A Musical History of McHenry County

McHenry County has a rich but little-known musical history. Explore the fascinating and mysterious history of the local dance halls, the many opera houses and other venues that existed throughout the County. Trap doors, hidden tunnels and gangster connections are a part of this history along with barn dances and lavish society balls. McHenry County can claim a well-known composer, born in Marengo. Hear and sing to his music as well as the music of many other local music makers. If you are a long-time resident of the County, there will be opportunities to add your own recollections and to help add pieces to the County’s musical puzzle. If not, you will come away with new knowledge of the musical history that surrounds you.

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About the Presenter:

Mary Ellen Heelan, President of Heelan Music, has degrees in History from Saint Xavier University, in Music from DePaul University, and an MBA from Northwestern University. She is a multi-instrumentalist, proficient in piano, accordion, hammered dulcimer and many other instruments. She began her career as a History teacher and has always had a passionate interest in local history. These are the stories that don’t make the history books. If they aren’t researched and preserved, they are lost. Most local musicians had day jobs. Their music was rarely recorded and is unlikely to be remastered or uploaded to YouTube. Mary Ellen has been fortunate enough to obtain some actual recordings by local musicians. She recreates others based on her research into selections that were played and from her extensive collection of original sheet music. She is also a Board Member of the McHenry County Historical Society. Mary Ellen has presented for the McHenry County Historical Society, for numerous community organizations and retirement communities for McHenry County College.

Contact Information: For bookings, contact Mary Ellen Heelan at 630-272-3961 or email at maryellen@heelanmusic.com.

Music Therapy, Musical Presentations, Private Music Lessons,
or Music for Speical Events,
For more information: maryellen@heelanmusic.com.

Mary Ellen Heelan, Music Therapist, Board Certified, Neurologic Music Therapy
Cary Illinois | PH 630-272-3961 |