The Early Years
The Allegro story starts in 1961 when the Caneva family opened a music shop in downtown Lockport, called the Lockport Music Center. They sold instruments and taught lessons, and even through changes in ownership, the shop was always a home for young musicians in Lockport.
The Growing Up Years
In 1991, Tim Veurink saw an ad in a paper for a music shop for sale. As a teenager, he’d spent many hours hanging out in just such a place, playing guitar and enjoying the “musician vibe.” It sounded like a dreamy business opportunity, so Tim walked through the door of Lockport Music and was greeted by a kindly, older gentleman. Tim said to him, “This is a nice place you’ve got here.” And the man responded, “Yes it is. You want it?” And several conversations later, Tim owned a music store. Dreamy!
Tim continued the grand tradition of the Lockport Music Shop—lots of hanging out, playing guitar, and soaking up the vibe. They sold guitars and other instruments, but in truth, there was more hanging out than actual sales. Tim kept working at it, but the times they were a’changing, and Tim was ready for a change too.
The Year of Change
In 2001, Tim was introduced to a local piano teacher, Lori Gardner, who shared with him her dream of creating a performing arts academy in neighboring Lemont, where most of her student base was located. Tim liked the idea, and decided to jump onboard. In September 2001, they starting remodeling an old building in historic downtown Lemont. Together with many friends pitching in, they hung drywall, painted, bought furniture and pianos and children’s toys, until the space was perfect. The Allegro Music Academy was now a reality. On October 23rd of 2001, Lori taught their first lesson.
They were fortunate to meet many great families who wanted to learn how to play music. These families told their friends, who told their friends, and the word travelled fast in the friendly town of Lemont. Soon more space was required to accommodate the growth, and they soon added more teaching studio on the 2nd floor of the building.
On a personal note, Tim noticed that Lori had become a very expensive business partner, so he decided it was time to either a) buy her out or b) see if he could convince her to marry him. Since she brings all the fun and excitement to the studios, he decided to propose. Luckily for him, she said yes! In August 2003, they made it official in a small ceremony at Dellwood Park in Lockport. Like lots of things in marriage, Tim found himself agreeing with Lori’s ideas more and more. Allegro was proving to be a big hit in Lemont and they knew it was time to continue growing and teaching more students.
In May of 2006, they added commercial space in Bolingbrook and launched the third studio, which for the first time also included a dance studio! Allegro Music and Dance Academy became the new name as they moved closer and closer to Lori’s dream of having a performing arts academy.
They soon outgrew that little space and expanded into shared space with a local church, attracting more families from the surrounding communities of Plainfield, Naperville and Romeoville.
The more things change…
Today, the dance program is thriving in Lemont and Lockport. The studio inside the church has temporarily been split between Lockport and Lemont as the church undergoes renovations. Music lessons prevail in all locations, and now a theatre program and a tutoring pod are also thriving in Lemont. Through it all, the goal remains the same: to be the preferred choice for families in the southwest suburbs in providing arts education. Just as we were in the early days–we remain a welcoming place where students in the arts can meet each other, socialize, perfect their craft and ultimately perform–either live onstage or virtually for fans from all over the globe! They become thought leaders among their peers, exhibiting confidence and charisma through the arts.
We consider our students, teachers and staff to be part of our family– the Allegro family. And guess what? There’s still room in this big, old, crazy house… should we set a place for you?