Chicago Theatre Review
Ravinia Then and Now: A personal journey
I was born November 2, 1960. This year my friends and I turn 54. Along with the day to day trials and tribulations we lost 2 close friends that have been part of our lives since childhood, This has been a year of reflecting on our past and looking back at our lives often times thinking of simpler days. Of course one of the things that always comes to mind is Ravinia. What better way to spend a glorious summer day then with good food, good friends and good music. It all began when we were in our 20’s and continued to this day. A group of old friends loaded up the cars, each having a different course to bring. With our food, our wagons, our bottles of wine and citronella candles we headed out to Ravinia, found a great spot on the lawn and spent the evening in the company of artists like Peter Paul and Mary, John Denver and James Taylor. It was the whole Ravinia experience that transformed lives and friendships.
My oldest friend of 49 years Marla passed away on May 3, 2013. The summer of 2012 we spent an evening with a few other close friends seeing Loggins and Messina. A perfect evening. These are the moments to treasure in life, these are the moments that matter.
This summer I attended two concerts, One Republic Native Summer Tour and Hall and Oates. I did things a little different, having the experience of sitting in the Pavilion. The Native Summer Tour also included The Script and American Authors. Each group took the stage for about an hour or so. While the crowd was generally younger these groups cater to all ages in their own right. One Republic was formed in 2002 by Ryan Tedder and Zach Filkins. Native is their third album released in 2013 and garned such hits as “If I lose Myself” and “Counting Stars” the bands most successful single in recent years. While each member is multi talented watching Ryan Tedder play the piano was amazing. But for me the highlight was when they sang what he calls one of his favorite songs “What a wonderful world.” A beautiful rendition full of heart and soul.
The Pavillion is an intimate setting with jumbotrons on both sides of the stage. As the band members make their way down the aisle followed by security young fans reach out to get a look or feel of their favorite artist. At the back of the Pavillion Ryan Tedder hops up on a platform and sings his heart out to the 1800 fans on the lawn. A treat for everyone no matter where you are sitting.
Hall and Oates, no strangers to Ravinia delivered as well. Hall and Oates began performing together in 1970. With such memorable hits as Private Eyes, Maneater, I Can’t go for That, and Kiss on my List, they have continued to tour to sell out crowds. Their achievements include the Songwriters Hall of Fame, #15 on Billboard magazines 100 greatest artists of all time and in April 2014 they were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. In 2007 Daryl Hall started “Live from Daryls House” reinventing himself and keeping up with the times, in a free monthly web show jamming with friends and putting it on the internet.
2 bands, one playing this venue before, one playing for the fist time. two entirely different genres of music, 2 entirely different Ravinia experiences with one thing in common, music. And each delivered the goods.
How lucky we are to have a place like Ravinia, especially when the summer months are so short and the winters can be long and harsh. If you never had the experience, I highly recommend it. If you have and your like me you will keep coming back. Its just that kind of place. A place filled with memories and a place to make new memories.
By Gayle Kirshenbam
Dedicated to Marla Minuskin and Jay Oppenheimer
For information about upcoming concerts and all Ravinia has to offer visit www.ravinia.org