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

Upcoming Workshops

Elton John Songbag


$20 ($18 members)

Fri. July 05, 7:30 PM – 9:00 PM · 4545 N Lincoln Ave

Come sing and play a handful of classic Rocketman numbers.

Private Lessons in the 8-week session beginning 04/29/2019

Tuesdays 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm at 4544 N Lincoln Ave
Saturdays 10:00 am – 2:30 pm at 4544 N Lincoln Ave

Private Lessons in the 8-week session beginning 06/24/2019

Tuesdays 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm at 4544 N Lincoln Ave
Saturdays 10:00 am – 2:30 pm at 4544 N Lincoln Ave

Group Classes for the session beginning 06/24/2019

New Americana Ensemble with Alton Smith

Join us as we explore the songs of the ever-burgeoning genre of "Americana,".

$206 ($196 members)

06/24/2019 – 08/12/2019 (8 meetings)

Mondays · 6:30 PM – 7:50 PM · 909 W Armitage Ave

Soul Ensemble with Bill Brickey · Alton Smith

Join one of the longest running ensembles at the school.

$194 ($186 members)

06/27/2019 – 08/15/2019 (7 meetings)

Thursdays · 7:00 PM – 8:20 PM · 4545 N Lincoln Ave

Classic Country Ensemble with Alton Smith · Steve Dawson

A pickup truck full of songs from country music's golden era (including classic duets!)

$222 ($212 members)

06/30/2019 – 08/18/2019 (8 meetings)

Sundays · 3:30 PM – 4:50 PM · 4545 N Lincoln Ave