent high school graduate.

What we did at my high school and what I am really a fan of is have a
competition, where different people or groups of people composed their own
graduation songs, and then had the grad committee select one, and then have
the young composer(s) be in charge of setting the music and getting whoever,
including the choir if necessary, involved, with, of course, the help of the
school's music department.

Of course, you'd need to have the interest in composition and the resourses
with which to put it together, but it can really turn out very well. It was
a tradition at my high school and I got to be involved in it.


We have sung songs like Brian's Song, Bridge over Troubled Waters, etc.
I try to pick music that has a message and is appealing to "Joe sixpack"
in the audience


The Irish Blessing is always a great tearjerker!

Also, "Laurie's Song" from The Tenderland by Copland is a hit - the lyrics
are about high school graduation, and it's truly beautiful!

My Concert Choir generally performs the alma mater and another selection en
masse. Seniors from the auditioned chamber group will sing the National
Anthem at the ceremony also - no other solo stuff.

This year I'm planning on good ol' "Flying Free" by Don Besig. Easy to put
together, pretty, and there's a very lyrical flute part. Simple but
effective is always good if your graduation is two weeks after the Spring
Concert!! I also think that the Thompson "Choose Something Like a Star" and
also "The Road Not Taken" would work very well.


We hire a brass quintet and arrange a piece for it to accompany our Glee
Club. We've had great success with John Leavitt's "Festival Sanctus" and
other joyous anthems. I can pull a few more titles out of the folder if you
like.

We usually do 2 selections at graduation. A piece like Seasons of Love, or
Letting Go from Jeckyll and Hyde. Last year we used a Soloist singing new
words based on the song Save the best for last. The words reflected
graduation moments for the seniors, and then the last selection was the
school anthem


Our choirs at Lambuth University perform for both baccalaureate and
graduation ceremonies. I usually have the chamber choir at baccalaureate
Sunday morning and the larger concert choir at graduation that
afternoon. We do a setting of the "Irish Blessing" which I wrote for the
choirs (we close all our concerts with it) - you can find it at
http://www.choralweb.com/descriptions/CWP-1240-SG8.html if you're
interested. I select various anthems suitable for the occasions - this
year I'm doing "O Sifuni Mungu" with the concert choir and a setting of
"Nunc Dimittis" I wrote for the chamber choir. An easy piece I would
recommend would be The Cloths of Heaven (Z. Randall Stroope) - it has a
nice secular text by Yeats that's appropriate for the occasion. Hope this
helps!

My current favorite is "Leave No Song Unsung" by Linda Spevacek. In fact, it
is sung at the end of every choral concert at our school. We will use it as
an "alumni" piece next year--so that the former students can be invited to
sing it with us. (Brand new School). This would work well for graduation. My
own children sing at a different school where they will sing the Star
Spangled Banner and Ed Lojeski's arrangement of "May the Good Lord Bless and
Keep You".

Each year our Concert Choir sings at graduation - I select a piece from our
repertoire that I feel would be appropriate and the seniors can pick a piece
which frequently falls in the I'll-miss-you-wasn't-it-great genre. Last
year we did "Seasons of Love," the year before we did "It's So Hard to Say
Goodbye to Yesterday". We don't do any solos because I feel it is unfair to
have a soloist for such an important event when you wuld easily have to
feature a 5-6 different seniors if you were fair.



Cindy Borik
cborik(a)aol.com
Portage Central High School
Portage, MI
616-323-5333
616-323-5290 (fax)




Thanks to all who responded to my request for Graduation Suggestions. The
Compilation follows.


Andrea C. Brumbach
Director of Choral Music
Exeter Township Senior High School
201 E. 37th Street
Reading, PA 19606




My suggestion for Graduation... "You are the New Day"

Gabriel E. Loving
Director of Music and Worship
Christ Covenant Presbyterian Church
Farrgut, Tennessee
865-671-1885
gloving(a)christcov.org


***************************************************************************
Some Suggestions I Have Are:

River in Judea *John Leavitt*

On Eagle's Wings

The Irish Blessing

Homeward Bound *Composer by Jay Althouse*

(from Melissa Strombelline


***************************************************************************

We did Copland's The Promise of Living, and honestly it didn't work very
well musically. But if your choir is really up to it AND YOU'RE NOT
OUTSIDE, go for it.

Paul Meers

***************************************************************************

We have a piece called "Just Passing By" It was written by Donna Rhodenizer
for
a graduation occasion. It brings tears to the listeners wherever it is
performed. We could send you a perusal copy if you can provide us with your
mailing address. We have also just released "Singing in the Choir" which is
a
comical look at all the parts of an SATB choir. The tenors get to sing the
tune
this time.
You can see more about some of our works on the web site at
http://www.redcastlepublishing.com/
Good luck in your quest for music.
Hope to hear from you soon.

Andy Duinker
Donna Rhodenizer
Red Castle Publishing


***************************************************************************

For the former, a different choice would be "Tribute," as sung be Five
O'Clock Shadow.
It's been performed by many high schools at graduation:

http://mac3.a-cappella.com/shop/product_information.asp?number#60S-T

Don Gooding


***************************************************************************

Voyage by Mac Huff

On the cover is this quote: I made a new voyage to a new
heaven and a new earth."- Christopher Columbus

Performance time: 3:00
"The text for "Voyage" is derived and adapted from the
onboard ship logs that Christopher Columbus kept on his
first of three trips to the new world. He wrote of the
incredible drive and determination of his attempt to
achieve his life's goals. The lyrics in "Voyage" attempt
to convey this inspiration in a broader, more universal
setting."

keyboard accompaniment with flute

Lyrics:
"The dawn is breaking, early morn.
The sun appears, a day is born.
Set the sails on to the west,
providence our only guest,
voyage now is heaven blessed.
Sail on!

Maintain the course, you'll find your way.
Journey to a brighter day.
Venture to a brave, new land,
mighty power in command,
hope that history understands.
Sail on!

Storm clouds linger, night is falling,
eyes are on the new frontier.
Breezes strengthen, hope is calling,
purpose in our mission now is clear.
Sail on!

The music of the winds grow strong.
Calling out adventure's song.
Lure of travel captivates,
tempting fortune, tempting fate,
mine alone to navigate,
Sail on!

The future summons from afar.
Keep on reaching for your star.
The glowing beam is well in sight,
rays of hope out in the night,
dreams all realized in the light.
Sail on!

C. 1991 Hal Leonard Publishing Corp.
#08730035
available in 3 part mixed and SATB

Terry Koch
kochte(a)rogerselementary.org

***********************************************************

Gaudeamus igitur (trad) - can be sung accompanied or with organ or piano.
See the conqu'ring hero comes - Handel, from Judas Maccabeus.

If the song is being used for a processional, both pieces can be repeated as
long as is necessay, since they have repeatable sectioins/verses. Also you
can vary things by having an organ or piano play some sections, singers
alone in some, and singers and instrument together in others - this is
helpful if it's a very long procession.

all the best,
Margot

Margot McLaughlin
Director, Macquarie University Singers
Macquarie University
NSW 2109 Australia
margdav(a)terrigal.net.au
conductor(a)mus.aicsa.org.au

************************************************************


The James Taylor version of "Lonesome Road" is touching, but this year, I am
having my choir sing (SATB) "When You Believe" from 'The Prince of Egypt'
movie.

Good luck!

Sarah Howe



************************************************************
I wrote an SAB song for Graduation - in both secular and sacred versions. I
know you requested an SATB piece or SB, but maybe this would work - or I
could write an arrangement for you. Anyway, the song is called, "Beyond,"
and you can look and hear it on this web site: www.songsforall.com . Just
click on the repertoire list to find it. You will have to download the
Scorch plug-in to see and hear the music. Let me know if if you have
trouble with that. I'd be glad to send you a score.

Sincerely,
Brenda C. Kayne
kayne(a)songsforall.com


on March 31, 2002 10:00pm
My graduating seniors do the national anthem together, then my advanced chorus sings one song that we select together. This year, there's a new song by Albrecht/Althouse entitled "For Just A Little While". In recent years, we've done "Irish Blessing", "May You Go Forth In Love", "Letting Go", "I Will Remember You".....
on October 8, 2002 10:00pm
I heartily recommend Joyce Eilers Bacak's setting of "The Irish Blessing" for SATB a cappella.("May the road rise up to meet you...") Published in 1985 by Jenson Publications, the voice ranges are practical and the piece flows beautifully with excellent voice-leading and counterpoint throughout. I've used it every year since I began teaching. You go, Joyce!
on October 8, 2002 10:00pm
I have had great success and positive comments from my own arrangement (unpublished) of the Beatles "In My Life" It is fairly easy(SATB)and uses piano accompaniment only. If you know my other works, you can imagine this piece doesn't bear much resemblance to the original, except for the words and tune. (Hey, I like to fiddle around with a chart.) If you don't recall the song, it begins "There are places I remember all my life, though some have changed..." My arrangement is quite mellow, without the heavy beat of the original, and solos can be used instead of tutti in a couple of places. Kudos to Choralnet (which I just discovered today.) I can be reached at Van Nuys High School, 6535 Cedros St., Van Nuys, CA 91411
on October 20, 2002 10:00pm
I could really use some help. I'm looking for a piece that meets these specs:
--SATB (for about 60 singers)
--with band/orch instrumentation
--not too "pop" sounding
Any suggestions would be much appreciated!

Carolyn Mitchell
Marquette High School
Chesterfield, MO
mstg3@rockwood.k12.mo.us
on November 11, 2002 10:00pm
The best song for graduation that I have ever heard is "Tribute' by Jo Jo David. The text and the song has been recorded by the vocal groupFive O'clock Shadow
on November 11, 2002 10:00pm
Two of John Rutter's works I have used for graduations are:
Seeds Grow To Plants and Gaelic Blessing
I've also used "Corner of the Sky" from Pippin which works nicely for a more "pop" sound. If you have the resources "Promise of Living" by Copland (from The Tender Land) is a cool piece...
on November 13, 2002 10:00pm
I recently came across a beautiful piece by Donna Gartman Schultz called "Remember." This is a Doreen Rao's Conductor's Choice piece of music and the text is very appropriate for graduation cermonies.
on December 12, 2002 10:00pm
I especially like the Bob Dylan song, "Forever Young". It's pop, but the words are so appropriate for graduation.
on January 1, 2003 10:00pm
Like an Eagle"
Now is the time to follow the wind,
to walk alone.
And a star will show the way above
the clouds, beyond the sea.
And now is the time, now and farewell,
and as we part, you taght me well.
You gave me strength,
you showed me the way.
I'll not forget you.

Like an eagle I will soar above the clouds,
I will spread my wings and fly into the sun.
Like an eagle I will race above the stars,
I will fly to places yet unseen,
go beyond my wildest dreams.
Know that you are watching over me.

Like an eagle I will fly,
Like an eagle I will fly!

Fly- I'm gonna fly the highest mountain,
Fly- I'm gonna fly above the clouds,
Fly- I'm gonna fly the highest mountain,
Fly- I'm gonna fly above the clouds,
Fly- I'm gonna fly the highest mountain,
Fly- I'm gonna fly above the clouds,

Like an Eagle I will fly

-Carl Strommen

on January 23, 2003 10:00pm
I would highly recommend Robert Page's arrangement of "Our Time" from the musical Merrily We Roll Along by Stephen Sondheim. It is the graduation song sung by the characters in the show at their own high school graduation. The text and music are beautiful and moving and Mr. Page's arrangements of Sondheim are brilliant.
on February 1, 2003 10:00pm
Try Phil Mattson's a cappella arrangement of "I'll be Seeing You". An oldie, but very appropriate for graduation. The ranges are very reasonable, and you won't find a better treatment anywhere. You'll have to look Phil up in Iowa to get copies.
on February 8, 2003 10:00pm
A few good songs we performed for my high school graduation were:
"To Everything There is a Season" Which is a beautiful SATB arrangement...don't recall the composer at the moment.
and "Friends are friends forever" SATB inspired by the Michael w. Smith song only not as "pop". The first one is ideal!!
on February 8, 2003 10:00pm
And now there's a NEW graduation satb song written by Gwen Hall and published by Hinshaw Music entitled "I Seek a Journey." A cappella or with piano acc. VERY nice!
on March 18, 2003 10:00pm
An appropriate graduation anthem:
"Life Has Loveliness to Sell", Robert Mulholland, SATB chorus w/ F. Horn

Text by Rossetti, (I think). Lovely sentiments, difficult music, but quite worth the struggle.

on March 24, 2003 10:00pm
Stephen Paulus has a new piece called "The Road Home." Its tune is recognizable as "The Lone Wild Bird" from Southern Harmony, but it uses new text by Michael Dennis Browne. The most moving part of the text is at the end: Rise up, follow me/ Come away is the call/ With love in your heart as the only sound/ There is no such beauty as where you belong/ Rise up, follow me/ I will lead you home. SATB with optional soprano descant. It is also available for SSAA. He also has a great graduation piece for younger singers, called "Always Remember." It was written for his son's graduation from 5th grade.
on April 18, 2003 10:00pm
"Bring On Tomorrow" from the musical FAME. Great tear jearker with a twist of strength behind it.
on June 25, 2003 10:00pm
"Things That Never Die" Lee Dengler text by Charles Dickens
"Peace, I leave with you" Rene Clausen
"Illumina Oculoe Meos" (Enlighten my eyes) Palestrina
on July 18, 2003 10:00pm
Robert Young's "Journey Home" Now with you we let go the hurt and the pain and travel on with home. Now with you we leave the familiar paths behind and step out into the unknown. Bless to us all O god the doors we open, the thresholds we cross. The roads that lie before us. Go with us as we journey on and at our journey's ending, open your arms and welcome us home.
on September 5, 2003 10:00pm
I did eventually write the song "Beyond" as an SAB piece in both secular and sacred versions. It can be viewed at www.songsforall.com. It can be sung as a graduation song or as a farewell piece or goodwill send-off song for loved ones embarking on a new journey, job, adventure, etc.
Brenda C. Kayne
kayne@songsforall.com
on October 9, 2003 10:00pm
Hi there folks,

I'm a University of Texas and University of Washington graduate, a former member of high school and college choirs, and a songwriter and poet in my own right. I wanted to let choir directors know of a song I penned in 1998, dedicated to my high school choir, that would be great for graduation use. The song is called "That's How I'll Remember You". I have music and lyrics, but no SATB arrangement as of yet. I was hoping I could interest directors and perhaps have the song transcribed and used for choir.

Here's some of the lyrics below. If you are interested in learning more or working with me on the song, please contact me at andrew@simplyscottish.com.
Thanks.
-------

That's How I'll Remember You

Verse One
The music speaks, and we sing softly,
and for a moment, or voices become one,
we sing a lullaby, we sing an anthem,
inside our hearts,
and I know it's just a moment,
but when that moment is gone,
that's how I'll remember you.

Years will come, and years will pass away,
and we all move on to others things in life,
one day every face will come back to me,
when I sing these songs,
so this might just be the last time
we'll ever share a song,
but that's how I'll remember you.
--------------------------------

Yours sincerely,
Andrew McDiarmid
andrew@simplyscottish.com


That's How I'll Remember You is copyright 1998, Andrew McDiarmid.
All rights reserved.

on November 30, 2003 10:00pm
I think it should be
"there you'll be"
by: faith hill

I sang that song for my graduation. its a wonderful song~
its like saying there you'll be my memories!
when i look back on the days!

"when i think back on these times
and the dreams we've left behind
i'll be glad cause i was blessed to get to have you in my life
when i look back on these days i'll look and see your face you were right there for me
in my dreams i'll always see you soar above the sky
in my heart there'll always be a place for you for all my life
i'll keep apart of you with me
and everywhere i am there you'll be
and everywhere i am there you'll be
well you showed me how it feels
to feel the sky within my reach
and i always will remember all the things you gave to me
your love made me make it through
oh..i owe so much to you
you were right there for me
in my dreams i'll always see you soar above
the sky
in my heart there'll always be a place for you for all my liffffee
i'll kkkeeeeppp a place for you in me and everywhere i am there'll be
and everywhere i am there you'll be
thhheeerrreeee yyooouuuu''llllll bbbeeeeeeeee!!!!!!!"

beautiful song!!!!
on December 3, 2003 10:00pm
When I graduated High School, our advanced choir sang "This Is The Moment" from the musical "Jeckyll and Hyde" and it worked out great. Not only that, there are also some good places in the SATB music that can become great "final" solo's for graduates (if the choir also contains underclassmen). Dont know if this will help, but it worked great when we performed it.
on January 30, 2004 10:00pm
A number of high school choirs have used my "Love Never Ends," published by Alliance Music, for their graduation ceremonies. While it is primarily used for weddings (text based on I Cor. 13,) choral directors have found the theme of love never ending, one for the other, to be useful.

EV
on February 28, 2004 10:00pm
My, how times have changed! What has happened to the intelligence of America now shows up in the styles and choices of music for graduation. It certainly speaks volumes that a country with an average 4th grade education would choose "Pop" and "Broadway" literature to sing at one of the largest "rites of passage" our young people experience.

When I graduated from high school in 1967 our choir sang Norman Dello Joios "Jubilant Song!" I thank God for Virginia Uldrick, a fabulous woman in her faith, skills and musical knowledge. She led us into respect for the arts, created many performance opportunities in a growing area of the foothills of South Carolina, even developing "The Governor's School of the Arts." What a teacher! Are there any more like her? Don't you think it is time we real musicians teach real music?
on March 12, 2004 10:00pm
I would appreciate knowing where to get hold of Robert Page's arrangement of "Our Time", JoJo David's "Tribute" and Stephen Paulus' "Always Remember".
on March 27, 2004 10:00pm
Check out "We Are the Music-makers" for SSAA or SATB voices, piano and optional orchestra. It's written by Patti Drennan and published by Alliance. Really neat!!
on April 16, 2004 10:00pm
At graduation at Tupelo High School(MS), they ALWAYS do John Rutter's arrangement of The Lord Bless You and Keep You. It is such a moving song, because it asks for the seniors(in the song) to be given peace, and that the lord would look upon them with favor. It always brings tears to my eyes.....
on May 1, 2004 10:00pm
To Estelle Pace,
You can get Robert Page's "Our Time" at www.jwpepper.com and Five O'Clock Shadow's "Tribute" at Mainely A Cappella (www.a-cappella.com). Great tear-jerker, by the way. Sorry, I can't help you with "Always Remember."
on May 6, 2004 10:00pm
I have used the beautifully set text of the Irish blessing by Katie Moran Bart for spring concert farewells to seniors and also a graduation. It is titled simply "Blessing" and published by Curtis.
on May 7, 2004 10:00pm
"Here's to Song" Alastair Macgillivray
on May 18, 2004 10:00pm
There is a good arr. of "Wanting Memories" which was done by Sweet Honey and the Rock. Very good text and harmonies. My students absolutely loved it.
on May 25, 2004 10:00pm
This year we have an SSA choir doing "Homeward Bound" by Marta Keen and arranged by Jay Althouse. It was also useful given the lack of time we had for preparation due to 2 performances of different music this month.

Alan Whaley
Choir Director
Benzie Central High School
Benzonia, MI
on June 3, 2004 10:00pm
I have had a lot of success with combining the parting blessing with Michael W. Smith's "Friends". Simply pick any arrangement that exsists (Perferrably in F)of the parting blessing sung acappella and on the cut off have the piano begin for "Friends". It's as if they were meant to be together.
on June 27, 2004 10:00pm
Our choir performs at the Baccalaureate service, while the band performs at graduation. This year, I had my students perform "In My Life" arr. by Roger Emerson and "That Lonesome Road" arr. by Simon Carrington. The Emerson arrangement is of the old Beatles tune that you may have heard on the TV show "Providence." It has a nice melody and solo line for a male or female, and also includes a "Swingle Singers" style section in the middle. My kids really enjoy the challenge of this piece. They were not as thrilled about singing "That Lonesome Road" (originally by James Taylor), mainly because of the lyrics. But I made them sing it anyway because I knew they would come to love the Carrington arrangement as much as I had. Turns out I was right! When they learned the notes well, they loved it and sang it with so much emotion. At Baccalaureate, not only were the singers in tears, but they noticed that their audience was also. And it was worth it to get that kind of reaction from their audience for their final senior piece.
The year before, we performed "Homeward Bound" (arr. Jay Althouse) and "I Wish You Well My Friend" (Don Besig?). "I Wish..." has PERFECT lyrics for graduation or baccalaureate, and is pretty easy to learn and sing. It was also a huge tearjerker.
on May 20, 2005 10:00pm
Rene Clausen's "Simple Gifts" is a nice a cappella selection (if your graduation ceremony takes place where it's difficult to bring in a piano). The tune is accessible to audiences of all ages and musical tastes, because it is familiar and appealing. The text is timeless and appropriate for graduation and not too religious, if that is an issue in your community. It is exceptionally well-crafted, chorally, and while the ending is somewhat aleotoric, it can easily be modified/adapted for the occasion. There is a great deal of divisi, but if you have the voices (I did it with just 40), it is a way to show off a good choral tone and yet still appeal to your wide graduation audiences who might not always care for or appeciate "choir sounds" and are hoping for something shallow and pop in their graduation song.
on June 13, 2006 10:00pm
Some have mentionned Seasons of Love by J. Larson. We sang it a our Baccalaureate ceremony a few years ago. I asked the students (choir and non-choir members) to submit what they remembered most of their year at the school. We worked their suggestions into the music and made up our personal verses keeping Larson's idea: How do you measure a year? Very touching.

Let the River Run - (Carly Simon) from the movie Working Girl. The arranger's name escapes me at the moment.
on January 14, 2007 10:00pm
I am looking for a song about trustworthiness/friendship for a character education assembly for our first graders. Any suggestions? I thought about a choral piece "Friends, Forever" by Jay Althouse and simplify it.
on August 27, 2007 10:00pm
Would someone please post the lyrics to "Seeds Grow to Plants"?
Thanks for this mitzvah!
on August 27, 2007 10:00pm
Violating copyright is a mitzvah?
on March 2, 2008 10:00pm
For our end of the year concert, we sing

You Raise Me Up- Josh Groban

it works out great and is definitely powerful.
Hope that helps a bit.
on May 19, 2008 10:00pm
At our school we sang two different numbers and both are very appropriate for this type of occasion. They are:

"It's Time For Movin' On" By Don Besig


"Wings" by Carl Strommen


If you have the opportunity to listen to either one of these, I think you will have found your new graduation tradition!
on February 6, 2011 4:33pm
Addendum to "Beyond".  All songs on the www.songsforall.com website can be downloaded FOR FREE!  Notify the composer at kayne_@_songsforall.com if you plan to download and/or rehearse and perform the song.