We Can Mend the Sky

We Can Mend the Sky

5 out of 5 based on 15 customer ratings
(15 customer reviews)

Digital score.
8:30. SATB choir & percussion.
 
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About the Work

Commissioned by the Master Chorale of Tampa Bay. Dr. James Bass, artistic director.
 

The Story

My sister was 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.
 
Commissioned by the Master Chorale of Tampa Bay. James Bass, conductor.
 

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Libretto:

Let My Dream Come True by Warda Mohamed (14-year-old student and immigrant from Somalia)

In my dream I saw a world free of violence
hunger
suffering
a world filled with love
Now awake in this world
I beg, let my dream come true.

Naftu orod bay kugu aamintaa.
(To save your life, run with all your might.)

If we come together, we can mend a crack in the sky.

*Many thanks to Abdi Mohamed for his help with translation and pronunciation.*

Warda Mohamed reads her poem “Let My Dream Come True”


 
Interview with Jake Runestad and Warda Mohamed about the work:

15 reviews for We Can Mend the Sky

  1. 5 out of 5

    :

    Being part of the commissioning choir for this piece was one of the best experience of my 8 years in The Master Chorale of Tampa Bay. Jake managed to create an absolutely fabulous marriage of text and music. Singing it was a powerful experience and evoked an emotion from the audience that was palpable. Buy this piece. You will not be sorry.

  2. 5 out of 5

    :

    I connected with this piece on so many levels; it took sincere effort to keep the tears from rolling down my face as I was learning the music and I didn’t always succeed, even in performance! I’m an advocate of equality for all and the most important thing is not how different we are, but how similar we all are. We really just want to be heard and loved. That’s kind of what it all boils down to: a connection with each other. “We Can Mend the Sky” embodies that ideal and I hope, as a country, we can all remember this.

  3. 5 out of 5

    :

    Being a part of the chorus for the first performance of Jake’s commissioned piece was a wonderful experience. However, now that I have had the privilege of actually hearing it from the audience’s point of view, it has made the experience all the more memorable. What a brilliant composition! Jake managed to create so much feeling into his piece that you cannot perform it without feeling the emotion. I only hope it is performed around the world to spread the word that, yes, we CAN mend the sky!

  4. 5 out of 5

    :

    In America, we can easily become so personally isolated from tribulations the rest of the world endures. Wars portrayed on TV news have been so sanitized and professionally edited so as not to offend. Jake Runestad’s “We Can Mend The Sky” musically evokes the horror of civilians trapped in a modern-day shooting war, from the first discordant harmonies and impactful bass drum, to the emerging final hopeful plea for peace. Runestad has masterfully blended several musical styles into a very coherent whole that leaves a lasting impression on performers and audience alike. Believe me when I say I am not a fan of much of the 20th Century’s unmelodic pieces. To experience Jake Runestad’s music gives me hope for the 21st Century.

    It was truly an honor, as a member of the Master Chorale of Tampa Bay, to take part in the premiere of Jake’s creation. The time spent preparing and rehearsing, under the sensitive guidance, encouragement and uncanny interpretive skills of our conductor, Dr. James Kelly Bass, contributed greatly to the overall thrill of performing Mend the Sky.

  5. 5 out of 5

    :

    Commissioned by the Master Chorale of Tampa Bay, I have to say this is one of the finest commissions we’ve had in the last 10 years. Jake has created a piece that is both challenging and accessible, and with the ever changing landscape of our country, should be sought after by educators everywhere.

  6. 5 out of 5

    :

    This piece was commissioned for debut by the Master Chorale of Tampa Bay, as part of its “Upon These Shores” concert, which focused on the immigration experiences we all share, in one way or another. “We Can Mend the Sky” has something for everyone – conflict, resolution, horror, and beauty, all resolving toward a thoroughly moving conclusion. Jake Runestad has managed to pen a piece that beautifully captures the hopes and dreams of all immigrants – safe haven and opportunity.

  7. 5 out of 5

    :

    This piece was such a wonderful and beautifl challenge! Once we conquered it for the world premiere, it felt like such an accomplishment. The passion Jake was able to envoke from us all was amazing! Every part that is written into this piece is vital to the complete picture. It was such a pleasure to be a part of this world premiere!

  8. 5 out of 5

    :

    One of most unique and emotionally moving works I have had the pleasure of performing. Knowing the story behind the piece made it all the more powerful. Bravo, Jake Runestad.

  9. 5 out of 5

    :

    The challenge of singing in an unfamiliar language, music never heard before, except in the composer’s imagination, telling a story that, fortunately, we have never experienced, culminated in a profound joy, unity and hope for the future. This performance was the first time. in my experience, that an audience gave a standing ovation in the middle of a concert. The message and the music are truly inspirational.

  10. 5 out of 5

    :

    One of the most magical, spiritual and awe inspiring works I have ever had the pleasure to have performed. Singing with the intense rhythms in Somali was an amazing experience. Weaving so much color until we ended with a Huge Chorus of “If we come together, we can mend a crack in the sky.” It will always be a song close to my heart. You are an amazing Composer. I hope “We Can Mend The Sky” Will be performed to audiences around the World!!

  11. 5 out of 5

    :

    This is, in short, an absolutely STUNNING work from start to finish. It was such an incredible honor to be a part of the first presentation of this piece. Equally wonderful, as an English teacher, is to be able to share both the poem and the musical piece with my students. What an amazing learning experience for them, as well as for me. Once you hear this piece, it will never leave you; again, a journey of musical genius from beginning to end.

  12. 5 out of 5

    :

    It was thrilling to be a part of the world premiere of this piece. The text and the music are so powerful and moving. The percussion accompaniment provides an urgency that grabs the listener from the beginning and doesn’t let go until the message of hope and unity starts to emerge. This is music that needs to be heard in today’s world. Thank you Jake for making a difference in our lives.

  13. 5 out of 5

    :

    This is a very moving composition that captures the powerful experiences and heartfelt dreams of a young girl, bringing them to life for our own reflection and understanding. Words from her native tongue capture her yearning and terror, and musical textures paint a soundscape that expresses the inner feelings and chaos she experienced. Both the poetry and the music move us to her world and transform it into ours. This is a truly global piece, reflecting genuine thoughts and perceptions from one culture and “migrating” these to understandings expressed in a new culture. The listener actually hears original thoughts and feelings being transformed into a universal prayer. We become aware of our common yearnings, hopes and dreams, no matter what part of the world we may live in or what language is used–be it our native tongue, a foreign language or a new musical form. Bravo, Jake Runestad!

  14. 5 out of 5

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    I had the honor of premiering this piece with the Master Chorale of Tampa Bay. I can honestly say that this music is so poignant and moving that it’s lyrics and melody still haunt me months later, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. This is a piece that your group will want to perform.

  15. 5 out of 5

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    Warda Mohamed, Anisa Abdi, and Ahmed Warsame are my top 3 favorite poems from Jake Runestad. It really spoke to me about this, and the orchestra was just beautiful. THANK YOU STUDENTS OF MIMS, and JAKE RUNESTAD

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