Old Town School Student Advisory Council

The Old Town School Student Advisory Council was founded in September 2019 by Old Town School's Board of Directors and Administrators to support and extend the School's mission.

Inaugural Members

Our Vision

We envision a future in which there is a clear, effective, accessible two-way line of communication between the Old Town School student population and the Old Town School leadership. Students are empowered to be active participants in support of the mission and growth of Old Town School.

Our Mission

We will accomplish this by:

  • Acting as ambassadors for the organization internally and externally;
  • Promoting the organization, its offerings, and its goals;
  • Striving to improve the student experience by developing, planning, executing activities that strengthen the student connection to the Old Town School community at large;
  • Maintaining an open line of communication with the administration, board, and other stakeholders.

About Us

Rebekah Abel

Rebekah has been a student at the Old Town School of Folk Music since 2012, starting with Guitar 1 and continuing through the core guitar curriculum, while also dabbling in a variety of classes, from Brass Class to Songwriting to Reggae Ensemble. Classically trained on French horn, Rebekah has played with a number of community groups in the Chicago area, such as the Ravenswood Community Orchestra, the North Suburban Wind Ensemble, the Lakeside Pride Symphonic Band, and the Corridor Brass Quintet. With degrees from University of Iowa and Northwestern University, Rebekah works as a manager in the health-tech industry.

Pamela Butler

Starting in the 90's, Pam has been a member "off and on" of Old Town School of Folk Music, attending numerous concerts over the years. Pam has been a student at the Old Town School of Folk Music since 2014. Coming off her 35 year career as a Sales Executive in the IT industry, she saw the opportunity for the first time in her life to learn to play an instrument. A life long lover of music, literally all kinds of music, she never had the time to take any lessons at all. Having a love of Hawaii, Pam picked Ukulele as a place to start. Having had a wonderful time with the Ukulele, Pam moved on to harmonica classes. After introductory classes, Pam has been part of Skip Landt's Thursday noon intermediate group for a couple years. Pam volunteered last year to participate on the ad hoc Communication committee put together to assist the Old Town School Board of Directors. Participating on the Student Advisory Council is a continuation of interest in the future preservation, evolution and growth of Old Town School. Pam is also busy with photography, film, and golf groups in Chicago and Wisconsin

Sarah Hunko

Sarah has been a student at the Old Town School since 2015. She is a dedicated Old Town School Community Choir singer and learned to play guitar at the school. She loves taking workshops, attending concerts, and is taking her first ensemble class this session. Professionally, Sarah works with principals and instructional leaders across Chicago. She previously served as a teacher in NYC and Chicago, a teacher-coach, and in 2014, co-founded a middle-high school on Chicago's Far South Side where she served as its principal for four years. She combines her loves for music, education, and building communities as a co-chair of the Old Town School Student Advisory Council.

Maha Mahdavinia

Maha is an avid music lover and mother of two little musicians who have learned to play the piano, dance, paint, draw and sing at Old Town School. The School has been an important part of her family's life in past 8 years and has created a second artistic home for them where they visit 2-3 times per week. Maha, her husband and children have socialized, played music, laughed and learned art through Wiggleworms classes, painting studio classes, ballet classes, piano lessons and Saturday jams. Professionally Maha is a physician and researcher in the field of allergies. She teaches young physicians, and takes care of adults and children with allergic diseases and immune problems. Maha enjoys working with other members of the Student Advisory Council of Old Town School who have the common goal of helping the School grow and evolve. She loves to celebrate with the School as it continues providing a strong community for music lovers in Chicago and a beautiful nest for new musicians.

Cristina Mercader

Cristina Mercader has been an active student, volunteer, concert goer, and member of the Old Town School of Folk Music for over 10 years. She has taken classes, both group and private, from the guitar, dance, ensemble, piano, theater, theory and voice programs at both the Armitage and Lincoln Square campuses. She often collaborates with other Old Town School students and friends in music shows throughout the city lending vocal, guitar, or keyboard back up. Currently you can find her in Jacob Sweet's Guitar 4Ever class, one of Andrea Bunch's ensembles, and singing with the Blues Band Live! Class. She is a head volunteer at the Old Town School of Folk Music as well as a playroom volunteer at Lurie's Children's Hospital of Chicago. Originally from Farmington Hills, MI, Cristina graduated from the University of Michigan (go blue!) with a mathematical economics degree and is now a consulting actuary with Willis Towers Watson. In Cristina's humble opinion, the Old Town School of Folk Music is one of the best places to spend your time and money at as evidenced by her constant presence at the school. Cristina is very excited to be a member of the Student Advisory Council and is looking forward to working with the broader student population as well as the Board and staff to improve the student experience at the Old Town School of Folk Music.

Amy Rasmussen

Amy is an experienced arts administrator, strategic planner, marketer and fundraiser. She holds degrees from DePaul University and Columbia College Chicago. President Obama named her a Champion of Change for Arts Education in her role as Executive Director of Chicago Arts Partnerships in Education. CAPE is a Chicago-based non-profit organization providing in-school and after-school arts programs for academically struggling schools. In addition, she currently serves as a member of the Student Advisory Council at the Old Town School of Folk Music, the nation's largest community music school and co-founded the Ravenswood Community Orchestra. She plays oboe, flute, alto sax and guitar and has a passion for Bernstein, Copland, the Beatles, Led Zeppelin, and The Avett Brothers.