New music to be featured on the "Upon These Shores" concert program
"We Can Mend the Sky"
by Jake Runestad commissioned for The Master Chorale of Tampa Bay
My sister is an English teacher at the Minnesota International Middle School in Minneapolis which provides a safe and inclusive environment for East African immigrant students to learn (many of whom are Somali). Most of these students came to the USA to escape the violent civil war that has plagued Somalia since 1991. Seeking a better life for their children, these students’ parents risked their lives to come to the USA - a valiant act of love. I wanted to tell their story through music and so I asked my sister to have her students write poems about their experiences leaving their home and coming to the USA. I received over 100 poems that contain passion, pride, emotion, and vivid stories of the sights and sounds that these young people have experienced. I sifted through these texts and found the powerful words of 14-year-old Warda Mohamed that became the backbone of the composition. Using Warda’s poem and two Somali proverbs, “We Can Mend the Sky” is a musical depiction of one’s journey as an immigrant and an affirmation of hope as we all embrace the diversity around us.
- Jake Runestad
Here is a video of Warda Mohamed, the poet for “We Can Mend the Sky,” speaking her poem “Let My Dream Come True.”
by Dale Warland
The text used in this setting was originally created as a gift from the distinguished poet (and dear friend) Michael Dennis Browne, on the occasion of my final concert with the Dale Warland Singers in May, 2004. Michael kindly modified his poem for the purpose of this setting for cello and mixed choir. “The Voices” was composed in 2013 for a consortium of 23 choirs, as a gift to Chorus America.
The Chorale's mission & commissioning new music
Mission: The Master Chorale is committed to advancing the art of choral music by performing great works of the past, commissioning and performing new literature and sharing the joy and power of choral music with new and existing audiences and singers.
In recent years The Chorale has regularly commissioned some of the most important contemporary composers to write for The Master Chorale including Eric Whitacre (Lux Aurumque), Paul Basler (Missa Kenya), Eleanor Daley (Listen to the Sunrise), Libby Larsen (Whitman’s America), Stephan Paulus (Sing Unto God), Alice Parker (The Rock and the River), and René Clausen (Jubilate Deo).
In addition, the Chorale hosts an annual national Christmas Carol Composition Competition. The contest receives over 30 entries every year from around the United States and the winning piece is featured on the Chorale's Christmas concert, including Holiday programs with The Florida Orchestra.