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Piece by Guilford graduate and composer performed at White House

A piece written by composer and conductor Jake Runestad, a 2004 Guilford High School graduate, was performed in December at the White House. Seattle’s Choral Arts Ensemble sang “Let My Love Be Heard” in a special event for President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama.

Runestad keeps in touch with Auburn Principal Janice Hawkins, a former principal of Guilford. “I’m thrilled to share the following news with you and, as always, I thank you SO much for your continued support,” Runestad said in an email.

Jake Runestad, a Guilford graduate, spoke at an assembly at the high school in 2014.

Jake Runestad, a Guilford graduate, spoke at an assembly at the high school in 2014.

The Rockford Symphony Orchestra in 2014 performed a Runestad composition, “Dreams of the Fallen.” The piece explores a soldier’s emotional response to war, accompanied by text from an Iraq War veteran and award-winning poet.  During Runestad’s 2014 visit to Rockford, he addressed students in an assembly at Guilford. He talked about his musical journey and how powerfully Guilford band director Rick DeRango shaped his development as a musician. The connection is still strong. DeRango told the students that Runestad’s first composition, “Viking Symphony,” still makes him tear up.

Runestad was also a 2003 Rockford Register Star Young American. Only a handful of people in the country are able to make a full-time living composing music. Runestad is one of them.

Mary Kaull is communications coordinator for the Rockford Public Schools. Click here to subscribe to this blog. Also, please like RPS 205 on Facebook and follow us on Twitter and Instagram.

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