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Sunday, May 26, 2024

Beat goes on at 7:30PM Thursdays through August 10 in Central Park


Above / “The Great Concerto” mural on the big stage door on the Naperville Community Concert Center depicts many memorable moments celebrated in Central Park since 1859. This summer concert season wraps up a stellar career of Naperville Municipal Band leadership that dates back to 1966. After this season, Conductor Ron Keller will turn over his baton to Emily Binder as he assumes the role as Director Emeritus.

Naperville Municipal Band wraps up July, looks forward to August

Experience a tradition in Central Park! Conductor and Music Director Ron Keller has been leading the Naperville Municipal Band since 1966. Ann Good Lord has been Keller’s sidekick, always entertaining with historic notes about the musicians and the featured songs. (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. Guest conductor is Bill Jastrow.

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 Photo)

Emcee Ann Lord will narrate the show with her entertaining banter. For more than 65 years, the well-loved fixture of the Naperville Municipal Band has taken the stage, sometimes recalling how she started with the band when she was in high school more than 75 years ago. 

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

Naperville Municipal Band performs 7:30PM Thursdays thru Aug. 10

Naperville Noon Lions will host the bake sale on Thursday, July 27. Members also will have tickets available for the 2023 Lions Club Summer Raffle. (Photo courtesy Noon Lions Club)

July 27 / “RoVena Hungness Night” Concert dedicated to another 50-year member of the band, RoVena Hungness who plays the French horn. / Bake Sale sponsored by Naperville Noon Lions Club.

RoVena Hungness

The program dedicated to Hungness will include “The Thunderer March” and “El Capitan March” by John Philip Sousa in addition to “Autumn Leaves,” “Rhapsody in Blue,” “In the Miller Mood,” and highlights from “The Sound of Music.”

Guest Conductor Bill Jastrow will lead the band in the “William Tell Overture.” Conductor Ron Keller and Assistant Conductor Emily Binder also will lead the band during the special program that recognizes 50 years of contributions by another member of the band that’s been around since 1859.

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, under the leadership of Tracy Oliver, will perform with another area guest big band, British Buddy Alumni Big Band. / Bake Sale sponsored by Safe Haven Dog Rescue. / The British Buddy Alumni Big Band opens the show with the first three tunes, then the two big bands will alternate numbers until the finale, “C Jam Blues.”

Aug. 10 / “Prelude to Fall with ‘Thanks for the Memories’” / Bake Sale sponsored by Accelerate Climate Solutions / Note that this performance is Conductor Ron Keller’s final concert as Conductor/Music Director. The concert will include marches composed by Keller, including the “The Naperville Spirit of the Jaycees.”  And Keller likely will remind the audience that the Naperville Jaycees gave the biggest single donation, $40,000, to help build the concert center 20 years ago. In addition, “Tubaman” Keller has organized a tuba ensemble to perform “Solo Pomposo” aka “Tuba Solo” with members of the Heuer family. After this concert, a very grateful Keller, known as Naperville’s Music Man, 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 Naperville Community Concert Center, aka “Band Shell,” 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.

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.