2016 Distinguished Teaching Artist Awards

It is our pleasure to introduce the recipients of the 2016 Distinguished Teaching Artist Awards: Mark Dvorak, Charles Kim, and Mary Peterson.

These honorees have been nominated by their peers and selected by a committee of members from Old Town School’s Board Of Directors. Criteria for selection was based upon excellence as a teaching artist, excellence as a leader among fellow teachers, and excellence in their contributions to the community culture of the Old Town School of Folk Music.

Our teaching artists help make the School a national model for community arts learning and inspire our students, community members, and staff alike. Congratulations to Mark, Charles, and Mary!

Mark Dvorak

In 2016 Mark Dvorak celebrated his 30th anniversary as a member of the Old Town School of Folk Music faculty teaching guitar and banjo. He began teaching as an avocation, but his interest in working with students deepened and evolved over time into way of life and a livelihood of “helping people teach themselves.”

Mark’s journey into music has so far brought him in touch with several thousand music students in the Chicago area and across the country. He has helped many a beginner get through their first chords and strums, and has hosted a catalogue of master classes and workshops on a range of subjects from old-time banjo picking to the legacy of the great Lead Belly, to just about every other topic related to the study of American folk music.

Learn more about Mark »

Charles Kim

Since 1999, Charles Kim has instructed students of all ages at the Old Town School of Folk Music. He has taught everything from songwriting, band arranging, jazz improvisation, all levels of guitar and bass as well as group and private lessons. He's also taught saxophone, pedal steel, jazz ensemble, digital recording and classes such as "Finish Your Damn Songs!" and "The Crimson Octopus Society," a teen songwriting and arranging class.

Charles is the author of Teach Yourself VISUALLY Guitar, a nationally distributed guitar method book. He has been a contributing artist on over 30 albums. He currently works as a producer, recorder and composer and has composed works for theater, dance, TV and film. He has worked with Showtime, Chicago’s Redmoon Theatre and Mayfair Workshop. His composition work includes a commissioned piece for the Royal College of London.

Charles studied with MacArthur Grant Recipient Ken Vandermark for Jazz Studies and Improvisation, and studied Classical Guitar at Vanderbilt University.

Charles enjoys working with students who are open to new ideas and excited to create something new. He believes everyone can write a song, make musical noise, and create something inspirational.

Learn more about Charles »

Mary Peterson

Mary came to Old Town School as a student in 1987, and became a talented and enthusiastic teacher known for her patience, communication skills and her ability to understand and assist students. For over 15 years Mary has brought her skills and charisma to the School’s classrooms with the hope that each of her students has fun, learns something, and shares her joy in the arts.

Mary teaches adults and children in the guitar, theater, and Wiggleworms programs. She specializes in beginning, reluctant and frightened guitar students and is especially happy to work with students who wish to begin studying guitar again. She is also a veteran stage performer and is delighted to help people with performance aspirations, from assisting students in finding the right monologues and music to guiding first time performers as they try the stage. Mary has a BA in Theatre from the University of Minnesota and an MFA in Theatre from the Goodman School at DePaul University.

Learn more about Mary »

The Old Town School of Folk Music, Inc.
4544 N. Lincoln Avenue, Chicago IL 60625  •  773.728.6000