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Monday, March 20, 2023

Naperville Municipal Band is set to perform ‘1812 Overture’ on June 30


Above / The Naperville Municipal Band is always triumphant on Thursday nights! And especially during the concert when Tchaikovsky’s “1812 Overture” is performed at the Naperville Community Concert Center in Central Park to celebrate America’s birthday on the Thursday before the 4th of July. It’s a blast! (PN File Photo)

With fond memories of the annual tradition performed in Central Park to celebrate Independence Day, take note that the Naperville Municipal Band’s “Salute to America” again will ignite patriotism with a blast from the past when re-enactors portray militia beginning at 7:30PM, Thurs., June 30.

Ann Lord and Ron Keller (PN File Photo)

Loyal concert goers attend year after year to experience NMB Director Ron Keller’s conducting Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s rousing “1812 Overture,” complete with cannon firing and bells.

And again, emcee Ann Lord will enlighten the audience with narratives about how the music by the Russian composer has come to represent American patriotism on the 4th of July, the holiday when this nation celebrates the anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence from Great Britain in 1776. 

With precision timing, Civil War re-enactors perform with cannons during the 1812 Overture. (PN File Photo)

Reminiscing back to 1977, Keller said the idea to perform the “1812 Overture” came to be at the request of then-Mayor Chet Rybicki. When Keller mentioned the piece would need cannons, the mayor immediately arranged for four 105 Howitzers from a National Guard unit to accompany the band, Keller said.

Other memorable songs and marches will be performed during the annual patriotic concert that pays tribute to the occasion when 56 members of the Continental Congress representing 13 colonies signed the Declaration of Independence in 1776.

For 56 years, the award-winning Naperville Municipal Band has been under the musical direction of Conductor Keller.

Naperville native Ron Keller assumed leadership as the 21st conductor of the Naperville Municipal Band in 1966, a position he has held for 56 years! (PN File Photo)

Keller also is pleased that this week’s concert will feature his grandson, Sam, a high school sophomore, performing for the first time with the band.

“Sammy’s performance will mark the 6th generation of our family that’s played with the band,” beamed Keller.

Thursday evening, the weekly Bake Sale in the gazebo will be hosted by the Naperville League of Women Voters, offering homemade treats and beverages for sale to benefit the organization.

Be sure to arrive a little early to photograph the QR code featuring the program for the evening’s performance.

Think dinner and the show with clear skies

Either pack your own picnic basket or pre-order a box dinner to pick up from a downtown Naperville restaurant and plan to enjoy a picnic in Central Park. For example, Catch 35 is close, located at Washington and Van Buren, just steps from the entrance Central Park. And Quigley’s Irish Pub is just to the south of the park along Jefferson Ave.

Or plan to arrive in downtown early and dine at one of more than 40 eateries in downtown Naperville. Simply tell your server you have a 7:30PM date in Central Park that you don’t want to miss when the community comes together to celebrate America’s birthday with inspiring music and special effects. 

And the band plays on and on

For more info about the rich history of the Naperville Municipal Band that dates back to 1859, visit www.napervilleband.org.

Meanwhile, plan to meet family, friends and neighbors during one of the outdoor summer concerts every Thursday evening through August 11 to experience the longest-running tradition in Central Park. And concerts are free of admission charge.

Park benches are available. Many band fans bring collapsible chairs or blankets to spread out throughout the historic park.

Central Park is located at 104 E Benton Ave. in downtown Naperville, behind U.S. Bank, northeast of Washington St. and Jefferson Ave., in downtown Naperville.

Editor’s Note / Naperville Municipal Band concerts typically are very pet-friendly. Considering the expectations of a large audience and the planned timed-to-music blasts from cannons, this concert might be less than appropriate for sound-sensitive dogs that can be stressed by loud noises. Just a few words of caution…



PN Editor
PN Editor
An editor is someone who prepares content for publishing. It entered English, the American Language, via French. Its modern sense for newspapers has been around since about 1800.