I remember the first time I went to a concert at the Oneonta Teen Center. I was a sophomore at Oneonta High School, and my friends and I were so excited to spend Friday night listening to good music provided by our friends in a safe location where we could have fun away from our parents.
The first band was called Shasta Flock, composed of freshmen Cameron Bowne, Sam Huntington and Ryan Ficano, and the second was a band of seniors, named Wine Cellar.
Though the space was tight, everyone had a great time listening to original music written by both bands. At the end of the concert, dozens of kids from the audience got up on the stage with Wine Cellar and closed out the night in a way that would never have been allowed at the high school or other places where kids are allowed to hang out, few as those places are.
After such a fun time, my friends and many others continued to attend events at the Teen Center, and soon began going to concerts and other community-centered events at the Oneonta Theatre on Chestnut Street.
As a kid, I remember going to the movies at the Theatre and enjoying the antique theater’s cozy vibe, as opposed to the larger, more industrial-style movie theaters of other areas. Like many others, I was sad to see it close, but was excited when it reopened several years later, this time as a venue for concerts and other shows, which allowed community members of all ages to come together and enjoy their time in a positive atmosphere.
The Teen Center upped its game in 2011 when it was given a face-lift, which was pulled off in large part by Ian Austin and student volunteers. The new look attracted lots of new teens, who were provided a safe environment for the kids to do homework and other activities after school and on the weekends, as well as make healthy friendships where they might not have otherwise been able to do so.