Empowering Communities

These Millennials Defy Stereotypes

May 14, 2018

Millennials have an unfair reputation for being entitled and self-centered. But no one could say that about The Millennials, a music group from Chicago’s western and southwestern suburbs that does it all for the audience.

“I love performing,” said Michael Henehan of La Grange Park, Ill., cofounder of the band, who plays lead guitar and provides vocals. “We’re motivated by the crowd and getting them involved in the music. There’s nothing better.”

The Millennials describe their music as bringing a fresh style to rock and roll classics. Although the band’s members are college and high school age, their live repertoire features timeless rock songs written decades before they were born.

“This is the music I grew up with,” said Jonathan Tatooles from Westmont, Ill., who started the band with Henehan and plays drums. “I remember being in the car with my dad, and he’d be blasting Van Halen and Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin. I’ve loved that era of music since I was young. My parents say the only thing that would stop me from crying when I was a little kid was the song ‘Tom Sawyer’ by Rush.”

The Millennials got a big break recently when they won a contest on Facebook to play as openers at Switch on Summer, an outdoor festival hosted by ComEd and the Chicago Park District to welcome the warmer months of summer. The event centers around turning on the iconic Buckingham Fountain in Chicago’s Grant Park – a signal that the warm season will be here soon.

“We feel really honored and fortunate and want to thank everyone who voted for us,” Tatooles said. “Having the opportunity to play an event as amazing as this on a beautiful day like today – it was a blast.”

The band was joined at Switch on Summer by WGN-TV Chief Meteorologist Tom Skilling, who emceed the event, and dozens of community organizations ranging from the Chicago Blackhawks to the Shedd Aquarium. That’s not to mention the roughly 15,000 local residents and visitors who turned out to help welcome summer to Chicago.

“The show was awesome,” Henehan said. “The crowd was great. Sometimes we have to work to get people up to the stage, but people came right up to it and made us feel welcome and confident.”

Tatooles added, “Especially in Chicago, where there are so many different people from different backgrounds, it’s great to see everyone having a good time, enjoying music together.”