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Naperville Municipal Band plays tribute to John Philip Sousa on Nov. 6


Above / The Naperville Municipal Band is set to perform “Happy Birthday, John Philip Sousa” at 3PM Sun., Nov. 6. (Remember the 2AM time change on Nov. 6. Set clocks back one hour before heading to bed Saturday night.)

PN Photo Gallery from the Nov. 6, 2022, tribute to John Philip Sousa, featuring guest trumpet soloist Staff Sergeant Christ Larios (USMC).


When the Naperville Municipal Band takes the stage on Sun., Nov. 6, the band that’s been around since 1859 with summer concerts in Central Park will begin its indoor series of seasonal concerts at Wentz Concert Hall in the North Central College Performing Arts Center.

The fall concert, timed with Veterans Day, takes on a special focus this year since it falls on the 168th anniversary of the birthdate of John Philip Sousa.

“Happy Birthday, John Philip Sousa” will begin at 3PM. Admission is free of charge.

Recently, NMB Conductor Ron Keller wrote a few notes about Sousa.

“John Philip Sousa was born on November 6, 1854, in Washington D. C. 

“He showed remarkable talent in music at an early age, but his father was afraid the young boy might run away with a local circus at the age of 16. Since his father was a member of the United States Marine Band, he put him in the band as an apprentice musician.

“When young John was 21, he left the band and went to New York and Philadelphia where he performed jobs in pit orchestras. When he was 26 he was offered the job of director of the United States Marine Band and he took it!”

Keller continued, “For the next 12 years he set about composing and arranging music for the United States Marine Band and created one of the best bands in the area. He wrote the ‘The Washington Post March’ in 1887 and it was an immediate hit.”

Young Sousa left the United States Marine Band in 1892 and formed his own professional band that became internationally well known.

“Sousa made many tours of the U. S. and also a world tour that lasted almost a year.” added Keller.

Sousa died on March 6, 1932, leaving a legacy that continues today. 

“Our audience always asks me, ‘When are you playing your Sousa concert?’” Keller said. “The Sousa name is still magic and his music is as good today as it was 100 years ago. In a list of 500 band directors of their favorite marches, five of Sousa marches are in the top ten!

“Our concert on November 6 is ‘Happy Birthday, John Philip Sousa,’ 90 years after his passing.” Keller said. “Our concert will feature a soloist from the Marine Band, an opera soloist, which was Sousa’s style, and a saxophone septet, including a bass saxophone which is very rare.”

Wentz Concert Hall on the campus of North Central College, 171 E. Chicago Avenue (PN File Photo)

The free concert takes place at the Wentz Concert Hall in the North Central College Performing Arts Center, located at 171 E. Chicago Avenue, just steps from downtown Naperville.

The Annual Holiday Concert is set for 3PM Sun., Dec. 11, also at the Wentz Concert Hall.

For more information about upcoming performances, visit www.napervilleband.org.

Stay tuned for more outside when TubaChristmas returns Dec. 10…

Note that the TubaChristmas will be played outdoors, weather permitting, at 11AM on Sat., Dec. 10, in downtown Naperville. All tuba and euphonium players are welcome to participate in the morning that begins with 9AM registration followed by 10AM rehearsal indoors at the Community Concert Center in Central Park. Click here for musician info. Save the date. The concert filled with traditional and memorable holiday tunes welcomes spectators of all ages!


Above / All ages of tuba players will perform TubaChristmas at 11AM Sat., Dec. 10, 2022, in front of US Bank on Washington at Jefferson in downtown Naperville. (PN File Photo)

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