Capital University will launch a new Young Choral Artists Festival March 24-25, featuring award-winning composer Jake Runestad as its inaugural composer-in-residence. Among the program’s featured pieces will be Chapel Choir’s performance of Runestad’s Please Stay, an anthem for hope — an attempt to destigmatize mental illness and challenge all to support those who are battling depression and thoughts of suicide, according to Runestad’s website. Because depression and suicide deeply affect all communities, Dr. Lynda Hasseler, professor of music and director of choral activities at Capital, and her colleagues across the university have created a workshop on depression and suicide prevention. This free workshop offered for students, faculty and the Columbus community will take place in Mees Hall from 9:30 to 11 am on Friday, March 24, and again on Saturday, March 25, from 10 to 11:30 am. Events will include a presentation by guest composer Jake Runestad about Please Stay, composed by him to be an anthem for hope — written to help de-stigmatize mental illness and to challenge all of us to support those who are battling depression and thoughts of suicide, a performance of Please Stay by the Chapel Choir, and a panel discussion with Dr. Kathryn Bell, professor of psychology; Suicide Prevention Services of Columbus; the Center for Health and Wellness and a Capital student. There also will be information tables with materials regarding depression and suicide prevention services, and on-site crisis intervention support and referral available during and after the workshop.
Runestad was recently interviewed by Christopher Purdy, of WOSU’s All Sides Weekend, to discuss the event. Listen to the broadcast here.Capital’s Young Choral Artists Festival is a new, annual event that will connect singers of multiple generations, including all Capital Choirs and 40-60 high school students, in singing the music of a living composer with whom they will rehearse, interact and engage in a meaningful way to perform the music he or she has created. As composer-in-residence, Runestad will work with Capital choral ensembles Friday, and the with combined choirs Saturday, culminating in an 8 pm performance in Mees Hall. Tickets can be purchased at the door and are $5 for students, $10 for adults and free to all students, faculty and staff with a Capital ID. A portion of the proceeds from this performance will be donated to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.Runestad is a frequently performed composer of “highly imaginative” (Baltimore Sun) and “stirring and uplifting” (Miami Herald) musical works. Having collaborated with leading ensembles and organizations around the world, Runestad has a versatile and prolific career creating works for orchestra, wind band, chorus, chamber ensembles, and opera. His visceral music and charismatic personality have fostered a busy schedule of commissions, residencies, workshops, and speaking engagements, enabling him to be one of the youngest full-time composers in the world. Read more and listen to his music at his website.For the inaugural Young Choral Artists Festival, Capital University Choirs are preparing a concert program of Runestad’s music performed by an ensemble composed of quartets from flourishing high school choral programs throughout Ohio. Hasseler invited directors of these programs to nominate four of their upper level, musically talented students to participate in this exciting event.