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Old Town School Of Folk Music Chicago

All The Events Happening At Old Town School Of Folk Music 2021

Chicago’s Best Music School: Old Town School of Folk Music

Discover all 36 upcoming concerts scheduled in 2021-2022 at Old Town School of Folk Music.

Old Town School of Folk Music hosts concerts for a wide range of genres from artists such as Carrie Newcomer, John Paul White, and Dom Flemons, having previously welcomed the likes of Peter Asher, Susan Werner, and Aoife O’Donovan.

Browse the list of upcoming concerts, and if you cant find your favourite artist, track them and let Songkick tell you when they are next in your area.

Old Town School Of Folk Music New Facility

Since opening its Lincoln Square facility, a former Chicago Public Library, in 1998, the Old Town School of Folk Music has experienced tremendous growth and was in need of additional space. The School not only wanted to provide the community with an abundance of new classes and concerts, but sought to build a facility that would function well for Chicagos next generation of musicians, dancers and artists.

Bulley & Andrews provided construction management services to complete the expansion project on a fast-paced, 14-month construction schedule. The new three-story, 27,000 square foot space features 16 acoustically-engineered classrooms and three professional dance studios. The facility also boasts a 2,100 square foot venue with 150 seats that acts as a classroom, community gathering space, dance hall and performance venue.

Additionally, the building demonstrates the Old Town Schools commitment to sustainability and is designed to achieve LEED Gold Certification.

Old Town School Recordings

A Chicago mainstay, the Old Town School of Folk Music has been around since 1957, offering classes and live performances from some of the world’s most respected musicians.

Bloodshot Records is a proud partner with their recording arm Old Town School Recordings. Diligent in their commitment to representing all that Chicago has to offer, Old Town fosters an environment of learning and community. They’ve also got one of the finest performance venues in the world and have hosted a dizzying array of talent over the years.

The Old Town School of Folk Music plays a unique role in Chicago’s cultural community. The School is the only organization in Chicago dedicated to teaching and fostering traditional music and cultures from around the world. Today over 6,000 students attend over 500 classes each week, and some 70,000 attend the Schools concerts annually. Outreach Activities reach over 3,000 youngsters who typically lack access to arts programs.

In addition, we have released the recordings of the Wiggleworms program–the School’s highly acclaimed early childhood music program.

The Old Town School is a 501 not for profit corporation.

For more information, go to http://www.oldtownschool.org.

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Lincoln Avenue Chicago Lincoln Square

West Building & Old Town School Music Store 4544 N. Lincoln Avenue Chicago, IL 60625

East Building 4545 N. Lincoln Avenue Chicago, IL 60625

773.728.6000 – School/Box Office ·773.751.3398 – Store

The Old Town School Parking Lot is just south of our East Building, just behind the City Lot . Pay at the gate by credit card.

Other parking options:

  • City Lot at 4515 N. Lincoln Avenue. LAZ fees apply.
  • Sulzer Regional Library enter from Sunnyside.
  • City Lot at Western and Leland.
  • Metered street parking on Lincoln or Western Avenues.
  • Standard Parking Ravenswood, 4501 N. Damen , $6 Flat Rate after 4:00PM

Our Lincoln Square facilities are Americans with Disabilities Act compliant.

Old Town School Of Folk Music Songbook: Volume 1

Old Town School of Folk Music

The Songbook contains 23 archetypal songs performed by a wide range of artists.

These songs have thrived in the folk traditions of America for a reason. They are tough and long lasting but malleable enough to be adapted and re-invented easily.

* Denotes songs performed by an Old Town School instructor

Included is a hefty booklet written by folklorist Paul Tyler that gives a detailed history of each song.

  • Many of these are well known and all have long stories but they hold up well and a new generation does them proud. There’s rarely a dropoff in quality from the better-known artists to the instructors … The music is acoustic but rarely solo, with supporting instrumentation and harmonies adding to the communal, hootenanny spirit.


  • … serves up equal parts reassurance and revelation.

    Chicago tribune

  • Take This Hammer
  • I Know You Rider *
  • Brown’s Ferry Blues
  • Trouble In Mind
  • Aragon Mill *
  • Worried Man Blues *
  • Salty Dog
  • Cripple Creek *
  • Amazing Grace *
  • St. James Infirmary *
  • Don’t This Road *
  • Down In The Valley *
  • Old Dog Tray *
  • Drunken Sailor
  • Erie Canal
  • Wabash Cannonball
  • Just A Closer Walk With Thee *
  • Wayfaring Stranger
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    Old Town School Of Folk Music

    The Old Town School of Folk Music is a Chicago teaching and performing institution that launched the careers of many notable folk music artists. Founded by Folk musicians Frank Hamilton and Win Stracke, and Dawn Greening, the School opened in the Old Town neighborhood of Chicago in 1957 . It began by offering guitar and banjo lessons in a communal teaching style and hosting performances by well-known folk musicians. Currently the school has an enrollment of about 6,000 students per week, 2,700 of them children.

    Concert Tickets For Carrie Newcomer At Old Town School Of Folk Music

    Find all tickets to Carrie Newcomer at Old Town School of Folk Music on Sunday 24 October 2021.

    The last time Carrie Newcomer was in Chicago was years, months, weeks, hours, and minutes ago. They are currently playing 1 show in Chicago and 8 shows worldwide, so browse their concert calendar to find alternative shows. Old Town School of Folk Music currently has 36 shows coming up that you can check out.

    Track Carrie Newcomer and all your favourite artists to get notified next time they tour near you or in other locations worldwide.

    Be the first to know about tickets for Carrie Newcomer in Chicago

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    S & 1980s: Decline & Renewal

    Enrollment peaked in 1975 with about 650 students per-week, but as the folk revival declined in the mid-1970s so did the fortunes of the School although it continued to provide music lessons to hundreds of students the School suffered financial difficulties and was on the brink of bankruptcy in 1981. It was discussed at this time to move the School from its aging facilities on Armitage Avenue to the suburbs.

    The Old Town School of Folk Music , was having a near death experience in the late 1980s.. On revenues of $200,000 per year the school was losing $40,000 per year, with no money in the bank. The school had ceased to be relevant to its markets, and new customers were not being attracted to the school’s programming. In order to survive, the school needed to develop a new strategy. So it developed three:1. The school could not pay its bills, so one strategy was to reduce costs and raise cash. Goal: Return to net profitability within 12 months.2. Develop relevant new products to attract new customers. Goal: Increase revenues by 40% per year through new product offerings.3. Raise money to renovate the school’s main building at 909 Armitage Ave. and conference hall. Goal: Raise $600,000 over the next 24 months.

    The school faced several tough choices. The school owned two buildings. It was a painful choice, but the school’s board decided to sell one of its buildings, so that bills could be paid and agreements kept.

    The Old Town School Of Folk Music Tunes In To Digital Times

    Joseph Arthur – In The Sun live Old Town School of Folk Music Chicago, IL

    The Old Town School of Folk Music has been a Chicago institution since it opened in 1957. Since then, the school has grown beyond acoustic guitars and banjos to teach everything from African dance to music for toddlers.

    Recently, the school went from teaching zero classes online to teaching all of its classes online in a matter of days.

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    Concert Tickets For John Paul White At Old Town School Of Folk Music

    Find all tickets to John Paul White at Old Town School of Folk Music on Friday 29 October 2021, with options from Venue Website.

    The last time John Paul White was in Chicago was years, months, weeks, days, hours, and minutes ago. They are currently playing 1 show in Chicago and 16 shows worldwide, so browse their concert calendar to find alternative shows. Old Town School of Folk Music currently has 36 shows coming up that you can check out.

    Track John Paul White and all your favourite artists to get notified next time they tour near you or in other locations worldwide.

    S 1960s And Early 1970s

    Pete Seeger, Mahalia Jackson, Jimmy Driftwood, Big Bill Broonzy, and Josh White all performed at the Old Town School in its early years. Early teachers at the school included Chicago blues guitarist Big Bill Broonzy, and banjo players Fleming Brown and Stu Ramsey as well as the Brazilian singer-guitarist Valucha deCastro . The formation and growth of the School coincided with the folk music boom of the 1960s and early 1970s. In Chicago, folk influence was scattered in Hyde Park , Oak Park , and Old Town. The school’s first location was a rundown storefront at 333 W. North Ave. in Old Town.

    Throughout its existence the School has focused on offering both instruction and performance with many performing musicians also acting as teachers and mentors. The School also proved a rich ground for collaboration. The late 1960s were a peak of success as several musicians associated with the School rose to national prominence, including Roger McGuinn of The Byrds, Fred Holstein, John Prine, Steve Goodman, Bonnie Koloc, and Bob Gibson. The school moved into a more permanent home at 909 West Armitage Ave.

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    We stopped by to see how theyve tuned in to the new normal.


    Jonas Friddle, Old Town School of Folk Music: My name is Jonas Friddle, and I teach strings fiddle, banjo, guitar, mandolin and ensemble classes across ages, so as young as 5 to 75.

    Ensemble and private lessons are now all online. Its a first for a school that has resisted online instruction.

    The Old Town School of Folk Music on Lincoln Avenue.

    Friddle: Its a very large change and the teachers and the staff really went at it and worked hard, and I think we managed in just a weeks time to make a shift.

    Vitali: When he isnt teaching, Jonas is accustomed to playing with fellow musicians on stage in front of an audience.

    We caught up with him in the empty concert hall on the schools main campus, which is closed for the shutdown.

    Friddle: Im really happy to be working. Im happy to be healthy and for my family to be healthy. Were experiencing the same challenges that everybody is. I have a couple of small children so my wife and I are both working from home and we have the kids right there with us, popping into our online meetings whenever they need another pretzel.

    Vitali: Elsewhere in the building silent classrooms, an empty lobby, and a music store that is now open for curbside pickups.

    Vitali: And even though the school doesnt look like it used to, they are confident there will be some return to normal.

    Vitali: And they have found that they can expand their reach online.

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