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SOTS 11/12 Newsletter  

November 12, 2018

Hello supporters of Save Old Town School! It's been a busy couple of weeks, so we wanted to give you an update on what we've been working on. We've:
  • Formalized this group's mission and objectives
  • Delivered a petition to the OTS Board of Directors
  • Conducted research and outreach
  • Attended an incredibly inspiring rally this Saturday organized by the OTS teachers.
Read on below or visit our website for more information, next steps, and what you can do to help!

Our Mission

To mobilize the skills, passion, and energy of the community of Old Town School students and supporters, and provide a channel through ehich our community can strengthen its engagement with the School and support its future viability, community roots, and ongoing mission to teach and celebrate music and cultural expression.

Our Objectives
Petition Delivery to Board of Directors

We delivered the petition and it's over 6500 signatures to the OTSFM Board of Directors on Wedneday, 11/7. We also read aloud a cover letter to the Board and many teachers who were present, voicing our concern around the decision to sell the 909 Armitage building, offering up our community's skills and passion to help secure the future of the School, and urging the Board to create an ongoing open dialog with the community that makes up this institution.

Read our letter to the Board here.

11/10 Rally at 909 W. Armitage

On Saturday, November 10th, we attended the rally in front of the 909 Armitage building organized by the faculty of OTSFM. Hundreds of supporters gathered in front of the School's "mothership" with signs, guitars, shakers, and music in hand. We sang, we played, we chanted, and we got to listen to some heartfelt testimony from several long-time teachers and students. As an extra treat, we were read a letter of support from Chicago Bagel Authority owner Greg Gibbs. 

"The Old Town School of Folk Music is more than just a building. It is all of us. It is the songs we’ve sung, the lessons we’ve learned, the tricks we’ve taught, the friends we’ve found, the community we’ve connected with, and the memories we’ve made. It has made us who we are. It has made us better. It brings out the best parts of us, through the magic of music and the strength of the human heart ... Stop the sale. There is too much music to make" -- Lindsay Weinberg, OTS educator and 2018 Distinguished Teaching Artist recipient

"... music comes out of the walls, floorboards and ceilings! ... let us all promise to work with [the Board] to fill this building and all the other buildings, 7 days a week, with people making a joyful noise together!" -- Rich Gordon, SOTS member, petition creator, and longtime OTS student

"Gone will be the soul of Armitage ... we must find a way to preserve the Old Town School of Folk Music. We can't lay down without exhausting every possible option." -- Greg Gibbs, owner of CBA

  • For full speeches/letter, see here.
  • There are countless videos and photos of the event on our SOTS Community Facebook page.
  • Rich Gordon's comments on behalf of the SOTS group here
  • Link to the Chicago Tribune article and video
  • Link to the ABC7-Chicago article and video
  • Link to the Block Club Chicago article

On October 22, 2018, the administration of the Old Town School of Folk Music suddenly announced that the board of directors had voted to sell the school’s 909 W. Armitage building, which has served as the school’s historic home for more than 50 years!

Save Old Town School was founded the very next day by a group of students who are passionate about the school and who were shocked into action. The announcement said that the building must be sold to seed an endowment fund, but we believe this may not be the best way to achieve that goal. In less than two weeks, more than 6,000 people signed our petition!

Save Old Town School is working to establish dialogue between the school’s leadership and the school’s community on the issue of the sale, before permanent action is taken. Our longer-term goal is to work to bring our supporters’ resources to help the school grow and thrive. 
Rich Gordon speaking at the rally in front of 909 W. Armitage on Saturday, 11/10

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Save the Old Town School · 515 Elmwood Ave · Evanston, IL 60202-2813 · USA

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