Ron Onesti: Music people on the street

  • Singer Engelbert Humperdinck, right, with Arcada Theatre owner Ron Onesti.

    Singer Engelbert Humperdinck, right, with Arcada Theatre owner Ron Onesti. Courtesy of Onesti Entertainment Corp.

 
 
Posted10/1/2021 6:00 AM

I have been in the music game for a long time. It's a great biz to be in, especially in my situation, which involves literally all types of music. I can connect with pretty much anybody when the topic of music is the conduit of conversation.

I can share great moments with myriad cultures as I am also a huge fan of World Music, too!

 

It's no secret I love to cook, but I also enjoy grocery shopping. It's actually one way I take my mind off things for a few minutes. But that "getaway" is usually short-lived. As I go from aisle to aisle, perusing pasta and selecting sweet peppers, rarely is the case when someone doesn't approach me with a recollection of a great concert they attended or some other musical memory they generously share with me.

I absolutely love to walk down Memory Lane with them! I actually budget time during my shopping experience for it.

I had a beautiful lady all of 80-years-young stop me at Caputo's recently to tell me how much she enjoyed seeing Engelbert Humperdinck at The Arcada a couple years back. She said it brought her back to when she met a "long-haired" mechanic in the late '70s who looked like her "dreamboat," Engelbert. They were married for 40 years, but her husband passed away about six months before our Engelbert show. She wound up buying two tickets, but came by herself. A last "date" with her beloved husband.

If I had a dollar for every conversation I've had with people that began with, "You know who you should get at The Arcada…?" I would never have to charge for a ticket again. People regularly give me suggestions on acts they think would be "great" there.

Some are in the unreasonable category. I have had numerous requests for Lady Gaga, Barbra Streisand and Elton John. Maybe when they are on their fourth "come back" tour after retiring, they will possibly grace our stage, sponsored by Geritol.

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Some suggestions are on the opposite side of the spectrum. I can't tell you how many people hand me business cards of "The best Sinatra singer in Florida" they met at an Italian restaurant in Orlando. Or the best Beatles tribute band they saw at the "Taste of…whatever" festival.

Still, I love talking music with the folks on the street. It is something that truly brings so much joy to the hearts and souls of people at a time when it is needed most. So if we happen to cross paths in a store, at the gas station or even at the venues, don't hesitate to tell me all the ways music and live concerts has affected your life, your family's life, your friend's lives.

Music is one of the things that binds us, and at the end of the day, between vaccines, technology and other advancements, "old school" styles of music and ways to hear it will survive it all.

Now if some Big Pharma can figure out a way to put the magic of music into some capsule or in a gummy, THAT will be an advancement I can get behind!

• Ron Onesti is president and CEO of the Onesti Entertainment Corp. and The Historic Arcada Theatre in St. Charles. Celebrity questions and comments? Email ron@oshows.com.

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