Composer James Falzone Offers His Song of Roland to the Children of South Evanston

The Musical Offering partners with Oakton Elementary School and eclectic composer James Falzone in a cross-curricular arts in education project celebrating friendship and valor in the time of Charlemagne this May 2008 with Falzone's original "The Song of Roland: A Music Mural."

Evanston, IL, February 20, 2008 --( The Musical Offering is pleased to announce their latest project "The Song of Roland"; a collaboration with Oakton Elementary School staff and students, professional musicians from The Musical Offering, the Evanston Children’s Choir and original libretto and music written and composed by James Falzone. The performances will be presented at Oakton Elementary School, 463 Ridge Ave. in Evanston, IL 60202 on May 1 and 2, 2008, in their auditorium under the newly restored WPA murals attributed to Chicago native fine artist Carl Scheffler* depicting the history and legend of the medieval story of Roland. For tickets and more information please call 847-866-6260 or visit

James Falzone’s "The Song of Roland: A Music Mural" is based on the original "La Chanson de Roland," from the Middle Ages and James Baldwin’s classic children’s book The Story of Roland. The form of Mr. Falzone’s original composition is modeled on the Medieval Musical Drama, a precursor to our modern opera. Roland’s story of friendship and valor in the time of Charlemagne inspires an eclectic melding of world music, medieval forms and sounds, and visual arts projects that may incorporate both western and Arabic cultural motifs. More than just inspiration, the Roland WPA murals literally become a player in Mr. Falzone’s adaptation, as the characters are brought to life with the children’s voices floating high above his intricately woven original score.

"The Song of Roland" is the result of the enormously successful five year collaboration between the Oakton Elementary School and the Musical Offering under the Artistic Direction of Rick Ferguson. The faculty of Oakton School, The Musical Offering, the Evanston Children’s Choir under the direction of Gary Geiger, and composer James Falzone are enthusiastically and creatively motivated by the enrichment and cross curricular possibilities inherent in the project. The exposure to opera as an art form, the inclusion of a richly diverse and accessible story line, and the celebration of poetry and history brought to life will give the students of Oakton and the community a personal experience of self-empowerment through their exploration of their identity and relationship to the arts. In an age of MTV and questionable ethics, the project offers a viable alternative and personal understanding of classical music, theatre and the arts as well as positive modeling for the children.

"The Song of Roland" would not be possible without the dynamic collaborative efforts of Oakton School’s faculty and staff, especially music teacher Monica Blacconeri, art teacher Tom Ferguson, Librarian Lillian Sadok, and Principal Churchill Daniels. Made possible by the generosity of the Evanston Community Foundation, the project will serve the entire Oakton School community of 430 students and their families as well, and the Evanston Children’s Choir serving close to 2000 residents. The impact of this partnership between children, families, educators and professional artists and musicians can not be measured but for the eagerness of all those involved, and the joy that the creative process engenders in those who experience it from either side of the proscenium. For more information please call 847-866-6260 or visit

*For more information regarding the restoration of the Oakton Elementary School WPA visit or

Jerry D'Souza from All About Jazz calls James Falzone "…an articulate and interesting composer who utilizes the structure of classical music, the rhythms of Klezmer, the spark of polytonality and an abandon witnessed in free blowing to build a vibrant body . . . the effect is stunning." To read more about Mr. Falzone please visit

The Musical Offering is an educational institution committed to the growth and development of the individual and community through music instruction and performance. It is their goal to provide a supportive and nurturing environment in which students, teachers and all lovers of music can explore and deepen their relationship to music and self-expression. The Musical Offering also serves as a meeting place and forum for the musical community in Evanston and the surrounding area. They believe in the promotion of beauty, artistic freedom and self-empowerment engendered by the shared musical experience.

The Musical Offering
Linda Solotaire, Media Rep.