Ravinia is a very unique place in that there is a such a variety of concert experiences, I am still learning more and more every summer. From the picnic on the lawn, to dining on the Park View Terrace, to Lawncierge, or sitting in reserved seating, everyone ones experience is unique.
My first select is a shot of OneRepublic's Drew Brown on guitar just as a couple stage lights crossed hitting his guitar and riccocheting off. It was a truly a spectacular moment to capture.
This photo comes from the presentation of West Side Story with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra playing the score. This iconic movie originally released in theatres in the early 60s was the soundtrack of my childhood. Seeing this movie performed by the orchestra was, for all intents and purposes, a dream come true.
This final select captures everything that it means to enjoy music under the stars at Ravinia. The Martin Theater is the only building left from the original 1904 Ravinia construction. I think this photo just speaks for itself. (Nothing on this one has been remastered)
In his selects, Patrick aims to capture the essence of the Ravinia experience. While for some that means sitting inside the pavilion, getting as close to their favorite stars as they can, for others that might mean sitting on the lawn with a picnic getting as close to their favorite people. This variety of experience is what makes Ravinia such a special venue to see a performance. Below he shares his favorite captures in no particular order.
His first selection comes from the July 21 Gavin DeGraw's concert. This photo captures the electricity in the air between Gavin and his fans!
In his next selection Patrick takes a step back from the Pavilion to show another side of the show experience. The Pavilion illumunates the bustling park as patron venture from one area to another or enjoy a glass of wine on the lawn with their friends.
In his final selection Patrick comes in a bit closer to a candlelight picnic of a group of friends just enjoying the evening together. Your Ravinia experience is really is just that YOUR experience, you define what to make it.
After a deep breath we plunge—spiraling into each day of our lives with as much fortitude and focus as we can muster. Many times we loose our way and have to reset ourselves, begin again with fresh eyes and mind. For the last 9 years, I have dedicated my Ravinia career to helping millions find that escape and rejuvenation in their lives—as music can heal all.
Often times, one thinks of a sticky floored theatre with egregious beer prices and bad sound to be an agreeable concert experience. I, on the other hand, am spoiled with the offerings of our famous lawn and any beverage I choose to bring in. This place is so much more—Ravinia changes you.
The first of my three image choices from this summer is a whimsical one. Richard Hunt, a Ravinia Life Trustee, world-famous artist and, more important, a man whom I call my friend, is pictured here interacting with a sculpture. And it’s not just any sculpture—it’s a Jaume Plensa, titled Silent Music. Plensa is an artistic visionary from Barcelona that is best known in this area for his “spitting fountains’ in Millennium Park. And while history and fame is interesting, the true value of this image is in its message: “Art can always move us.” While laying on my back in the gravel beneaththe sculpture, I gazed up and caught Richard, even with all his grey hairs, looking like a child again. He experienced a sense of delight, a sense of wonder. He was moved in a new way. If you would be so moved, visit the Plensa on the north lawn.
My second image captured the moments after two of my close friends got engaged. That night a cool mist hung over the oddly auspicious evening, and picnickers took a cuddling approach to the brisk air and light breeze. As an observer it’s an amazing scene to see so many people on the lawn with uniquely intimate experiences. For these two the evening was different. It marked one of the greatest moments in their lives—a decision to chose each other for life. And while the weak light caused grain in the photo, and the lens fogged the picture like the weather, nothing can hold back the inspiring power of true love and bliss. The atmosphere at Ravinia cultivates moments like these that can last a lifetime.
Lastly, I chose a quiet shot of the Pavilion from the perspective of the performers. Countless legends have graced this stage and looked out over a sea of energy—each seat as unique as its ticket holder. I chose this because many of us are accustomed to seeing it filled with an audience and teeming with life. I feel this picture speaks to dedication and commitment—as it is only empty for a brief while—and a space that otherwise works hard to fulfill the dreams of our audiences and our mission to sustain and preserve the most universal language in the world. This capture of silence is strikingly rare, and I prefer we keep it that way.
A while back, South Park aired a very funny episode in which one of the boys’ fathers becomes hooked on cooking shows. I can sympathize; I should be standing in front of a self-help group and declaring, “My name is John, and I am a cooking show addict.”
I think it began a few years ago when I started to do all my own cooking in an effort to lose weight. So to find new, low-carb possibilities, I started tuning in to the Food Network and its sister station, the Cooking Channel.
So far, no harm done. But for reasons I don’t fully understand, I started compulsively recording shows, editing out the commercials, and then dubbing them onto discs. Let me say upfront that I do realize how ridiculous that is, since virtually all of the shows can be viewed online. But being of a certain age, I find myself more comfortable with something solid I can actually hold—or stash away in a file box.