Last year's Highway Life Music Festival at Campton Township's Poynor Park raised about $1,500 for HorsePower Therapeutic Riding, a nonprofit organization that provides therapeutic horseback riding lessons to children and adults with disabilities.
While this year's festival was not held because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, plans are to do a virtual concert featuring Matthew Janecek and his band The Western Sage. The virtual concert would be held at Janecek's home in The Windings of Ferson Creek subdivision near St. Charles.
"We are thinking about doing it here, having a virtual concert," said Janecek, who grew up in St. Charles. His dad started custom home builder Janecek Builders.
The band's second album, "Texas Hurricane," is now available on Spotify. Janecek owns property in Texas and also has relatives there.
"I still have an uncle down there who's a real cowboy," he said. "He's 77 now and he's still ranching."
Janecek and his band is currently working on a third album, which he said will be more spiritually based in nature.
"I'm just kind of going with whatever emotion at the time is running on high energy," he said. "Right now in this world, we're all sort of in the same boat of craziness and everybody's got to deal with it."
With his band not been able to perform much these days because of the pandemic, he has been writing more.
"That's when I go into writing mode, when there's down time," Janecek said.
Janecek, who teaches U.S. history at Glenbard South High School in Glen Ellyn, also recently started teaching history classes online through his website, MrJ-USA.com.
"I want them to understand the issues and how to navigate the issues and how to process a lot of that information," he said. "I just wanted to provide a forum where it's more like a open, Socratic discussion. And kids can ask questions and I can fill comfortable connecting past to present."
And he tries to convey to his students the value of learning about history.
"One of the things I tell the kids a lot at school is if you know the past, you'll understand the present, but more importantly, you'll be able to predict the future," Janecek said.