JAMES has been very involved in music for children over the years including his ongoing work with the wonderful children's artist Jim Gill and his own projects including an opera based on the medieval epic poem The Song of Roland which included over 400 elementary school kids in Evanston, IL. You'll find links below to a few of these engaging and fun projects.
James regularly works with children's artist Jim Gill and his arrangements, compositions and playing are featured on several of Jim's books and recordings including A Soup Opera and Music Play for Folks of All Stripes. Click on the image to be taken to Jim Gill's website.
In addition to working with Jim Gill on recordings and books, James and Jim created a fantastic suite of music for orchestra featuring many of Jim Gill's classic songs with James' orchestrations and original music. These pieces have delighted families at community orchestra concerts around the country over the past few years. Below is Beethoven's Five Finger Play, James' hilarious arrangement of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony, that breaks into a hand-clapping Klezmer romp at the end.
In 2008 James was commissioned by The Musical Offering, a wonderful community music school in Evanston, Illinois, to create a one-act children's opera based on recently restored WPA Murals featuring the medieval epic poem The Song of Roland. These murals were discovered in the gymnasium of Oakton Elementary School in Evanston and James created the libretto and music which involved over 400 students from the school and had kids singing in medieval modes and playing Arabic rhythms on frame drums. Contact James to learn how you might have The Song of Roland performed at your school.