Jake Runestad was born on May 20th, 1986 in Rockford, Illinois. After high school Runestad studied music at Eastern Illinois University. He went to Eastern Illinois University in 2005 and 2005. From 2005 to 2009 he got his degree in music from Winona State University. Starting in 2009 and ending in 2011 he earned his masters degree in music composition from John Hopkins University. “Mr. Runestad has been represented in many genres including music for wind band, chorus, orchestra, chamber ensembles, jazz ensemble, and opera. He has gotten awards and grants from ASCAP, the American Composers Forum, the Peabody Conservatory, the Otto Bremer Foundation, VocalEssence, the Virginia Arts Festival, the National Association for Music Education, and the American Choral Directors Association of Minnesota” (from jakerunstad.com). “Dreams of the Fallen,” is Jake’s work for solo piano, chorus, and orchestra, was played by five orchestras from around the U.S.A. After its opening performance at the National World War II Museum in 2013, the work has obtained national recognition in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Huffington Post, and Symphony Magazine (from jakerunestad.com) He has been in numerous ensembles and organizations such as the Virginia Arts Festival, Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra, Seraphic Fire vocal ensemble, the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra, the Rockford Symphony Orchestra, the Baltimore Choral Arts Society, the Peabody Children’s Chorus, and the Lunar Ensemble. Runestad is currently based in Minneapolis, MN and his music is published by JR Music (wiki). I chose the first piece to be “Please Stay” by Jake Runestad. The reason I chose this piece was that the title made me curious about what the song is about. “Please Stay” is a song for hope and an attempt to make everyone aware of mental illnesses and challenge all of us to support those who are battling depression and thoughts of suicide. The dynamics and how powerful the beginning of this song really stood out to me the first time I listened to it. This piece makes me think of how many lives are lost because of suicide each and every year.”Please Stay” is written for Sopranos, altos, tenors, and basses, and is written in English. The instruments that this song includes is piano. The tempo tends to change within the piece, and this song is definitely a more sad type of song. Jake Runestad wrote this song because of high numbers of suicide and he said, “In 2013, suicide took the lives of 41,149 people in the USA alone. Depression affects about 20 million people in the USA, 350 million worldwide. Mental health disorders are serious issues in our culture and it is important that we have open conversation about their existence and that we show support to those who are battling them” (Runestad 1).The second piece I chose from Jake Runestad was “Alleluia”. I chose this piece because I really enjoy the energy of this piece and the clapping in the middle, and the ending to this song is the best part. The dynamics in this song also stand out to me, and the change of temp later on in the song. My favorite part about this song is definitely the clapping. I think it adds an extra needed element to the song. This piece makes me think of a church group from some reason. “Alleluia” is written for sopranos, altos, bases, and tenors. This song does not have any accompanists and is sung a capella. The song alternates between fast and slow tempos, and the song sounds happy in the beginning but by the end the song slows down and sounds more sad. It is written in English. The story behind this piece is how Jake felt that the singing of “alleluia” has served as a celebration as well as an expression of praise. The third piece I chose was “And so I go on”. I chose to write about this song because I liked them movement that the piece contained. What stands out to me the most in this piece is again the dynamics, and a soprano note towards the end. But the dynamics in this song is very powerful. This song doesn’t really make me think of anything if i’m going to be honest. It is written for sopranos, altos, tenors, and basses. This song has no instruments in it and is sung as a acapella. The overall tempo of this piece I feel is slow. I wouldn’t say that this song is either sad or happy. I can’t really tell what it is. This song is in English. When asked about the backstory of this piece Runestad replied by saying, “When Germán Aguilar passed away unexpectedly in the summer of 2014, it was a huge loss to our world. Germán had a warm, kind personality and a love for life, teaching, and the people around him – especially his fiancé Jon Talberg. After Germán’s death, Jon was cleaning out Germán’s wallet and found the only card inside was mine. I had given it to Germán when we met in January of 2014. Jon soon contacted me and asked if I would write a piece of music in memory of Germán – I was honored to do so” (Runestad 1).One thing I noticed in all three songs was that the dynamics were very powerful in each piece. All the songs were written in English because Jake Runestad is a famous American Composer. I liked all the songs but I felt as if they were all way too long in my opinion. Each song was around seven minutes, and I think that they all got boring pretty fast. I found myself hitting pause and stopping the music about half way through. Well I felt movement by the pieces I listened to, and they gave me a sense of peace and relaxation at times. Jake is a marvelous composer and I thoroughly enjoyed hearing his beautiful works of art. Well done Jake.