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Sunday, April 21, 2024

Upbeat! with the Naperville Municipal Band


For April, meet Richard (Dick) W. Pugliese, a saxophonist for the Naperville Municipal Band.

In what Naperville subdivision or other city is your home? Hobson Village in Naperville.

Where did you attend high school? Mount Saint Michael Academy, Bronx, NY.

Who inspired you to play an instrument? My Uncle Jack, Jack McGovern.

What Instrument (s) do you play? Saxophone and some trumpet.

How old when you started taking music lessons? 12. I started just after 8th grade graduation.

Do you wish you’d learned to play a different instrument? Yes.

Which one? Trombone – I have spent time on my own with my own trombone and beginner’s lesson books.

How old were you with you joined the NMB? 31.

How long have you played with the NMB? 46 years.

What’s your favorite type of music / song / theme for NMB concerts? Broadway musicals / movie themes.

What kind of music do you prefer to listen to in your car? Broadway / Favorite Pop artists like Neil Diamond, Barry Manilow, Frankie Valli and Josh Groban.

Who’s your favorite musician or singer? Barry Manilow.

When not playing music, what are your other favorite past times? Playing golf and reading historical books.

What’s your occupation or “day job,” past or present? I retired 13 years ago as a General Family Dentist.

Provide 50 words or less about the importance of music in your life.

Music, especially my years with the Naperville Municipal Band, has been a way to relax, have fun, and to enjoy time with my five daughters when they were growing up. They each learned to play instruments and I helped them at home with their practice sessions. My wife is also an excellent piano player.

A Brief note that might inspire others.

Music is an important part of learning and growing as a person. It takes intelligence, patience and, most importantly, self-discipline to learn an instrument. Ultimately, a great deal of satisfaction results when one sees the progress he makes through his efforts.

Dick Pugliese ran the weekly raffle, often with his grandchildren by his side.

I have been fortunate in the past few years to have some family members involved in the NMB’s Central Park concerts. My wife, Dee, has been the Band’s ambassador at the Band table, and has worked very hard in helping to prepare the concert raffle programs. Several of my grandkids have distributed those programs and announced the raffle events from the stage in Central Park. Great Family fun!

Rain or shine, the Pugliese family handled the welcome table where folks picked up programs, numbered for the weekly raffle when band fans could win prizes donated by local businesses. Thanks for supporting local businesses!
For years, several of Dick Pugliese’s grandchildren have been prepared to help wherever needed during Thursday evening band concerts in Central Park.


After NMB Conductor Ron Keller suggested to feature Dick Pugliese in UPBEAT!, he learned about Dick’s plans to retire from the band in order to travel with his wife, Dee. Keller was eager to recognize Pugliese’s service, especially now.

“When I joined the NMB in 1953, the baritone sax player was Harold Schrader who got in the band in 1929. Harold occupied that sax chair for 62 years before he retired. Dick Pugliese came to me and said he’d like to take Harold’s chair and switch from tenor sax to baritone sax. So somewhere in the middle 1980s, Dick took the baritone seat and has been there ever since. For 92 years, only two baritone sax players have been in the band!

“Dick has been a very loyal band member for 46 years and has served the band in several different capacities. He served two terms on the board of directors and has worked closely with the City to coordinate the raffles at each summer concert. He is another loyal band member with a very positive attitude who is a cheerleader for the band. He also drives the convertible in front of the band during parades. He will be missed,” Keller said.

Dick Pugliese led the way for the Naperville Municipal Band in the 2019 Memorial Day Parade.

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PN Ombudsman
PN Ombudsman
An ombudsman is Scandinavian in origin dating back to Viking times; and refers to a community representative; usually acting independently on behalf of an organization, body of elected officials, or civic group. Thanks Scandinavia for inventing ombudsman.


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