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seeking a secular song of farewell for international student body

My school often has students and their families taking leave in the middle or end of the school year, moreso than most schools, because many are in military, business, or diplomatic jobs which require frequent moves.   When a student or families leaves we have a short ritual to say good-bye,  and for this purpose I would like to add a song.
I am searching for a farewell song in English  that is easy for all to learn and remember,  not too sad, is not a religious text,  is not too "flip" or sentimental.  ("so long, farewell,  from "The Sound of Music" won't do)   It should be tonal and not any more difficult than a standard folk song.  THe range must be limited, as non singers as well as singers will be learning it.
It would be wonderful if the song could be dressed up with harmony sung by choral students on occasion,  otherwise,  it must be able to sound convincing in a unison setting.
Any suggestions?  
on December 31, 2013 7:39pm
Aloha, Jura,
Take a look at James Mulholland's arrangement of "Think on Me" by Mary, Queen of Scots. It's a strong and beautiful melody. The melody would work fine in unison, and could be accompanied and sung in harmony as needed.
Tim Carney
Chaminade University
Hawaii Vocal Arts Ensemble
Applauded by an audience of 1
on January 1, 2013 3:52am
Hi Jura -
There is a beautiful setting of "Innsbruck, ich muss dich lassen" ("Innsbruck, I Must Leave You") by Heinrich Isaac (1450–1517), with text updated by Paul Brandvik in his madrigal dinner book. As I recall (and this is from 40 years ago!) the text is:
"My friends, we now must leave thee,
We go our way, though grieved be,
A strange land soon we'll see.
We know that on the morrow,
Our joy will grow from sorrow,
When we again shall meet."
When I supervised a high school exchange trip to Germany, our students sang it accompanied by guitar. It is similarly beautiful in the a cappella four-part chorale version.
Best wishes,
on January 1, 2013 6:49am
Are you old enough to remember Roy Rogers and Dale Evans?  And their theme song "Happy Trails"?  It's short and sweet and old fashioned, easy to sing, and well...just swell.  Can be sung in unison, two-part, or four-part. You can add guitar, and even a whistler or two or three...and maybe even some "clip clop" sound effects (horse).  If you search on YouTube you'll find a few different ways of doing it.  It's a great "sing along" song.
Happy trails to you, until we meet again.
Happy trails to you, keep smilin' until then.
Who cares about the clouds when we're together?
Just sing a song and bring the sunny weather.
Happy trails to you, 'till we meet again.

Some trails are happy ones,
Others are blue.
It's the way you ride the trail that counts,
Here's a happy one for you.

Happy trails to you, until we meet again.
Happy trails to you, keep smilin' until then.
Who cares about the clouds when we're together?
Just sing a song and bring the sunny weather.

Happy trails to you, 'till we meet again.
- - - - - - - - - -
on January 1, 2013 11:29am
Not perfect, but Randall Stroope's Omnia Sol is really wodnerful.  NOT difficult, mostly unison or two part, some four part, mostly English, some Latin.  I suppose if there are any sections that are too long or too much Latin you could take a cut, since it's strophic and the wrods repeat.  When I do this for finale concerts every loves it.  Here are the lyrics.
Omnia Sol (Let Your Heart be Staid)
Z. Randall Stroope

Somewhere far from nowhere, I grew both strong and tall…
Longing to become, but knowing not the path at all!
But the footprints of the winter melted to fields of spring;
One last embrace before I cross the threshold: To life we sing!

O stay your soul and leave my heart its song!
O stay your hand; the journey may be long!
And when we part, and sorrow can’t be sway’d….
Remember when, and let your heart be staid.

Omnia sol temperat,
Absens in remota.
Ama me fideliter,
Fidem mean noto.
[Translation from The Latin:
The sun warms everything,
even while I am far away.
Love me faithfully,
and know that I am faithful.]

Weave the dance and raise the chorus; grieve no more…
Through the strength of Orion, find refuge from the shore!
Let courage be your oar, let passion be your sail;
Wisdom and truth will guide your deep heart’s yearning, though all travail!

O stay your soul and leave my heart its song!/Omnia sol...
For singers, as oppposed to saying goodbye to the general populace, Althouse's "Music, You Are a Friend to Me" is a good one

Applauded by an audience of 1
on January 2, 2013 5:33am
I'd recommend Here's to Song by Macgillivray and Lydia Adams. Available in several voicings, easy to learn and very singable. It is written in folk song style (verse and refrain - verses make lovely solos if desirable), based on a beautiful text that is about parting.The refrain text is: 
Here's to song,
here's to time,
here's to both with friends of mine.
Here's to friends who raise their voices high.
Kings have riches widesly lain,
Lords have land but then again,
We have friends and song no wealth can buy.
I've done this piece with lots of youth choirs - they love it!
Good luck with your search.
on January 2, 2013 7:38am
Take a look at Sue Ellen Page's Peace Be With You (Chorister's Guild CGA-703)--It was originally used at the end of an elementary school operetta that had many nationalities represented and may be what you are looking for.  While not in English it is a simple melody that sets the international phrase of parting "peace be with you" in 12 different languages and nicely captures the essence of the message.   It has some simple, optional divisi and I've used it as a closer on numerous international tours with adult and student choirs with good success.
Best wishes
Scott Dean
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