Sun, Apr 15th | 11:00 AM
The Old Town School of Folk Music offers a wide array of entertainment for any occasion by talented, professional artists. We offer soloists through 11-piece bands, dance instructors and callers, workshop leaders and more for virtually any occasion including weddings, picnics, festivals, corporate events, holiday parties and children's parties.
Please note that when you book entertainment through the Old Town School of Folk Music you are guaranteed professional service and musicianship. But most importantly, you are helping to fund the Old Town School in its continuing mission to teach and celebrate music and cultural expressions rooted in the traditions of diverse American and global communities.
Generally, bookings require a minimum of 2-3 weeks lead time prior to the date of event.
For more information and to book, please contact our Manager of Artist Engagement, Jenna Murfin, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
See our folks play LIVE around town. Check out our Community Events page for show listings. You can hear samples of many of the folks we book by clicking the Jukebox tab below, or click here. And, click here or on the Parties For Kids tab below for more info on the various options we have for such events.
Our Artist Engagement Program draws on the diverse talents of the Old Town School teaching staff. We have artists in a variety of disciplines including dance, theater, magic, music (of course) and more! From pure performance to something more educational in nature, our artists have experience in many settings. Here are a few of the many musical styles available:
"You offer a very diverse line-up of artists, and you will now be my first stop when looking for performers for an event. It was easy to reach someone to help arrange everything." - Jenna, Fundraiser Event
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We offer a variety of Children's Performers as well. Consider one of the following for your next gathering of children:
"The Old Town School guest artist was an awesome experience. It was easy to book the artist, and he made our party so much fun and super memorable for our family and our guests. Thank you!" - Brooke, Child's Birthday Party
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Beyond what you might expect, we also book artists to lead music and/or theater-based team-building, professional development and training workshops. We also offer Dance Workshops/Instruction in such genres as Latin, Middle Eastern Belly Dance, Hawaiian Hula and West African.
"Our teachers had a wonderful time! All hands on, all by passionate, knowledgeable staff; you took us from where we were and helped us learn a lot in a short period of time. What really affected us was the passion that each of the teachers had for not only their art, but for the background behind it. We had a wonderful day, and would love to do it again sometime!" - Steve, Professional Development Event for Teachers
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So, you're hosting a bunch of kids and need something fun to engage, entice, and otherwise dissuade them from climbing the walls? Let us help!
We have a wide array of talented pros on our roster who can lead your group in any of the following offerings.
This option is led by one of our solo Wiggleworms performers. They play guitar, sing, and lead the kids in singing along, using shakers, etc. This event is intended to engage both parents and children in moving and singing together as led by the teacher performer. The focus is on traditional children's tunes, but some artists also have some great originals that may be weaved into a set.
Best for ages: 0-3 (and often even up to 5 or 6)
Call to discuss arrangements and pricing for groups larger than 30.
One of our kids' music performers will lead the crew in singing songs that are not the standard "Wiggleworms" fare. Some originals may be part of the mix and/or tunes could be chosen based on a theme such as "campfire" songs, "western-themed" tunes, or "pop and rock" numbers, etc.
Best for ages: 4-12 years
This option is a party version of our Meet the Instruments class. It is for kids who are ready to follow the ritual and routine of the group, led by the teacher performer. The party will still include singing and dancing but does include more of an expectation of everyone to sit in a circle and to participate in the experience together than sometimes is the case in something like Wiggleworms. The standard for this party is that the leader brings guitar as well as a mix of at least 4 additional instruments that will span different musical families. It is great if parents want to participate in this with their children but, assuming the kids meet the criteria above, can also be facilitated at parties where kids are dropped off by their parents as long as the host and enough adults are present to insure the leader is able to focus on the activities and not corralling or disciplining the kids.
Best for ages: 3-6 years
*If desired, an instrument-making option can be added to this for an additional cost (for example, a tube kazoo) - this would generally add about 20-30 minutes total time and between $75-150 in cost depending on project and supplies.
One of our talented art program instructors will lead your group in an art project. You may develop the art project theme and concept, or you can work with the teacher to develop the project together! We love adapting art concepts to a certain party theme, and we'll typically introduce the project with your choice of story, poem, or visuals. Art parties are best for crowds of 12 kids or fewer, and we find that the experience works best for children who are at least 3 years old. We occasionally make exceptions to these policies, depending on any particular needs that you may have.
Best for ages: 3 - 12 years
*Supply costs vary but are usually about $5 per child depending on the project. This option can be amended for larger groups, but we would likely add a second leader at additional cost.
** Please note that artists generally arrive at least 30 minutes early for an art party and will be there to clean up for around 30-60 min following project end time.
One of our wonderful percussion instructors will bring shakers, drums, etc to facilitate a rhythm party of sorts. They will lead the kids in learning and putting together rhythms and beats, all while having a great time. This works best for under 15 kids although it is possible with more as per the pricing below.
Best for ages: 4 - 100 years
One of our talented and creative teaching artists will lead a yoga, creative movement, or dance "workshop/class.” These options work best with under 12- 15 kids. Creative movement options can be themed as well, to include music from specific artists or movies, etc. Other specific forms of dance are also available for those age 6 and up (hip-hop, ballet, jazz, modern).
Yoga or a specific dance form are best for ages: 6 years and up
Creative Movement is best for ages: 3-6 years
One of our fun and energetic theater instructors would lead the kids in some engaging theater games, which not only build confidence but also encourage teamwork and listening skills. This option works best with 4-12 kids.
Best for ages: 4 years and up
Let one of our talented storytelling artists lead your group in storytelling activities that will leave the kids feeling engaged and invested in the experience. We offer options that include the leader doing most of the storytelling (and possibly focusing on a specific theme and/or incorporating music) but also activities that engage the children in telling a story themselves or that encourage them to act much of it out, or to even explore various movement concepts within it (as mentioned under the creative movement listing). This option works best 5-12 kids.
Best for ages: 4 years and up
The birthday party version of this exciting show fits into a living room; the birthday child is featured in the show and magically wins several magic souvenirs. The show is very visual with lots of audience participation and includes puppets who do magic too! Blending humor, whimsy and impressive illusions, the show will appeal to not only the kids but adults as well. Options below are for ages 4 and up...our magician says, “Magic doesn't really work for ages 3 and below – because everything is already magical for them.”
Best for ages: 4 years and up
We also have a number of our kids' music performers who play in larger configurations and so, if you were looking for a bigger sound or something more like a "concert," you could book a duo, trio or even larger group to put on a show. This sort of thing tends to be better for bigger parties but something like a duo could also perform to a smaller group without being too overwhelming:) We have bands that perform in configurations as large as 8 pieces, where creative movement and visual elements are involved. Obviously, the larger groups work best for events with larger budgets/crowds and we often arrange for groups to perform at benefits, school functions, etc.
Best for ages: All
Bring the band to your party and let the kids be the stars! You can book the full band as a 4 piece (drums, bass, guitar, keys, backing vocals), a trio (drums, bass guitar OR keys, backing vocals) or even a solo player on guitar. Lyrics can be provided but tends to work best when kids know the words already and simply sing it out! Songlist available upon request.
Best for ages: 4 or 5 and up
All rates include provision of PA and mic for the kid singers.
"The Old Town guest artist was an awesome experience. It was easy to book the artist, and he made our party so much fun and super memorable for our family and our guests. Thank you!" - Brooke Semel, Child's birthday
"You offer a very diverse line-up of artists, and you will now be my first stop when looking for performers for an event. It was easy to reach someone to help arrange everything." - Jenna Lieblich, Field Museum donor event
"Our teachers had a wonderful time! All hands on, all by passionate, knowledgeable staff; you took us from where we were and helped us learn a lot in a short period of time. What really affected us was the passion that each of the teachers had for not only their art, but for the background behind it. We had a wonderful day, and would love to do it again sometime!" -" Steve Tabisz, Hinsdale Middle School, On-site professional development for teachers
"I am so grateful to the OTSFM for the role it plays in our library's programming. I am a children's librarian and have a lot on my plate. When I wanted to start making our early literacy programming more robust, I knew I wanted musicians who knew how to involve young children and their caregivers in the music and had experience doing so. I also wanted to offer a variety of performers throughout the year. I am not knowledgeable about the world of children's music performers, however, and would never have been able to find these artists on my own. Plus, while music programming is a core element of what we offer to our community for our youngest patrons, there are a lot of other elements to my job, and I could not spend the time it would take to book all of the individuals. Thanks to Jenna, I can send her dates/times etc. and what the library is looking for, and she does all the rest. The result is the library is able to offer (for free) a rich array of excellent musical programming. Thank you for making this possible. I believe the Wiggleworms program trains and develops a professional subset of musicians who understand how to work with the very young. I know when a Wiggleworms instructor comes to the library that they absolutely know what they are doing both musically and child development wise." - Anna, Library Event
"You always book wonderful performers for us and patrons always want them back again." - Jenny, Library Event
"We had so much fun at my daughter's birthday party. Shaun made the day so special and tailored his performance to some of her favorite songs and dances. It was like having an old friend over for a celebration." - Sarah, Child's Birthday Party
"My wife and I are very satisfied with our experience with the Old Town School's Artist Engagement Program to hire a bluegrass band for our wedding ceremony and cocktail hour. The band (Sunnyside Up) was extremely talented and professional. I had previously taken mandolin class at Old Town School of Folk, and it turned out that the band we ended up hiring was my instructor's band! I had previously seen them perform at the Folk and Roots festival, so I knew they would be perfect for our wedding. Not only were they talented musicians, but a great representation to our guests of the Lincoln Square/Ravenswood community that we live in. Knowing that the musicians came from the Old Town School of Folk Music, which is just around the corner from where we live, gave us a sense of pride and made our wedding even more special." - Shelby, Wedding
"Nick and Anna are fabulous! They definitely get the kiddos moving, but really get the parents to let loose and get silly. We always love having them!" - Hayley, Playgroup Event
"Miss Diana is a treasure! She can "read a room" of kids (& adults) and adapt her performance accordingly to get people moving & having fun. My 3 year old daughter is quite reluctant in many social settings, but loves Miss Diana." - Nicole, Child's Birthday
"We really enjoyed your session. Not only was it great to learn the drum circle techniques and practice leading the group, but it was also amazing to watch a master teacher at work. Professional development days are not often something teachers look forward to, but your passion was infectious, and several of our teachers were inspired by the possibilities for their students and school communities." - Janet, School Professional Development Session