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Naperville Municipal Band Traditions


Over the years, and there have been quite a few since 1859, various traditions have developed within the Naperville Municipal Band. 

The "1812" Overture and 4th of July


The tradition of performing the "1812" Overture at the Fourth of July concert began in 1977. Naperville Mayor Chester Rybiki requested the "1812" Overture, one of his favorite pieces. Director Ron Keller told him that in order to play the piece, the band would need cannons. The very next day Mayor Rybiki called back: "Where and when do you need them?" he asked. He had arranged for four Howitzers from a National Guard unit!


In order to do it up right, Ron Keller then contacted the four churches within a block of Central Park and arranged to use their bells. Civil defense volunteers with walkie-talkies were positioned at each church. When the proper time came, Ron gave them a cue, and all the church bells rang for the finale. Bells, cannons and band! The tradition continues; every year at the concert closest to the 4th of July, the band plays the "1812" Overture - today with six Civil War cannons in the park.

Memorial and Labor Day Parades


A true community band, the NMB participates annually in the Naperville Memorial Day and the Labor Day "Last Fling" parades. Preceding the band is a convertible transporting band members who have played in the band 50+ years. Following the convertible is the NMB corps of twirlers, many of them children of NMB members. A color guard is composed of select band members, followed by drum major Bret Richter and the band proper.


Rain or shine, hot or cold the band is usually the first musical group in each parade lineup. Somewhere on YouTube there is a video of the 2010 parade where the rain was so heavy, the parade was canceled as it was getting started. Not having any place to take shelter the band marched (and played) onward to the Concert Center in Central Park!

Naperville's 9-11 Ceremony


Naperville was one of the first cities in America to dedicate a memorial to those who died in the September 11, 2001, attacks on America. The memorial was inspired by Naperville native Naval Commander Dan Shanower, who died in the attack on the Pentagon. Dedicated on September 11, 2003, the memorial is nestled between the DuPage River and the Naperville Municipal Center. The Naperville Municipal Band is proud to play in all 9-11 ceremonies.


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Veterans Day Ceremony


The Naperville Municipal Band is proud to support our veterans!  Each year, the Naperville Municipal Band plays in Naperville's Veterans Day Ceremony.  The NMB also performed at the unvieling of the memorial monument that honors Gold Star Families, located in Naperville's Veterans Park.

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The Star Spangled Banner


Regular Thursday evening concert goers are familiar with the opening routine: The stage door begins to rise, the explosive sound of the tympani roll, the snare drum sets the tempo and the Theme Song begins sans conductor. Ann Lord makes her appearance, welcomes everyone to the park and introduces the evening's conductor who comes onstage to conduct the National Anthem.


First time concert attendees are always a little confused when they stand to sing The Star-Spangled Banner because they can see the American flag onstage to the conductor's left. However, seasoned concert goers for decades have stood and turned around to face the flag pole in Central Park as they sing, giving the impression they've turned their back to the band and flag  on the stage! So if you are a first time concert attendee, remember to face the flag pole with the rest of the crowd!!

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