Stories

Legotts, Lee honored at St. Peter’s Arts Academy dinner

The 10th annual Dinner for the Arts March 29 at the St. Peter’s Community Arts Academy will feature arts performances, awards to community members and a gourmet meal.

The gala evening at the Academy at 149 Genesee St. begins at 4:30 p.m. with a wine reception, silent auction and entertainment from Arts Academy performers. The five-course meal sponsored by Beef and Brew will start at 6 p.m. and will include the presentation of the Community Arts Academy’s 2020 Community Award for Extraordinary Support for Music and the Arts to Geneva’s Legott family and the 2020 Distinguished Alumni Award to Waterloo High School graduate Changhee Lee

The Legott Family has promoted music in Geneva for generations and Lee is now a doctoral student in piano performance.

Well-known Club 86 restaurateur William “Bill” Legott, who died unexpectedly Oct. 30, was a simple man and always a man of few words. He cherished the Torrey Park neighborhood and worked to continue to give back and grow the community that surrounded it. Recently, he and his wife Lori brought live music back to Club 86 with “Cabaret Nights,” helping to shine a spotlight on the growing arts in the Geneva community.

Club 86 had humble beginnings as Legott’s Bar & Restaurant, a family restaurant in the 1900s. When son Jim Legott and his wife Eileen returned from World War II in the 1940s, they added an addition and the room would arguably become the hottest spot in the country for jazz, featuring greats like Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong, Dizzy Gillespie, Nat King Cole, Lionel Hampton, Buddy Rich and Tony Bennett.

In the 1960s, The Club transitioned from a nightclub to a lively private party house. But if you listen closely you can still hear the music and the stories that made The Club what it is today. That history still can be found hanging on the walls through autographed pictures of the many stars who performed there.

Jim and Eileen worked at The Club almost every day until Jim passed away in 1999, but their son Bill and his wife Lori continued to grow The Club to what it is today … a business that is purposeful, approachable, meticulous and adaptable. Lori can still be found dishing out chicken and ziti.

The fourth generation of Legotts will continue to carry on the tradition. Alex, Sarah, Eric and Allison are charismatic, ambitious, diligent and resourceful.

Lee graduated from Waterloo in 2010 and was a scholarship student at the St. Peter’s Community Arts Academy, where he studied piano with Troy Slocum, organ with MaryAnn Hamilton and also sang in the Senior Choir. As a student at the academy, he accompanied the St. Nicholas Choir and the Suzuki string group classes.

He is pursuing a doctorate of music in piano performance at the Université de Montréal, under the guidance of Jean Saulnier. He received his master’s and bachelor’s degrees in piano performance from the Eastman School of Music, as a student of Douglas Humpherys. He currently teaches keyboard skills at McGill University’s Schulich School of Music and also serves as director of music at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church.

The St. Peter’s Community Arts Academy offers lessons and performances in choirs, piano, violin, cello, organ, voice, dance and guitar for all ages and now serves more than 300 students from 16 area schools in a five-county area in large part due to the dedicated core of instructors and staff, all of whom are professionals in their field.

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