So much happened in Naperville fifty years ago! One of those happenings was the dedication of a brand new band shell for the Municipal Band.
The band itself is far from new as it was established in 1859 as the Naperville Brass Band. After the end of the Civil War, the group became known as the Naperville Light Guard Band and was chartered under the current name in 1928.
The band first played downtown, preferably under a street light so they could read their music, then in a series of wooden band stands. A replica of the 1885 band stand is at the Naper Settlement. The original was torn down in the 1920’s to build a wooden band shell.
By 1963, the wooden band shell had to go. Band members started demolishing it during their final concert while playing “Anvil Chorus.”
1966 saw the band’s first season in the new cement band shell. Unfortunately, Elmer Koerner, who had led the band since it’s 1928 charter, suffered a fatal heart attack in November of ’65. A very young band teacher who had been one of Koerner’s students took over as leader: Ron Keller.
The new band shell was dedicated in June of 1966 as the Elmer Koerner Band Shell. In the year 2000, that structure was condemned and the current facility with mural-painted door was built in its place.
Keller still leads the band and tenor sax player Robert Morris, who joined the band in 1966, is still playing in it. Be sure to catch a performance this summer!