A Tribute to Frank Sinatra’s 104th birthday

“Let’s make sure we move the piano back exactly how it was when we came in; we want to be sure we’re good citizens,” said Ron Hawking, as we finished our interview and photo shoot at Barrington’s White House.

Item one with Ron: the “really nice guy” part grabs you right at “Hello.” Toss in his irrepressible enthusiasm, rich baritone voice and knack for choosing musical classics that age like the finest wine, and well—hey, where can I buy a ticket?

Fortunately, that’s an easy answer—at BarringtonsWhiteHouse.com, for either of his two upcoming shows there: December 7, 7:30 p.m. and December 8, 3:00 p.m. Both shows are a special celebration of Frank Sinatra’s 104th birthday—including selections from Ron’s hit musical productions of “His Way—A Musical Tribute to Frank Sinatra” and his Grammy-Nominated album “The Song Is You.” To honor the season, he plans to include highlights from his “Home for the Holidays” Christmas show. Select numbers in his performance will also feature original NBC recordings from “His Way” (one of Chicago’s longest-running and most beloved tribute shows) mixed in seamlessly live with the performers on stage.

Ron’s been swinging it and bringing it live since his pre-school years and his television debut on the Morris B Sachs Amateur Hour. Ron’s parents, enthusiastic amateur musicians themselves (dad played trumpet, mom loved to sing), nurtured his precocious early start in entertainment. After performing with various bands through high school and college, Ron toured with the group The New Era, with whom he recorded two albums.  Returning to Chicago, Ron directed his efforts toward the recording studio. As Chicago’s commercial music producers took notice, Ron went from singing and playing with his band in nightclubs to singing in the recording studio on countless broadcast commercials for television and radio. In addition to becoming one of the “top-call” studio singers in Chicago, Ron started receiving calls from Detroit, New York, Nashville, and L.A. music producers as well, and a long-running career took full flight, a journey that’s included a role as a sports announcer in the movie “The Express” with Dennis Quaid.

To hone his performance chops even further Ron studied improvisation, first at Chicago’s Second City and later at The Neighborhood Playhouse in New York City. Returning to Chicago in 1985, he launched a new act as a singer and impressionist, which led to many years of performances at corporate events, as well as more studio work recording voiceovers for radio and television commercials. (He’s the voice on several national-brand commercials currently running.) Ron recalls that work fondly. “Each time I was in the studio recording for different products and projects it was like a new show.”

Asked for a special performance memory, Ron recalled that at both the Mercury and NBC Theaters audience members had contacted him in advance asking if they could propose to their future spouse during his concert. Both times he brought them onstage, where post-proposal the happy couples danced to Ron’s version of “I’ve Got You Under My Skin” and “The Way You Look Tonight.”

A local resident for over two decades, Ron is excited to again bring his music back to the Barrington White House in the town where his wife and both their kids grew up and went to school. Although there might not be any live proposals on stage, we trust there will be plenty of engagement going on as Ron brings his best to Barrington’s White House to celebrate Ol’ Blue Eyes.

Barringon’s White House is at 145 W. Main Street, Barrington; call 224.512.4066 for ticket info or order online at BarringtonsWhiteHouse.com.