news & buzz

I Come For to Sing:The Homecoming Alumni Concert

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Join us for this fun-filled homecoming event featuring many friends and former teachers. Join Frank Hamilton, the very first teacher of the Old Town School, along with many other familiar faces from the past and present including Ted & Marcia Johnson — students and teachers at the school since its opening night in 1957; Byron Roche, who worked at the School's Folklore Center in the '70s and '80s; student then teacher then student, Norm Kantor; veteran Old Town School teachers MD, Michael Miles, Chris Farrell and Barb Barrow; Old Town School Executive Director Bau Graves; and The Pickin' Bubs, comprised of current teachers

A Beginner Learns Guitar

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A Beginner Learns Guitar is MD's 29 page reflection for those who are new to the guitar and for those who haven't started yet. The chapters are presented in chronological order and invite the reader to visualize much about their hands and their guitar.

First published in 2006, A Beginner Learns Guitar has been re-edited and formatted for free download for in .pdf format. 

An excerpt:

"You are not alone. The way to playing guitar well is thoroughly known, and those who take the time and care, to make just a single, clear, purposeful tone on their instrument, join the many thousands of others who have already ventured down this path. …

Folk singer Dvorak to present Academy of Lifetime Learning



February 22, 2012

CHARLESTON IL - A free workshop presented by professional folk singer Mark Dvorak is planned for March 14.

The workshop is sponsored by Eastern Illinois University's School of Continuing Education's Academy of Lifetime Learning, in cooperation with Tarble Arts Center and the Illinois Humanities Council Roads Scholar Speakers Bureau.

The event will take place March 14 from noon to 1:30 pm at EIU Tarble Arts Center Atrium. A reception and information about the Academy of Lifetime Learning will be provided afterward.

The workshop will shed light on the development and evolution of American folk song. …

New Old Town School of Folk Music classes

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The new session at the Old Town School of Folk Music in Chicago begins March 5, 2012 and there is still room in MD's classes. 

Mondays beginning March 5, 8:00 pm - Guitar 4Ever with Mark Dvorak

Tuesdays beginning March 6, 6:30 pm - Tuesday Folk Ensemble with Mark Dvorak

Tuesdays beginning March 6, 8:00 pm - Guitar 2 Repertoire with Mark Dvorak

Thuradays beginning March 8, 5:30 pm - Guitar 2 Repertoire with Mark Dvorak

Thursdays beginning March 8, 7:00 pm - Thursday Special Folk Jam - FREE! Just show up. The more the merrier!

Get over to for class information and enrollment, and all kinds of information on the school.

Win Stracke's Dream


Singer, performer, activist, educator and co-founder of Chicago's Old Town School of Folk Music, Win Stracke was born on February 20, 1908. 

To celebrate Win's centennial birthday, MD posted the essay, Win Stracke's Dream, four years ago.

Read Win Stracke's Dream here.

Noam Pikelny on WoodSongs Old Time Radio Hour


In 2010 five string banjo wizard Noam Pikelny was awarded the first Steve Martin Prize for Excellence in Banjo and Bluegrass. Pikelny credits the Old Town School of Folk Music and MD with getting him started on the path of five string banjo mastery.

Last month, Pikelny was in Lexington KY for an appearance on the WoodSongs Old Time Radio hour with host Michael Johnathon.  

"I was growing up in Chicago," Pikelny said, "and as soon as I decided to learn the banjo I started taking lessons at the Old Town School of Folk Music from a guy named Mark Dvorak, who is a wonderful banjo player, guitar player and folksinger. …

Best Albums of 2011 by Michael Glitz


Award winning free lance writer Michael Glitz has weighed in on his picks for the best albums for the year 2011. Number 24 is Live From the Old Town School, an historic 127 song collection documenting more than fifty years of concert performances at the legendary center for folk and acoustic arts.

Read the article here.

The entire collection, available for download only, features Old Town School of Folk Music legends Big Bill Broonzy, Mahalia Jackson, Bonnie Koloc, Steve Earle, Frank Hamilton and a host of other seminal artists who have appeared on stage at the Old Town School of Folk Music.

In Stock


Chicago area listeners can purchase all of MDs CDs at the Old Town School of Folk Music's Music Store. The store is located in the Lincoln Avenue West Building, 4544 N. Lincoln Avenue, Chicago.

All purchases of course, support the Old Town School of Folk Music, its programs and initiatives. 

Log on to the Old Town School's web site at

Cover Me


Two MD originals have been included on projects recently released by Chicago artists. MD performs the previously unreleased, In the Shadow of the Mountain on the latest Sons of the Never Wrong CD, Church of the Never Wrong. 

The historic recording features a host of Chicago artists performing original material with the Sons. Order Church of the Never Wrong direct from the store or visit the Sons of the Never Wrong website here.


Chicago singer-songwriter Donna Adler performs a beautiful duet with MD on My Love Grows on her just released Stories to Keep, her fourth CD.

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