Let's not forget that Leslie Hunt started singing in a garage band in St. Charles before she ever became well known through shows at the Norris Theater, community events or her appearance on "American Idol" a few years ago.
We all know she can sing and play the piano. And we all know that Hunt, based on reaching the Hollywood segments of "American Idol," is pretty darned good.
But if you want to see another facet of her music passion, you'll have to see her band, District 97, perform during ProgNight, a show featuring progressive rock bands, Oct. 12 at the Arcada Theater.
Hunt joined this band in 2008 and performs between 20 and 25 shows a year.
District 97 band members say their latest album, "Trouble with Machines" has been selling well. That's good news, considering the band put a lot of time into it, recording in the studio from August 2011 to this past January. Editing, mixing and mastering took the band until May to complete, member Jonathan Schang said.
District 97 looks forward to the mini festival at the Arcada, where the band will open the show at 7 p.m., followed by Three Friends and solo artist Neal Morse. Ticket information is available at (630) 962-7000 or at the Arcada.
A tasty menu: If last weekend's Festival of the Vine is any indication, Jon With should have a warm reception at the Tavolino's restaurant he just opened at 305 W. State Street in downtown Geneva.
With didn't have to make a major move to open the place either. He operated the Thai Bistro previously at that location.
At the Tavolino booth at the festival, I tried the arancini, a fried rice ball with meat and cheese, coated with bread crumbs. They are best known as "Sicilian golden fried rice balls."
A friend tried the chicken Marsala and raved about that as well.
Another thing working in With's favor is that Tavolino executive chef Kevin Provenzano has some solid experience from several years as the executive chef at Carlucci in Downers Grove.
Same as my car: At least it's not just my car that acts up.
The Metra train I was on recently decided to lose its power at each stop along the route from Chicago. And then it would start up about five minutes later. Kind of like how my car would act at stoplights before I got it fixed.
Hundreds of passengers on this slow, slow ride got dropped off in Elmhurst to change trains. And the shaky train we left behind surely went into sick bay.
Some Kaneland rallies: The Kaneland High School family is rallying to help a current student and a former student deal with major health problems and the accompanying costs.
Friends of Kaneland senior Samantha Garcia are hosting a benefit from noon to 8 p.m. Sunday at AMVETS Post 103 at 2294 Jericho Road in Aurora. Garcia was injured two months ago in a single-vehicle crash and is recovering from serious head injuries at Marianjoy Rehabilitation in Wheaton.
The community is also planning a benefit from 1 to 11 p.m. Saturday at Lions Park in Elburn for 1999 Kaneland grad Jason Cornell, who was diagnosed last spring with a fast-growing cancerous brain tumor.
It's a heartbreaking situation for Jason and his wife, Jaclyn, and three sons ages 4 to 10 months. But friends who promoted the fundraiser during Kaneland's home football game on Sept. 8 mentioned how hard Jason is fighting.
It was uplifting to see how many people were donating what they could during the football game, and event organizers have mentioned how amazing the community support has been.
Organizers at both fundraisers are including a bags tournament that will have an entry fee, while Jason's fundraiser has a $10 event entry fee that includes dinner.
Arts alive at mall: As mentioned in this column in the past, it's good to hear that an empty space at the Charlestowne Mall will be put to some good use.
The St. Charles Arts Council will host a reception from 5 to 8 p.m. Sept. 22 to officially kick off the opening of Charlie's Center for the Arts at the Charlestowne Mall.
Nearly 30 local artists will feature work from various art forms for display and sale at this pop-up gallery. The event also features four other art galleries -- ARZ + 5 Studio/Gallery, Peter Locasio Studio/Gallery, a District 303 art gallery and SCPD Photography Gallery. More information is available at nextgallerystcharles.org.
But that's not all. Jazz singer Tammy McCann will perform at Charlie's Center at 7 p.m. Oct. 6, with a group of St. Charles school district singers providing the opening act. Those students will have participated in a master class taught by McCann earlier in the day.
Tickets are $10 each and information is available at info@StCharlesArtCouncil.org.
On the squad: Practice makes perfect, especially in the NFL.
Congratulations to former Geneva High School and NIU football star Pat Schiller on being named to the Atlanta Falcons' practice squad -- a day after he had been cut during the team's final roster trim.
His parents, Pat and Kathy Schiller, went on a bit of a roller-coaster ride, picking Pat up at the airport the day he was cut, and then taking him back the next day after he learned he made the practice team.
Wildlife excitement: The folks at the Fox Valley Wildlife Center in Elburn sure seem excited about the "Wild about Wildlife" Oct. 13 fundraiser being planned for Fifth Third Bank Ballpark in Geneva.
However, they need sponsors and donations to help the cause. Get all of the information at fwc.org.