Andy LeGrand is happy to be living and making music in Fountain City, and the music studio that bears his name is getting ready to grow in its longtime Fountain City Art Center home.
LeGrand is a classical guitarist with degrees in performance and business from University of Alabama. He is originally from Atlanta, but when his wife’s TVA job relocated to Knoxville, the family settled in Fountain City. The fit was perfect. With Knoxville’s musical culture and Fountain City’s “character and quaintness,” the LeGrands were right at home.
LeGrand started teaching guitar lessons from his home, but with two small children he soon sought out another space. He landed at Fountain City Art Center, located in the former Fountain City Public Library building.
“Things snowballed from there,” LeGrand said.
Close friend and fellow musician Jackie Brecheen moved to town, and demand for music lessons grew. LeGrand entered into an agreement with FCAC to lease space for music lessons and built three rooms in the art center for lessons. LeGrand Music Studios was born.
Since then, enrollment has doubled every year. LeGrand Music Studios offers almost every type of music lesson, with the variety of instruments expanding every year, too.
The instructors at LeGrand Music Studios are mindful of the service they provide to the community, not just Fountain City but surrounding areas as well.
“We enjoy teaching lessons, and we enjoy being involved with our students and watching their individual growth, and we think that is a major service in our community,” said LeGrand. “We’re just a really excited group of musicians that are happy to be doing what we’re doing. There’s a really positive energy, and we’re really excited about that.”
Now, to help growth continue, LeGrand Music Studios is planning an expansion. Existing rooms will be removed, and six or seven new rooms built along the FCAC wall closest to Broadway. The project will cost about $10,000.
There is a GoFundMe site set up to help cover costs, and the band River’s Drift recently held a fundraising performance at the FCAC. With LeGrand, Brecheen and friends Chris Brock and Julie Belanger-Roy, the band performs a combination of original pieces and traditional favorites. At the fundraiser, they focused on Celtic music.
LeGrand said attendance was good, with about 50 people in attendance. The performance was River’s Drift’s first public appearance, too.
“The recent debut of River’s Drift was nothing short of spectacular,” said FCAC director Sylvia Williams. “The four band members clearly enjoy playing together and show a complete mastery of their instruments as well as a deep commitment to their craft.”
The LeGrand Music Studios fundraising launched last week, and they’ve already raised 10 percent of their goal. River’s Drift will hold another fundraising concert sometime in early June, and they will also play at Honor Fountain City Day this Memorial Day weekend.
River’s Drift and LeGrand Music Studios are both on Facebook. River’s Drift is launching a new website at www.RiversDrift.com later this week.