Summer Break Hours in effect from 8/19 – 9/1: Check calendar for details »

Black History Month

Celebrate the rich cultural and artistic legacy of the African diaspora with Old Town School! Join us for a month of song, dance, history, and much more.

Sundays, February 3, 10, 17 & 24, 12:00 PM · 4544 N. Lincoln Ave.

The Roots of Tap Workshop Series with Reggio McLaughlin

Celebrate Black History Month and explore the origin of tap dance, its roots in Africa and its multicultural blend in the New World. Tap Dance is known today as America's true folk dance.


Tuesday, February 12, 7:00 PM · 4544 N. Lincoln Ave.

Cape Verdean Guitar Techniques and Vocal Styles with Tcheka

Tcheka, award-winning guitarist and vocalist of the Cape Verde Islands, (see World Music Wednesday 2/13/19) will give a hands-on workshop in Cape Verdean guitar styles including Batuque and other genres from the islands. Tcheka is equally versed in composition and voice and can incorporate those elements into the workshop per the interest of the participants.


Wednesday, February 13, 8:30 PM · 4545 N. Lincoln Ave.

World Music Wednesday

Tcheka, born Manuel Lopes Andrade in a small, remote spot on the island of Santiago, Cape Verde, has created a unique and exquisite style that is a testament to the global influences he has embraced. While referencing multiple genres from Cape Verde (batuku, funaná, finason, tabanka, morna and coladera), Tcheka’s music is also a busy intersection of Brazilian and African pop, traditional forms, folk, jazz, blues, rock, literature, anthropology and film. It is never just Cape Verdean, and it’s never just music, but it’s always captivating.


Saturday, February 16, 11:00 AM · 4545 N. Lincoln Ave.

Black Banjo Repertoire: African and Post-African Tunes, Their Context, and How to Play Them with Sule Greg Wilson

Join Sule Greg Wilson for this special offering! Few people know that a big chunk of Americana has Black roots. Many great European American players—Boggs, Carter, Monroe et al— were inspired by or learned from African Americans. In this session, participants will learn some African songs, with a goal of understanding the roots of the roots. Participants will also discuss and play tunes that many already know, looking at them in regards to their “Black Roots”, historically, and/or stylistically. It’s a time to talk, listen, share, jam, and grow.


Saturday, February 16, 1:00 PM · 4545 N. Lincoln Ave.

American Percussion: Washboard, Bones, Tambo, and Brushes with Sule Greg Wilson

Join Sule Greg Wilson for this special offering! Lots of folks today are strapping on washboards or clackin’ bones to be part of the Old Time music scene. Sule will delve into the history of these American percussion traditions and demonstrate traditional playing styles and rhythms on washboard, bones, tambourine— as well as Jazz Brushes technique, and a touch of body percussion!


Sunday, February 17, 11:00 AM · 4544 N. Lincoln Ave.

Traveling in Others' Shoes: Performing "Someone Else's" Music with Sule Greg Wilson

Join early Carolina Chocolate Drop Sule Greg Wilson for this rich discussion. You know: there's "sharing;" and there’s the "borrowing" of music and techniques we hear so much about. There's also "homage" and "imitation" and "appropriation." There's "learning;" there's "loving;" and there is "stealing;" yes? In this partially-guided discussion, we'll examine our own and historical relationship to African American music repertoire, review some legal and moral precedents, and talk about the yearnings of our souls.


Sunday, February 17, 2:00 PM · 4545 N. Lincoln Ave.

Soft Shoe: A Soulful Percussive Dance with Sule Greg Wilson

Join Sule Greg Wilson for this special offering! Motown choreography, created by Cholly Atkins, a master of Class Act Tap, inspired the world to dance Soul. In this workshop, participants will experience the approach to physicality that underpins the Post-African percussive dance tradition, via Tap Dance’s funky folk form of steppin’: Soft Shoe. We’re gonna have a funky good time (and even learn what that means!).


Wednesday, February 20, 8:30 PM · 4545 N. Lincoln Ave.

Rhodee and the Garifuna Flava Band
Wasugurun "Garifuna Struggle" CD Release Event
World Music Wednesday

Rhodel "Rhodee" Castillo celebrates the release of his new CD entitled, "Wasugurun" Garifuna Struggle. This musical journey touches on a variety of issues affecting humanity and in particular the Garifuna Nation. Wasugurun deals with land issues and the loss of ownership at the hands of multinational corporations. It speaks of the on-going political and social issues that affect the life of the Garifuna people.


Thursday, February 21, 7:00 PM · 4545 N. Lincoln Ave.

No Bois Man, No Fraid (Film and Panel Discussion)

Two young, internationally-certified multidisciplinary martial artists rediscover their roots in the Trinidadian tradition called Kalinda, also known as stick fighting. Follow their journey as they learn from masters of the art form.

Join us after the film screening for a panel discussion with Roger Bonair-Agard, Ayinde Jean-Baptiste, and Roberto Pérez.


Saturday, February 23, 1:00 PM · 4544 N. Lincoln Ave.

Gospel Vocal Workshop with Jonita Lattimore

Discover the origins of gospel music through a historic perspective. Develop healthy vocal technique while learning several gospel songs in a choral setting.


Sunday, February 24, 3:00 PM · 909 W. Armitage Ave.

Playdate at Old Town School: Rock The Soul Out with Bill Brickey and Nick Davio

In tribute to all of the families that made their way north to Chicago in hope of starting new and better lives, this interactive Playdate is a Black History Month, no holds barred, celebration of Chicago, soul music's rhythm and melodies, and the freedom of mind, body, and soul.