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Teachers at the Old Town School

Alton Smith


Alton started playing the piano at age four and was soon playing and singing at his father’s church in Fitzgerald, Georgia. He was involved in numerous musical activities growing up there, including band, chorus, theater, and a gospel quartet called The Revelators. 

He has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music from Florida State University, where he performed in numerous vocal ensembles (highlights include performing the Mozart and Durufle Requiem masses with Robert Shaw) as well as the Jazz ensemble. After moving to Chicago in the early ‘90s, he composed music for the Green Highway Theater production of Caryl Churchill’s Softcops.

Since joining the Old Town School faculty in 2003, he has taught numerous ensembles, focusing primarily on American singer-songwriters (Warren Zevon, Tom Petty, Steve Earle, Tom Waits, Aimee Mann, Neko Case, Buddy & Julie Miller, Elvis Costello, The Jayhawks, Lucinda Williams, and many more) as well as the Soul Ensemble, which he co-teaches with Bill Brickey.

He’s a member of several Chicago bands, including Mystery Train, Come Sunday, Anna Fermin’s Trigger Gospel and Poochamungas, and has performed with Steve Dawson, Dolly Varden, Sunnyside Up, and many other ad hoc groups (including too many Old Town School Tribute shows to count).

Alton also teaches private piano lessons, and works on various musical projects in and around Chicago.

Get in touch with Alton at asmith@oldtownschool.org.

Education: B.A. Music, Florida State University, 1990; B.A. English, University of Georgia, 1993

Started at the Old Town School in January of 2000