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Thursday, March 23, 2023

Upbeat! with the Naperville Municipal Band


For December, take a peek of the recent Naperville Municipal Band Fall Concert, onstage at the Wentz Concert Hall at the Fine Art Center. Under the leadership of Conductor/Music Director Ron Keller and Assistant Conductors René R. Rosas and Emily Binder, musicians performed their first indoor concert season in two years, with narration by Emcee Ann Lord. The band that’s been around since 1859 has been rehearsing for its indoor performance schedule now through the spring.

When and where will they perform? The Naperville Municipal Band will perform its Holiday Concert at 3PM Sun., Dec., 19, at the Wentz Concert Hall at the Fine Arts Center, 141 E. Chicago Ave., on the campus of North Central College. The concert is open to the public and free of charge. Arrive in advance.

What are protocols? Please note that all audience attendees are required to wear a face mask throughout the performance.

Santa is scheduled to appear at the NMB Holiday Concert. An audience sing-along also is on the program with lots of Christmas cheer and glad tidings.

Any chance the NMB will host the Tuba Christmas this year? No. However, a tuba ensemble will perform at the Holiday Concert.

Is the NMB planning an indoor Winter Concert? Yes. The NMB Winter Concert currently is set for 3PM Sun., March 20, at The Wentz.

When did the Naperville Municipal Band go “year-round”? The first Winter Concert was performed with the Naperville Central High School Band at Pfeiffer Hall in January 1969. The performance was such a welcomed event that it packed Pfeiffer Hall. Afterward, the NMB Board of Directors voted to continue Winter Concerts. “You have to work toward something, so having indoor concerts made us better,” Keller notes. Every few years another indoor concert was added to the schedule. Today, the NMB performs as a year-round band, with four indoor concerts a year.

Conductor Ron Keller and clarinetist/pianist Vicki Keller celebrated the 160th anniversary of the Naperville Municipal Band during a trip down Memory Lane with band members during festivities at the Judd Kendall VFW Post in February 2019. (PN File Photo)

Just curious, are any of the band members married to each other? For starters, Conductor Ron Keller, the 13th director and music director of the band since 1966, first performed with the band in 1953-54. Ron is married to Vicki Keller who has played clarinet with the NMB since 1969. Assistant Conductor Emily (Sykora) Binder who also plays tuba is married to Bob Binder who plays trumpet.

According to Keller, five additional couples are married in the NMB. Christine Caryl plays saxophone and husband Ron Caryl plays trombone. Katie (Bost) Heuer and Ty Heuer both play tubas. Jennifer (Siracusa) Scarborough plays clarinet while her husband, Tom Scarborough plays percussion. Patricia Smith and Chuck Smith both play clarinets. Sharon (Aldana) Oliver plays flute while her husband Tracy Oliver plays clarinet. Tracy Oliver also is the Director of the Naperville Big Band.

Keller added that twins Brian Beerman and Dan Beerman also are members of the NMB. Brian plays Contra-bass clarinet while Dan plays trumpet.

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.