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Local

'The girl is a rock star' – Toast for Tunes raises money for Sugar Grove Public Library

Library director was star of the event

Sugar Grove Public Library Director Shannon Halikias was the "celebrity bartender" at The Law Office Pub and Music Hall on April 20 in Yorkville. The event raised money for the library to buy local music.
Sugar Grove Public Library Director Shannon Halikias was the "celebrity bartender" at The Law Office Pub and Music Hall on April 20 in Yorkville. The event raised money for the library to buy local music.

YORKVILLE – Toast for Tunes: A Musical Fundraiser turned out to be an event with high notes. The April 20 fundraiser was a collaboration between the Sugar Grove Public Library and The Law Office Pub and Music Hall in downtown Yorkville. Money raised via donations and tips will help the library buy local music to add to its collection.

Rob Gryder, bar manager, estimated more than 100 people attended the event at the pub, and about $250 was raised.

Boyd Ingemunson, bar owner, worked behind the sound board during the event.

“Anything that we can do to proliferate people paying attention to music and arts in our community is really what we’re trying to build locally in the western suburbs,” Ingemunson said.

Inside the pub, law books lined a bookshelf. Tiny white lights filled the space. The star of the event was the featured “celebrity bartender,” Sugar Grove Public Library Director Shannon Halikias. She showed up to work in a bright orange top, blue jeans and sneakers. She chatted and shook hands with customers.

“Hi, I’m Shannon from the Sugar Grove library,” she said. “What are you drinking? ... Can I get you another beer?” Halikias dropped money in a bucket.

North Aurora resident Erik Nelson ordered a beer called Tuna. “She got all of my drink orders just fine,” Nelson said. Ben Seaver, bartender, had rave reviews on how Halikias did. “She’s killing it,” Seaver said. “She’s got a great personality. She’s outgoing. So it works out great for bartending.”

Meanwhile, the lit stage featured Jazz Trials, led and hosted by Mike Schwebke, who played the steel pan drum. The core musicians in Jazz Trials also play drums, keyboard and bass. Schwebke, a Yorkville resident, added a tropical flair to the jazzy and jamming upbeat and cool sounds, such as the song “All the Things You Are.”

As the night went on, musicians stepped on the stage to jam with the core group. Musicians played saxophone, trumpet and guitar, and sang. Later the library’s circulation supervisor Scott Noblitt entered the scene. Noblitt and Halikias high-fived and later cut a rug in the middle of the pub.

About 20 local CDs were donated in a box for the library, along with a book from Sugar Grove resident and author Bela (Bill) Suhayda.

“I enjoy watching people come up and doing improvisations,” Suhayda said. “It’s a very creative element. You’re in the moment.”

Rebekah Axtell sang “Georgia on My Mind” in a jazzy, soulful, powerful way, with a hint of opera. Dave Katz’s fingers effortlessly fluttered as he played trumpet.

Yorkville resident Tim Gleason gave Halikias props. “You couple the fact that she’s a celebrity and she has bartending skills – [it] is the best celebrity bartending night that we’ve ever had at the Jazz Trials,” Gleason said. 

Gryder said Halikias made the fundraiser great.

“The girl is a rock star,” he said.

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