ST. CHARLES – He has brought the community together through song.
Lifelong St. Charles resident Jeff Hunt, the longtime director of music at Baker Memorial United Methodist Church in St. Charles and the founder of the Mostly Madrigal Singers, better known today as the St. Charles Singers, was the recipient of this year's Charlemagne Award during the 97th annual Charlemagne Awards gala Feb. 8 at the Q Center.
"Tonight, we honor the lifetime achievement for an individual who has dedicated their time, efforts, and talent to making this community the great place it is today and demonstrates the very essence behind the Legend of Charlemagne," said St. Charles Chamber of Commerce Board Chairman Sharon Spero, in announcing Hunt as this year's winner. "The legend reveals that Charlemagne left his four sons as guardians of St. Charles, to see that this city becomes a community where people could live, raise a family, work, have a business, be educated, worship and play. The winner of tonight’s Charlemagne Award has
contributed in all facets of this vision and it’s quite an honor to recognize him this evening."
Hunt attended St. Charles High School, where he developed a passion for music, inspired by his choir instructor. Music has been a strong force in all of his community activities.
He is a former member of the St. Charles Cultural Commission, St. Charles Art Council and co-founder of the St. Charles Art and Music Festival, which brought internationally recognized artists of all genres to our community. Hunt was awarded the Mayor's Award for his leadership in St. Charles and for co-founding the art and musical festival.
Throughout the years Hunt, along with the St. Charles Singers, have raised funds for charities across the area, including but not limited to, The Salvation Army, CASA Kane County and funding for various student scholarships. He also is an adjunct professor of music at Elgin Community College.
With family members surrounding him, Hunt humbly accepted the award.
"I'm overwhelmed with sincere joy and heartfelt gratitude," he said. "Of all the people in this amazing town and in this amazing group of people assembled here, I was selected, and it's just very emotional for me."
His mother and father, the late Doris and Max Hunt, were known for their many community contributions. Max Hunt received the Charlemagne award in 1978.
Jeff Hunt, who was the 57th Charlemagne winner, thanked his family in his acceptance speech.
"I'm going to accept this, but knowing all along that I couldn't have done any of the things I tried to do in my life without them and without the support and the family love of community and of music and of people," he said. "Thank you very much for this. It means a great deal. God bless all of you."
More than 500 people attended the Charlemagne gala, a record turnout for the event.