ST. CHARLES – Those who stop in McNally's Irish Pub on Dec. 16 will get a side of holiday cheer with their order.
Students from St. Charles-based Andrew Bordoni Music will lead a Christmas Sing-Along from 5 to 7 p.m. Dec. 16 at McNally's Pub, 109 W. Main St. in downtown St. Charles. This is the second year of the event.
"I moved from Scotland to the United States in 2001 and one of the things that I missed a lot was the fact that around Christmastime, all the pubs are filled with people and a random musician would show up, start playing Christmas songs and everybody would sing along," Bordoni said. "It was just like a really magical atmosphere. One of my favorite pubs in the area is McNally's Irish Pub. I thought, why not recreate that here at McNally's and give an opportunity for my kids to perform."
The students who will be part of the event all write their own songs and are aspiring professional musicians, he said. During last year's inaugural event, one of his past students performed as part of the show – former "American Idol" contestant Kayla Mickelsen of Geneva.
"We ended the sing-along with an a capella version of "Silent Night" and the entire pub was singing," Bordoni said. "It was beautiful. It was just like a really magical moment."
Several of Bordoni's students have gone on to achieve success, including Brian Macdonald, a member of the popular Nashville band Judah and the Lion.
"Another student of mine is now a popular producer out in Hollywood," he said. "He's doing a lot of sound production and music for original series and movies on Netflix."
Bordoni said it has been gratifying to see so many of his students go on to achieve success. A longtime professional musician, he tries to educate his students on what it takes to be a musician.
"So it's not just learning how to play the instrument, but it's also learning how to record and how to produce yourself," he said. "Performing live, it's not just about the performance. I'm in the process right now of teaching my students how to set up sound equipment and how to run live sound and what not. I try to give my students the complete package."
He also encourages his students to write their own songs and find "their own voice." And his students have the opportunity to perform on a regular basis.
"This year we had 12 performances in total," Bordoni said. "That comes down to approximately one performance a month."
Bordoni Music’s annual student concert supporting JDRF is held at the Arcada Theatre in downtown St. Charles. Five of his students have Type 1 diabetes.
"I like to teach my students that music is a lot more than just entertainment," Bordoni said. "A lot of our events have supported nonprofit organizations and we've raised money through the concerts just to do something meaningful. It's not just about getting on stage and playing songs. I like attaching a purpose to what we do and try to help the community through our events."