Old Town School of Folk Music Membership

This article is a collaborative effort, crafted and edited by a team of dedicated professionals.

Contributors: Andranick Tanguiane, Fred Lerdahl,


Old Town School of Folk Music Membership has its benefits! Here’s a look at what you get with an Old Town School of Folk Music Membership.


Old Town School of Folk Music is a membership-based organization. Membership dues are based on a sliding scale and provide vital support for the School’s many programs and events throughout the year.

History of the School

Old Town School of Folk Music is a music school founded in Chicago in 1957 by Frank Hamilton, Win Stracke and Coffee Bob Elliott. The Old Town School of Folk Music teaches folk, rock, blues, country and bluegrass to students of all ages, levels and backgrounds.

The school began in a small rented space on Armitage Avenue with a handful of students taught by Stracke and Hamilton. By the early 1960s, the school had outgrown its original location and moved to Lincoln Park. In 1964, the school added instrumental instruction to its curriculum. The late 1960s saw the addition of dance classes, children’s programs and community events to the Old Town School’s offerings.

In 1971, Elliott opened a second location of the school on North Lincoln Avenue. 1993 brought about the construction of a new building for the Old Town School at its current location on West Addison Street. The current campus includes four music rooms, five dance studios, an art room, photography darkroom, computer lab and two theatres – one with stadium seating for 400 and one that can accommodate 150 seated or 200 standing.

The Old Town School of Folk Music has been featured in many films and television shows over the years including “High Fidelity,” ” Fame,” “Saturday Night Live” and “Sesame Street.” The school has also been mentioned in books such as Studs Terkel’s “Working” and Scott Turow’s “One L.”

Membership Benefits

As an Old Town School of Folk Music member, you’ll enjoy a variety of benefits, including:
-10% discount on most music classes and select events
-Monthly Members’ Night at the School with special performances and workshops
-Free admission to the Annual Members’ Showcase Concert
-Early registration for summer camp
-Subscription to our quarterly member magazine, Bridges

Types of Membership

Old Town School of Folk Music Membership has four types of memberships: Annual, Monthly, Senior (62+) Annual, and Senior (62+) Monthly. All memberships except for the senior monthly include free or discounted admission to most events at the Old Town School of Folk Music. The annual and monthly memberships also include free or discounted classes at the school.

How to Join

Individual and Family memberships are the lifeblood of the Old Town School. Members provide over 60% of the Old Town School’s operating budget through their dues, which help to keep tuition rates affordable for everyone.

Members also get access to exclusive benefits, like advance tickets to events, member-only events, and voting privileges at the Annual Meeting.

So become a member today and help support one of Chicago’s most important cultural institutions!


We hope this article has helped you understand the different types of memberships offered by the Old Town School of Folk Music. If you have any questions or would like to learn more about our membership options, please contact our administrative offices at (312) 421-9500.

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