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Ron Onesti, owner of the Arcada Theatre in St. Charles.
Courtesy of JimSummariaphoto.com
Ron Onesti: No my friends, Thank YOU!
Posted Nov 25, 2021 6:00 AM
Thanksgiving is the time that I, like so many others do this time of year, truly take a few steps back and reflect upon the blessings in my life. This year, MAN, this will be hard to do!Still, I have been blessed with so much up until the pandemic hit. I feel there’s still a bit of credit left in the “count your blessings” department.The vintage-venue Arcada Theatre is flourishing, and as the No. 1 live music venue in the Midwest, no other place features more classic acts from the 1960s, ’70s and ’80s than we do! And we have featured more Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Famers on our historic stage than almost any other venue in the country. We are so humbled.We here at The Arcada have a unique opportunity to, in our own little way, affect the lives of hundreds, sometimes thousands, of people each week. Think about it … in every 900-guest audience, at least one person has recently lost a loved one, lost a job, argued with a boss or spouse, or just had a bad day. We feel we have a responsibility to lift those people up, take them away from it all, even if it is for just a couple of hours. We want to make their day just a bit better.The other day, I received an email from a caretaker of a young man with a horribly debilitating disease who is bound to a wheelchair. This young music lover cannot readily communicate, can’t really change his facial expressions and can hardly move in his chair. Yet, he loves coming by us. His caretaker says he can feel the music, and he loves our place.“He looks forward to your hug when he comes by you,” the caretaker said. “His face truly lights up when he sees you.”“It’s all about the music and the magic of The Arcada,” I said.In his letter, he stated they attempted to go to a concert at a larger venue downtown. They went on to describe a horribly difficult time they had at this show. “It was a cold experience and they treated us terribly. It wasn’t like being at The Arcada. We feel like family there, and he is treated as if he had no disability,” he wrote. What a wonderful trophy to have, I thought.One of my favorite things to see at the shows is an adult exposing a child to the classic music of the ’60s, ’70s and 80s. To see a dad with his 12-year-old son sporting a Led Zeppelin T-shirt, or a mom and her two young daughters enjoying Pat Benatar together — it really warms my heart!Here’s another one: When someone brings their aging parent to a show that the adult child wouldn’t normally attend, yet they are there just to share an experience with their older loved one. When we do our Sinatra shows, our Glenn Miller Orchestra dances or our Fifties Sock Hops, it really warms our hearts when a customer of ours introduces us to his or her 75-year-old parent, while they dance together. Magical.We also get quite a few people at our place sharing a romantic date night, sometimes a first date or a 20th anniversary. The music really becomes the catalyst for a fabulous evening, something that greatly contributes to the health of a good relationship. And I can’t tell you how many engagements have happened during our shows! Pretty powerful stuff, when you think about it.One night a few years ago, just before a show was to start, I was making my usual rounds welcoming guests throughout the audience when I happened upon a young man sitting in the front row with his dad. He was 12 years old, and he was at a Neil Sedaka concert!

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