Singer Sean Heffernan grew up in Arlington Heights, where he readily admits that he spent his formative years playing in and around Pioneer Park. His antics gave him ample fodder for an original song, called Pioneer Park, which last year won the first songwriting contest hosted by Hey Nonny — out of 60 submissions.

(L-R) Sean Heffernan, Tony LeWellen and Elliot Esparaza

This year, Heffernan returned to judge the contest, and often can be heard performing there.

However, at 8 p.m. on Friday, Heffernan and his band — the Sean Hef Band — will headline Peggy Kinnane’s for a show that mixes his eclectic mix of folk, country and rock with traditional Irish tunes. He’ll even blend in a few spooky numbers, considering the gig takes place on Friday the 13th.

“I’m super excited to be playing in my hometown again and performing at Peggy’s with the full band,” Heffernan says. “Growing up in Arlington Heights, I remember when the pub opened and all the excitement around it. I remember going to Peggy’s for St. Patrick’s Day each year.

“Should be a great night of Irish tunes, rock n’ roll,” he adds, “and even a few of my original tunes.”

Heffernan grew up listening to his father, Brian, play music on his guitar and mandolin. When he attended Marquette University, Heffernan started playing in coffeehouses and bars in Milwaukee. After graduation, he returned home to Chicago to study songwriting and voice at Old Town School of Folk Music, releasing his debut single “Goodnight Madame” in 2018.

And his career grew from there. What started out as a solo career now includes band members Elliot Esparaza on guitar and mandolin, Tony LeWellen on bass guitar and Bob Bechstein on drums.

Sean Heffernan with two of his children

The band has played at brew pubs and bars across the city and suburbs. In the last month alone he and his band members have played at Grandpa’s in Glenview, the 28 Mile Distilling Company in Highwood, O’s Tap in Bucktown and at Hey Nonny’s.

All this and Heffernan works full time. Since Marquette, he has made a career specializing in digital performance and content. He now works as a director of web analytics at Starcom, a global media agency in Chicago. He and his wife, Shannon, have three children and live in Glenview, where no doubt their home is filled with music.




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