‘Fare thee well’: Saying goodbye with a sweet melody

Southern Adventist University I Cantori folder and music. Friday, April 15, 2022.
(Photo by: Victoria Mills)
Southern Adventist University I Cantori folder and music. Friday, April 15, 2022. (Photo by: Victoria Mills)

Throughout my time as the religion editor for this pretty amazing little newspaper, I have seen several themes emerge in my writing. I can’t stop writing about books and music and the beauty of Jesus and His love. So even though I’ve written about it before, I’m going to revisit the theme of music once again in this last article. 

On Sunday, April 10, Bel Canto, Die Meisterzinger and I Cantori (Southern’s choral groups) performed for our spring concert that was aptly named “Wisdom, Wit and Wonder.” 

Dr. Gennevieve Brown-Kibble, our incredible director, has been planning the concert for months, and we’ve been practicing some of these pieces since the beginning of the semester. We sang everything from humorous folk songs and nursery rhymes to deeply stirring spirituals and lyrical pieces. It was a really special experience. 

One of the pieces that we sang affected me so deeply, and it fits so well with the end of the year that it’s perfect to write about here. It’s a love song, but it doesn’t just apply to lovers. Here are some of the lyrics:

“Far away love, Far away love

O’er the mountains and country wide

Take my heart love, Take my heart love

No one knows, the tears I’ve cried

Oh come ye back love, Oh come ye back love

The sun and moon refuse to shine

Since you have gone away,

This lonely heart has had no peace of mind

O love my time I’ll bide

‘Till you are by my side

Fare thee well love, Fare thee well love

Far away, you must go

Take my heart love, Take my heart love

Will we never meet, again no more

Fare thee well”

When we first received the piece of music during practice, Dr. Kibble told us that she had debated whether or not it was a good idea for us to learn and perform it, partly because we wouldn’t have as much time to practice as she would have liked and partly because it’s a really difficult song. The harmonies are dissonant at times. But those harmonies, along with challenging intervals and the soaring tenor solo, reflect the words of the song perfectly. 

We practiced long and hard, and I’m so proud of my friends, these people who have shown what it’s like to be in a Christ-led, Christ-praising group. Performing this piece was one of the best musical experiences I’ve ever been a part of.

So, what does all this have to do with the end of the year? I just want to say, “Fare thee well.” To all of the graduating seniors (especially those in choir; love you guys), transferring students and faculty, retiring faculty and staff, and whoever else is not coming back next year, “Fare thee well.” I have confidence that God will continue to lead and guide in your lives. 

“The Lord bless you and keep you;

The Lord make His face shine upon you,

And be gracious to you;

The Lord lift up His countenance upon you,

And give you peace” (Numbers 6: 24-26, NKJV).

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