The new doors of Chicago's legendary folk music school will be opened by a legendary singer-songwriter.
Joni Mitchell, the Canadian musician who blended confessional poetry and jazz-structured folk, will perform at the new home of the Old Town School Of Folk Music Sept. 18, it was announced Wednesday.
She will be joined by Peter Yarrow of the longtime folk trio Peter, Paul and Mary.
"She's one of the best songwriters of the era and in terms of an acoustic and folk music influence, she fits it to a 'T'," said Jim Hirsch, executive director of the Old Town School.
The intimate concert will be Mitchell's first in Chicago in more than ten years. She will be the first performer to play at the school's 425-seat hall, located at the Chicago Folk Center, 4544 N. Lincoln, Chicago. Tickets for the benefit and dinner are $2,500 apiece.
The event — part of a weekend of workshops, performances and open house tours — will unveil the 41-year-old school's move to Chicago's Lincoln Square neighborhood.
Its long-time space in Old Town will remain as a children's center.
Costing $7 million in renovations, the new site will include four floors holding classrooms, the concert hall, a resource center, store and a public cafe.
"We will always do what we do but with the new venue it will allow us to do it better," Hirsch said.
The weekend also will include concerts by Old Town alumni culminating with a Sunday reunion concert featuring Corky Siegel, Ella Jenkins, Jim and Janet Post, Bonnie Koloc and others.
Mitchell is currently working on a new album. She recently completed a West Coast tour with Bob Dylan and Van Morrison.
On July 18 and 19, the school will host a first-ever free music festival around the corner from the new site at Welles Park. It will feature roots-based musicians like Robbie Fulks, Honeyboy Edwards, Chris Smither and the Blazers.
For tickets or more information, call (773) 525-7793.