Old Town School's Free 'Soundtrack of the City' Concert Series Launches Thursday

Old Town School of Folk Music, with the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE), is pleased to announce a free, city-wide concert series, Soundtrack of the City, taking place June 8 - August 20, 2017. Performances, along with special exhibits and discussion panels, will be hosted throughout the City's neighborhoods from Bronzeville to River North. Soundtrack of the City will celebrate Chicago's rich musical history and explore connections to social movements and cultural traditions that helped define world-changing musical genres from jazz to Duranguense. All events are free and open to the public, no reservations required.

"Chicago has always been an amazing hotbed for innovative music and creative musicians. Soundtrack of the City encourages listeners to explore our neighborhoods to get a first-hand experience of our native musical genres that were born of social movements and raised right here in Chicago," said Bau Graves, executive director of Old Town School of Folk Music. "Old Town School celebrates these homegrown soundtracks, from folk music to House music, with a series that celebrates our city, all over our city, all summer."

"Soundtrack of the City not only recognizes Chicago's deep music history but the neighborhoods where these traditions started," said Mark Kelly, Commissioner of the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs & Special Events. "It's magnificent that Chicagoans and visitors will be welcomed into these communities to learn about the sounds that shaped this city and continue to impact music around the world."

Following a crowd-pleasing kick-off concert over the Memorial Day weekend showcasing Chicago's House Music legacy, upcoming highlights include performances from world renowned ragtime pianist and composer Reginald Robinson in Ellis Park, a Duranguense concert at the National Museum of Mexican Art and a performance from Robbie Fulks & Friends at Navy Pier. A full schedule of upcoming performances and special events follows.

Soundtrack of the City Schedule

Blues'n in Bronzeville (performance)

Ellis Park Arts & Recreation Center, 3520 S. Cottage Grove Ave.

Thursday, June 8, 6 p.m.

Blues'n In Bronzeville brings authentic blues right back to where it all began. Blocks from Muddy Waters' home and Honorary Sam Cooke Way, this festival will feature performances from old school greats and some new voices on the scene, featuring Wayne Baker Brooks, Doktu Rhute Muuzic and Shoji Naito.

We Bring You Bronzeville - Salute to Blues at Ellis (exhibition)

Ellis Park Arts & Recreation Center

Thursday, June 8, 4 - 9 p.m. and Friday, June 9, 11 a.m.-9 p.m.

The Chicago Blues Museum's We Bring you Bronzeville is a month-long celebration of the musical heritage and cultural legacy of the historic South Side district through exhibits, film presentations of music performances and programs at Ellis Park exploring significant contributions from musicians, artists, and citizens to the fabric of Bronzeville's deep cultural history. The Chicago Blues Museum brings this exhibit to Ellis Park for a community gathering featuring parts of the exhibit and film footage of Blues Greats.

Chicago Jazz (performance and exhibition)

Ellis Park

Friday, June 30, 6 p.m.

In partnership with the Chicago Park District's Night Out in The Parks program, world renowned ragtime pianist and composer Reginald Robinson co-headlines with the Dee Alexander Quartet for a night of Chicago jazz. At tonight's concert, The Chicago Blues Museum will host a special presentation of selected displays from its "Chicago Jazz" exhibit which focuses on homegrown jazz musicians, entertainers, and performers with a connection to Chicago and Bronzeville.

Folk Music - Chicago's Legacy (performance)

Square Roots Festival, Lincoln Avenue between Montrose and Wilson

Sunday, July 9, 3 p.m

As part of the Square Roots Festival, Old Town School will examine the role Chicago played (and still plays) in folk music, from way back to The Peoples' Songs Concerts of the late 1940s with Pete Seeger, Big Bill Broonzy, and Woody Guthrie in Orchestra Hall, to the voices of singers and players over the airwaves with Studs Terkel, to the lore of the historic Chicago venues, and to the hallowed halls of the Old Town School itself.

Gospel and The Freedom Trail Concert (performance and discussion)

Marquette Park, 6743 S. Kedzie Ave.

Saturday, July 22, 6-8 p.m.

In partnership with Night Out in the Parks, presented by the Chicago Park District, this concert features gospel icon Dr. Lena McLin and the Holy Vessel Baptist Church Choir, the Chicago Christian Choir, Dexter Walker & Zion Movement, and various luminary Chicago Gospel artists. Master of Ceremonies Sonya Blakey, program director and on-air personality at GospelRadio 1390, will lead a discussion on Chicago Gospel from the stage with special guests.

The Rise of Duranguense Music (discussion panel and performance)

National Museum of Mexican Art, 1852 W. 19th St.

Saturday, August 5, 2-4 p.m.

Video and panel discussion regarding the Duranguense movement hosted by Mateo Mulcahy of the Old Town School with Jose Luis Terrazas, founder of Montez De Durango, and Chicago Latin Music promoter Ivan Fernández. The panel closes with a performance from Show Revelación.

The Rise of Duranguense Music Concert (performance)

Harrison Park, 1824 S. Wood St.

Sunday, August 13, 2-6 p.m.

Montez De Durango began in the city of Chicago back in 1996 and has gone on to sell over seven million albums. They continue to tour countries such as United States, Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, and Canada, and have left a legacy in Regional Mexican Music with over twenty Top 40 songs in their twenty-year career. They are joined by Norteñisimo Zierra Azul, a Chicago-based Mexican Norteño band founded in 2013, with whom they have toured and recorded, and Show Revelación.

Country Skyline - Robbie Fulks & Friends (performance)

Navy Pier Lake Stage, 600 E. Grand Ave.

Sunday, August 20, 6 p.m.

Despite its urban environment, or perhaps because of it, Chicago has played a very influential role in the advancement of country music. Our homegrown predecessor to the Grand Ole Opry, the legendary WLS National Barn Dance, was one of the first American country radio programs to hit the airwaves in 1924 with a broadcast that could be heard above the fruited plain and across the United States. Fast forward to modern day, and country music's various streams, from roots rock to alt-country, all lead back to the big lake on the third coast. Join Robbie Fulks and Friends, featuring Jon Langford, Gerald Dowd, Beau Sample, Brian Wilkie, John Rice, and many more, as they celebrate country in the big city.

Soundtrack of the City is made possible through a grant from the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events' IncentOvate Program. More information, including essays about the significance of each genre of music to Chicago, can be found at www.soundtrackchicago.org/.

About Old Town School of Folk Music:

Chicago's Old Town School of Folk Music is the largest community school of the arts in the U.S. and a non-profit organization committed to celebrating American music and global cultures. The school teaches and celebrates music and cultural expressions rooted in the traditions of diverse American and global communities. Founded in 1957, the Old Town School of Folk Music provides a wide range of music, dance, theater, and visual arts courses to people of all ages, abilities, and backgrounds. Whatever one's interest, the Old Town School provides broad access to more than 700 accredited class offerings, private lessons, and over 400 concerts per year.

The Old Town School opened its Lincoln Square facility in 1998 and expanded in 2012. The Old Town School owns and operates three facilities situated in Lincoln Square and Lincoln Park that include 425-seat and two 150-seat concert halls, 64 classrooms, two music stores, cafe and a resource center. Children's classes are also held at several suburban satellite locations. More information is available at www.oldtownschool.org.

About Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events
The Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) is dedicated to enriching Chicago's artistic vitality and cultural vibrancy. This includes fostering the development of Chicago's non-profit arts sector, independent working artists and for-profit arts businesses; providing a framework to guide the City's future cultural and economic growth, via the 2012 Chicago Cultural Plan; marketing the City's cultural assets to a worldwide audience; and presenting high-quality, free and affordable cultural programs for residents and visitors. For more information, visit cityofchicago.org/dcase.

About The IncentOvate Program

Now in its third year, The IncentOvate Program is part of the DCASE Cultural Grants Program, which provides more than $1.7 million annually in direct funding to artists, creative professionals and arts and cultural organizations across Chicago - including the CityArts Program, which supports small to mid-sized nonprofits, and the Individual Artists Program, which assists professional artists in creating new work that elevates their careers and brings value to the City of Chicago. IncentOvate stimulates cultural innovation and supports the city's larger cultural institutions.

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