The opera Masks of Fate and Faith was written and designed by the 50 kids who will perform (on- and offstage) in its world premiere this weekend in Elgin. The kids, aged 10 to 13, most without any previous musical training, have worked for nine months in teams as librettists, composers, choreographers, designers, and more under the guidance of professionals in each speciality from Urban Gateways. They are participants in SCORE!--Students Creating Opera to Reinforce Education--an effort good enough to survive its acronym. The brainchild of Rise Jones, director of the Elgin arts outreach organization Hamilton Wings, SCORE! begins each year with a fall camp and ends with a summer camp; the two intensive sessions are bridged by biweekly workshops during the school year. The kids get an introduction to music theory and the experience of collaborating on the creation of a piece of musical, verbal, and visual art. "But the main thing we hope to give them," Jones says, "is the knowledge that if they can do this, they can accomplish anything." Run by Jones's group and the Elgin Symphony Orchestra, this is SCORE!'s third year; last year's opera, A Locket of Love, helped Elgin bring home an All-America City award this month. The new show, which runs about 35 minutes and is accompanied by members of the Elgin Youth Symphony, is about a girl who loses her father and then pays a price for attempting to hide her grief. Musically, "think Sweeney Todd," says Jones--but with Kabuki-like masks, African percussion, and a foray into mambo. Masks of Fate and Faith begins at 7 on Friday, June 28, in the Larkin High School auditorium, 1475 Larkin Ave. in Elgin. Donations are accepted, but admission is free; call 847-888-4000.
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Glenna Godinsky.