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Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Naperville Municipal Band tunes up for ‘A Salute to Illinois’ and the rest of the season


Above / The Naperville Community Concert Center, home to the Naperville Municipal Band, awaits another audience for its weekly Thursday evening summer concert through August 10, 2023.

When the big stage door goes up promptly at 7:30PM Thurs., July 20, at the Naperville Community Concert Center, the audience will be entertained with fun songs during “A Salute to Illinois,” according to Emily Binder, Assistant Director of the Naperville Municipal Band.

Conductor Ron Keller will focus on songs he’s composed during his long musical career. For one, the band will perform his original work, “The Naperville Sun March.”

Noting that he’s a staunch fan of Green Bay Packers, Keller jested that he’s agreed to lead the band in “Bear Down, Chicago Bears.”

Two guest conductors also will lead the band. Percussionist Bill Jastrow will direct “Rondo Caprice.” Neuqua Valley High School Fine Arts Department Chair Jonathan Lauff, who originally hails from Sterling, Illinois, will conduct the march titled, “The Salute to Sterling.” 

Martin Rench will add the upbeat clear sounds of his clarinet to a medley of songs made famous by Benny Goodman, known as the “King of Swing” back in the 1940s.

Binder has selected the music for the remainder of the program featuring songs related to Chicago, including a “Blue Brothers Review” as well as “September” by Earth, Wind and Fire.

All Naperville Municipal Band Concerts are open to the public and free of charge. 

And the beat goes on July 27, August 3 & August 10

Experience a tradition in Central Park! Conductor and Music Director Ron Keller has been leading the Naperville Municipal Band since 1966. (PN File Photo)

Under the leadership of Conductor and Music Director Ron Keller since 1966, the Naperville Municipal Band is set to continue performing its summer concert season at 7:30PM every Thursday through Aug. 10 in Central Park. Assistant Director is Emily Binder. The Naperville Big Band Director is Tracy Oliver.

Emily Binder, assistant conductor and tuba player, brings people together who love music, whether on stage or in the audience. Stay tuned this summer to enjoy her style and creativity. (PN File Photo)

Emcee Ann Lord will narrate the show with her entertaining banter.

As always, all concerts are free of charge and open to the public.

Ann Lord is a well-loved fixture of the Naperville Municipal Band where she has served as emcee for more than 65 years! (PN File Photo)

Naperville Municipal Band performs in Central Park / 7:30PM Thursdays

The summer of 2023 will long be remembered for grateful tributes to band members with more than 50 years of dedication to the Naperville Municipal Band. (PN Photo, July 13, 2023)

July 20 / “A Salute to Illinois” / Concert will be conducted by Emily Binder and Ron Keller with guest conductors Bill Jastrow and Jonathan Lauff. Bake Sale sponsored by Congregation Beth Shalom. 

Naperville Noon Lions will host the bake sale on Thursday, July 27. (Photo courtesy Noon Lions Club)

July 27 / “Rovena Hungness Night” Concert dedicated to another 50-year member of the band. / Bake Sale sponsored by Naperville Noon Lions Club.

During the summer season, two NMB Big Band concerts are performed in Central Park under the leadership of Tracy Oliver, a clarinetist who joined the Naperville Municipal Band in 1981. (PN Photo)

Aug. 3 / Naperville Big Band will perform with another area guest big band. / Bake Sale sponsored by Safe Haven Dog Rescue.

Aug. 10 / “Prelude to Fall” / Bake Sale sponsored by Accelerate Climate Solutions / Conductor Ron Keller’s final concert as Conductor/Music Director. After this concert, a very grateful Keller, known as Naperville’s Music Man, also will be designated Director Emeritus.

Strike up fond memories of the Naperville Municipal Band

The Naperville Municipal Band has been entertaining Naperville and the surrounding suburbs in Central Park for more than 150 years. The band has grown from a group of dedicated musicians whose vision brought them together in 1859 to its current 100-member roster. 

“Over the years it has undergone five name changes and raised money for four different band shells, 12 sets of uniforms, benches, music, and guest performers,” noted Steve Lord, earlier this summer.

The Naperville Municipal Band was established in 1859. With the Community Concert Center in Naperville’s Central Park as its home base, the award-winning band has entertained thousands of listeners most summers during its free weekly outdoor concerts.

‘Strike Up the Band’ with DuPage Symphony Orchestra July 22

For more info, including an open invitation to “Strike Up the Band,” a tribute concert to Ron Keller by the DuPage Symphony Orchestra, set for 7:30PM Sat., July 22, in Central Park, visit www.napervilleband.org.

Central Park is the home of the Naperville Community Concert Center, the building with the huge stage door featuring the Century Walk mural titled “The Great Concerto.” Park benches await audiences. Many band fans bring blankets, collapsible lawn chairs and sit-upons as well as picnics. (PN Photo)

Folks begin arriving about 7PM to mix and mingle

Benches are set. Concert-goers are welcomed to bring blankets and collapsible lawn chairs to watch from other locations throughout Central Park.

Concert themes are subject to change without notice.

Central Park is located located in the heart of downtown at 104 E. Benton Avenue​. Some folks say Central Park is behind Quigley’s Irish Pub and US Bank. Others say it’s behind the old Nichols Library, now Gia Mia Italian Restaurant.

Bake Sales sponsored by nonprofit organizations

During the Naperville Municipal Band Concert on July 13, folks purchased treats during the Bake Sale hosted by Companions Journeying Together. Every week a different nonprofit has an opportunity to raise funds. (PN Photo, July 13, 2023)

Every week a different nonprofit organization provides treats for a Bake Sale in the Gazebo. Earlier this year, groups were invited to apply to be included in a lottery for one of the 10 weeks of the summer concert season. Watch for a notice for the 2024 lottery on the NMB website in January.

Also remember to bring pocket change in support of the weekly Bake Sale.

Another thought… Many band fans and their families create a special evening in downtown Naperville on Thursday evenings. Folks head out a little early and enjoy dinner at one of downtown’s many eateries. Others place a to-go order for a picnic in Central Park.

Click here for directory listing of downtown eateries.

For more info about the Naperville Municipal Band, visit www.napervilleband.org.

Stop by Naperville Bank & Trust to see history of NMB under glass

A new exhibit inside Naperville Bank & Trust, Washington at Benton, highlights the musical career of Naperville Municipal Band Conductor Ron Keller. Stop by the bank during business hours to note “Marches, Melodies & Music,” a display of artifacts arranged by local historian Bryan Ogg that showcases Keller’s many family connections to the City band that dates back to 1859. The exhibit will be up through September 2023.

Touched by the tribute, Naperville native Ron Keller, aka Tubaman, is pictured with a printed program that aims to guide Naperville Bank & Trust visitors through the exhibit created by local historian Bryan Ogg. Three display cases feature music, instruments, vintage photos and other keepsakes that date back to 1859, all belonging to Naperville’s Music Man. (PN Photo)

More than a few times in recent weeks, the community has been enlightened regarding longtime Conductor Ron Keller’s plans to step over to become Director Emeritus of the Naperville Municipal Band at the end of this summer concert season in Central Park.

Save the date! Ron’s Retirement Reception planned Sun., Aug. 27

Kindly note a public open house welcomes the community to share memories with Ron Keller and the NMB from 2:30 to 5:30PM Sun., Aug. 27, at the Judd Kendall VFW Post, located at 908 W. Jackson Avenue. Light refreshments will be served. No gifts, please. Simply bring a card or hand-written memory that will help Naperville’s Music Man continue to tell his story. Thank you.





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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.