Keller passes the baton at his final Naperville Municipal concert

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Concluding a remarkable 57-year tenure as the leader of the Naperville Municipal Band, director Ron Keller handed over the conductor’s baton to new director Emily Binder on Thursday, August 10th, 2023. The farewell concert was held at Downtown Naperville’s Central Park bandshell.

At the concert, Naperville’s Mayor Scott Wehrli issued a proclamation declaring August 10th as Ron Keller Day. Keller was also recognized by Illinois State Senator Laura Ellman and Illinois State Representative Janet Yang Rohr.

A Ron Keller farewell performance to remember

At his culminating concert, Keller orchestrated a selection of marches he composed, each was a tribute to Naperville’s esteemed institutions, including the American Legion Post 43 and the Naperville Jaycees.  Sharing the stage with him was his family and former students, whose musical journey he has guided over the years. Keller also performed with the band on tuba for a tuba quartet, and the concert concluded with his go-to favorite – Stars and Stripes Forever.

A guest conductor played a march dedicated to Keller, a fitting farewell to the man who has, himself, composed and conducted many marches of his own. Ann Lord acted as mistress of ceremonies and shared many anecdotes which connected each piece to Keller’s memories with the band, such as a piece highlighting the clarinet section, which Keller’s wife plays in.

The Bands legacy

For over 150 years, the Naperville Municipal Band has graced Central Park with its captivating performances. With a remarkable ensemble boasting a membership of over 100 talented individuals, the band has become a cherished tradition.  The band was the recipient of Sudler Silver Scroll Award from the John Philip Sousa Foundation in 1991.

Keller will assume his new role as Director Emeritus,  as long time band member and former assistant conductor, Emily Binder will step up and become the new leader of the band. Bill Jastrow will be the new Assistant Conductor.


Learn more about Ron Keller’s life and legacy in this story by Naperville News 17.

Watch more concerts and events covered by NCTV17.