Jazz Institute of Chicago

The Old Town School of Folk Music

The Old Town School of Folk Music opened in December of 1957 with its first home at 333 North Avenue. The first five years of the School’s history mirrored the boom in folk music at that time. Enrollment grew and programs expanded. Over 150 students attended guitar and banjo classes on a weekly basis. Folk dancing, and family sing-alongs rounded out the programming. The School also offered concerts by nationally renowned artists. Pete Seeger, Mahalia Jackson, Jimmy Driftwood, Big Bill Broonzy, and Josh White were just some of the many folk music artists who performed at the Old Town School in its early years.

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