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RPBG’s Magical 30th at the Rhapsody Theater

 

 

Over one hundred Rogers Park Builders Group members, guests and friends gathered at the Rhapsody Theater on Morse Avenue recently for a night of magic and celebration as we commemorated our 30th anniversary.

Formerly known as the Mayne Stage, the Rhapsody Theater has retained its magnificent splendor under its new ownership, making it an ideal venue for such an auspicious occasion. The theater’s unparalleled acoustics offered me a wonderful opportunity to review our 30-year history—and not one person fell asleep during my presentation! (Though I did catch Jack Crane (CIC) nodding off for about ten seconds when I provided an overview of Year 11.)

At the conclusion of my remarks, I called to the stage four of the five previous RPBG Presidents—Michael Wallk, Marty Max, John Brauc and Allen Smith—for the annual presentation of the RPBG Presidents’ Award (RPBG founder Paul Goguen was last seen twelve years ago at his Sedona, Arizona, home).

The Presidents’ Award recognizes an RPBG member for contributions that he or she has made to the RPBG and/or the Rogers Park community. Previous honorees include Angie Maurello, Tom Heineman, Al Goldberg, Steve Cain, Jay Johnson and Carla Price.

This year’s winner was our dear friend, developer and property owner Ibrahim Shihadeh, founder and guiding spirit of Creative Designs Builders, a firm which, among many enterprises, owns and manages apartments and other real estate assets throughout Chicago.

Ibrahim, flanked by his son, Tameem (right), and RPBG Director Rich Aronson.

Two of Ibrahim’s longtime friends, RPBG Director Al Goldberg and former Evanston Alderman Ann Rainey, recalled how Ibrahim acquired challenged buildings that others had given up on, and through diligence and hard work, stabilized those assets and made them crown jewels of their neighborhoods.

Ibrahim is a true American success story. He arrived in our country in 1969 from his home in the war-torn West Bank, with literally nothing but the clothes on his back, and through hard work, talent and perseverance, succeeded beyond his wildest dreams.

The Rogers Park Builders Group is proud to honor Ibrahim for his pivotal role in revitalizing Rogers Park and South Evanston, and we are deeply honored to include him as a member of our Board of Directors.

Following the presentation of Ibrahim’s award, we showed a 15-minute video that showcased one of our organization’s greatest moments. There was not a dry eye in the house. I urge you to watch the video on our website, www.rpbg.org. But no fast forwarding to the end! Savor the entire video and learn more about the significance of RPBG accomplishments through the years.

Finally, Ricardo Rosenkranz, co-owner of the Rhapsody Theater, and a professional magician (as well as a pediatric physician), delighted the audience with an entertaining and magical performance—an act that will be sure to captivate you when you visit this wonderful venue. We are all still marveling at how he retrieved the Queen of Spades that I pulled from the deck!

We encourage you to check out the amazing Rhapsody Theater WEBSITE and their schedule of upcoming events—magic, music and more!

 

 

 

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