10 Days Out: Reflecting Back on our 1st Community Town Hall Meeting

Ten days ago, members of the Old Town School of Music community gathered at the Sulzer Regional Library in Lincoln Square for a “Town Hall” Community meeting. The goal of the meeting was to express the mission of the various Save Old Town School (SOTS) committees and provide an open dialogue for people to ask questions. As a recap, we wanted to share back more information and resources that were a result of the meeting. For those who did not attend, feel free to watch the video below or read more from our previous blog post on 10/1.


For a copy of the slides presented behind those speaking, download a PDF copy here.

Once the foundation of SOTS was covered, the meeting transitioned to an open community dialogue. Members were invited up the the mic to share their thoughts, express their emotions and ask the questions that they would like to be answered. The stories were moving and the questions powerful. The consolidated list of questions were captured in real-time, and later answered by SOTS on our FAQ page here, if you haven’t seen them.

Amongst the many questions asked, we wanted to record and share the comments that were brought forward as well.

Victor B

  • Raised concerned that the ancillary and full staff and question whether they are on anyone’s radar

  • Looking and interested to see OTS’s budgets

Nancy B

  • Discussed potential ways to influence the decision (financially + bad publicity)

  • Suggestion to reach out to major donors who are able to speak out—can we use them to represent us in the board if the board isn’t willing to meet with us

Skip L

  • Urged everyone to remember that there are no villains in this

  • Suggestion to get more Seniors enrolled, explain how many classes and offerings the school actually has

  • Think of specifically what you think should be changed and do so courteously

  • Engage corporate sponsors and offer classes as thank you to bring more people in

Sandra R

  • Concerts are booked in weird ways, poor schedule, weird responses

  • Suggestion to use concerts to bring in more funds and showcase the mission of the school — use it as a form of outreach & connect to a community

Stef F

  • Remember that the focus on 909 can not be the only thing—what is happening is a symptom and not the only problem

  • Let’s think about the whole community, need to invest in teachers, staff so people are happy about it and it becomes sustainable

  • Bigger mission = not just the building, rebuild the community

Walt M

  • Beyond the current issues, he’s not sure the OTS communicates their offerings to the community very well, and they could benefit from bringing back the catalogue

Chris W

  • Food for thought: If the sale of 909 is stopped, the school is under no obligation to have classes there

  • Rebranding thoughts: Folk, Music, and School - the three most important words in our name (folk is people, music is simply the offering, school is the gathering space for community) - the idea of rebranding could be hard against what OTS stands for

Mary B

  • She didn’t know that much about the class offerings

  • Marketing is important — doesn’t know that people are aware

Alton S

  • Suggestion to bring back the catalogue - have a central place to showcase what we have, need to be portable and accessible

Jessica N

  • Suggestion to market to the younger generation and bring in more diversity to the school

Holly B

  • Saw the opportunity and growth through her daughter and knows that the diversity of offerings and students are out there, but we need to help other people learn about them

John M

  • Encouraged others to set up meetings with teachers to help get answer your questions

Currently, SOTS is creating the foundations and structure to have people join committees. More to come in the upcoming Newsletter.

Steph Wulz