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Sunday, July 14, 2024

Cannons will blast with ‘1812 Overture’ on July 3


Join the Naperville Municipal Band for their annual Patriotic Concert beginning at 7:30PM on Wed., July 3, in Naperville’s Central Park. In celebration of Independence Day, the band will play many patriotic favorites, such as “Americans We,” “Chester” and “The Chimes of Liberty.” The Naperville Chorus will join the band in performances of “Battle Hymn of the Republic,” “God Bless America” and “America the Beautiful.”

The NMB also will play Tchaikovsky’s “1812 Overture,” a long-standing tradition of the band for more than 50 years. This selection includes the firing of up to six real cannons at specific points during the music. Neighboring church bells also will ring. The music accompanied by “booms and bells” is the highlight of the overture.

The entire family will find this magnificent musical celebration to be a memorable tribute to America’s Independence Day on the Fourth of July.

‘1812 Overture’ tradition was Mayor Chet Rybicki’s idea

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

Reminiscing back to 1977, local history reminds band fans that the idea to perform the “1812 Overture” came to be at the request of then-Mayor Chet Rybicki. When Mayor Rybicki contacted former NMB band conductor Ron Keller with the request, Keller mentioned the piece would need cannons. The mayor immediately arranged for four 105 Howitzers from a National Guard unit to accompany the band.

Under the leadership of NMB Conductor and Music Director Emily Binder as well as Associate Conductor Bill Jastrow, other memorable songs and marches will be performed during the annual patriotic concert that pays tribute to unity and the occasion when 56 members of the Continental Congress representing 13 colonies signed the Declaration of Independence in 1776.

At the conclusion of the concert to pay tribute to Independence Day, Civil War reenactors are recognized for their part in helping the audience understand and see historical figures as real people, mindful that freedom isn’t free. (PN File Photo)

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

Think dinner and the show, hope for 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, as is Gia Mia, both 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 80 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 15 to experience the longest-running tradition in Central Park. Concerts are free of admission charge and the selection of music is priceless.

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.

Be prepared for loud booms!

Editor’s Note about Independence Day Tribute Concert

Naperville Municipal Band concerts typically are very pet-friendly. Considering the expectations of a large audience and the planned timed-to-music loud blasts from cannons and accompaniment of church bells, this concert might be less than appropriate for sound-sensitive dogs that can be stressed by loud noises.

Folks of all ages sensitive to the triggers of loud sounds also are alerted to be aware of the cannon blasts. Just a few words of caution regarding this long-standing tradition in Central Park…

Even young Civil War reenactors are known to prepare for the loud cannon blasts every time the Naperville Municipal Band performs the “1812 Overture” to celebrate this nation’s “once-a-year-day,” Independence Day. (PN File Photo)

For more information about the 2024 Thursday evening season for the Naperville Municipal Band, visit www.napervilleband.org.

More music before booms with fireworks on July 4

Note also the NMB is scheduled to perform at 7:30PM, Thurs., July 4, prior to the booming and blazing fireworks at Frontier Sports Complex, 3380 Cedar Glade Drive, set to begin at 9:30PM.

The pre-show NMB concert will be under the Wagner Pavilion at the 95th Street Community Plaza, just south of the 95th Street Library.

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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.