Hey Nonny offering $1,000 top prize for Songwriting Contest

The intimate listening room at Hey Nonny in Arlington Heights has hosted a range of top-notch songwriters during its tenure including Michael McDermott, Dan Navarro, Michael Glabicki, May Erlewine, Ralph Covert, Sarah Eide, and many more. Now the highly-regarded music venue and bistro will make way for some new talent with their first songwriting contest.

"There is a wealth of talent spread across the suburbs as evidenced by the great songwriters and bands that have emerged from the area over the years," said Hey Nonny co-owner Chip Brooks. "We want to mine that talent with this event which will focus on songs about the area."

Brooks was quick to point out that this is not about parody songs or other lightweight content.

"This is a serious effort with a grand prize of $1,000 and a set on our stage," Brooks said.

There will be 2nd and 3rd place prizes of $400 and $300 for the juried contest.

"Springsteen wrote eloquently about Asbury Park and the Jersey shore, Lennon and McCartney had numerous hits about places like Penny Lane and Strawberry Fields around Liverpool, and writers like Waylon Jennings captured the heart of Texas in his lyrics. We want to uncover the stories about our little corner of the world with this contest."

The first rounds will take place September 13, 20, and 27 with the Hey Nonny staff and audience selecting from among 42 entrants. The songs must be performed live by the writer or other selected artist. The top songs will move on to the finals on October 4 where the judging will be in the capable hands of Jenny Bienemann, a published poet, author, and frequently recorded songwriter from Berwyn, Julia Miller, President of Delmark Records and a frequent recording and performing artist, and Miles Nielsen, front-man of Miles Nielsen and the Rusted Hearts, and the composer of over 100 published and recorded songs.

"The reputation of Hey Nonny as a listening room has spread far and wide in the industry," Brooks said. "Chris (co-owner Chris Dungan) and I really want to see new music come to life in this way."

The contest is being made possible in-part by sponsor Ron Wittmeyer, of the Law Offices of R.F. Wittmeyer.

Applications to enter can be found on the Hey Nonny website at The deadline for entries is August 27.

Hey Nonny is a bistro and music venue located in the heart of downtown Arlington Heights. The bistro, now under new Chef Mauro Berruti, serves an array of fresh seasonal Midwestern comfort-food-with-a-twist and a seasonally changing menu. The music venue is one of the best new "listening rooms" in the country, and hosts live music six days a week, featuring the best Chicago and touring acts playing jazz, blues, country, folk, and rock.

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