Chicago's Old Town School of Folk Music Announces Grand Opening Celebration.

Chicago's Old Town School of Folk Music Announces Grand Opening Celebration.
A rendering of the completed new building for the Old Town School of Folk Music, courtesy VOA Associates, Inc.

Chicago, Friday, November 18, 2011. The long awaited Grand Opening of the Old Town School of Folk Music's new $18 million facility at 4545 N. Lincoln Avenue is about to be realized.  The big day, just announced by the School, will be Monday, January 9, 2012.  The whole community is invited to participate in the opening day activities which will feature a ceremonial ribbon-cutting, a ritual blessing of the bricks, building tours and an all-day community sing-along.  The festivities will continue for the next 55 days in celebration of the School's 55th anniversary. The 55-day celebration, will feature specially priced concerts, free classes and workshops to highlight the wide range of the School’s offerings.

The new "East Building" is located directly across the street from the OTSFM's current Lincoln Square home which will remain open and be referred to as the "West Building"--creating a campus-like atmosphere in the neighborhood.  The new structure is Old Town School’s fourth facility in Chicago and its first-ever new construction.   The space will include 3 dance studios; 16 acoustically engineered classrooms; environmentally advanced construction; and transparent panels featuring iconic images of  musicians based on artist R. Crumb's “Heroes of  Blues, Jazz and Country” project that will adorn the main staircase.  In addition, Szold Hall, a flex-use 2,100-square-foot, 150-seat convertible space has been designed to function as a classroom, community area, dance hall or performance venue.  The facade of the cast concrete building will showcase decorative panels by artist Margaret Ketcham with the word “music” depicted in 28 languages, including Braille, hieroglyphics, semaphore and Iroquois.

Highlights of the Grand Opening Celebration include:

The launch of the Global Dance Party  series, which, similar to the City’s popular Summerdance program, will offer live music for instruction followed by open dance, in styles ranging from  Samba and Tango to Flamenco and Line Dancing – every Friday night.

World Premieres of works commissioned by the Old Town School by Paseos Jarochos, Anne-Marie Akin, Jennifer Guglielmi, Nomi Epstein and Tom Stevens.

Concerts headlined by Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Joe Henry, the Pine Leaf Boys, David Bromberg, Beppe Gambetta and Peter Ostrushko, George Kahumoku, Jr. and Keoki Kahumoku.

Special themed concerts including a “Beatles Complete” marathon concert series featuring every single Beatles song; “Pueblo Latino” with music and dance from throughout Latin America; plus a “Forever 27 Club”  tribute to Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison, Brian Jones, Robert Johnson, Kurt Cobain and Amy Winehouse, who all passed away at the age of 27.

An MLK Day Celebration with Chicago favorite Ella Jenkins.

A "Fear of Commitment” series offering single session courses in  vocal performance, Celtic music, bluegrass, and West African dance, for all ages and abilities.

Family programming featuring free “WiggleArts” art-making classes for children under 2; dance for kids under 5; teen open mic; singing for the whole family.

Master Classes and “Drop-In” classes featuring blues, jazz, middle eastern music, ukulele, samba, hip hop dancing, guitar and songwriting.

A campus-wide “Come For To Sing Homecoming” extravaganza featuring the very first teacher of the Old Town School, Frank Hamilton, joined by other former teachers, all co-hosted by Ed Holstein and Jimmy Tomasello with a special set by The Pickin’ Bubs.

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