Naperville to host Sousa National Community Band
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The sounds of trumpets and tubas soon will echo through Naperville's Central Park as 116 musicians from across the country convene to form the Sousa National Community Band.
"It gives people the opportunity to see what transpires over a weekend of music-making and how people from around the country can come together to practice on a Friday evening and a Saturday morning and put on a great concert on Sunday evening," said Gerald Guilbeaux, the National Community Band coordinator.
Sponsored by an endowment from the John Philip Sousa Foundation, the group's fourth annual performance will begin at 7 p.m. Sunday, July 10.
Guilbeaux said he and National Community Band Conductor Col. John Bourgeois, the former director of the U.S. Marine Band, began discussing Naperville as a location for the performance two years ago with Naperville Municipal Band Director Ron Keller.
"I've rubbed elbows with a lot of very important people," Keller said. "And it's been very good for our band."
Keller said the event's organizers expect the annual concert to continue to grow in popularity and have targeted areas with a strong band following for its inaugural years.
Naperville, the home of the Naperville Municipal Band for 152 years, was an easy choice.
Music lovers of all ages are invited Sunday for a free evening under the stars at the Community Concert Center, 104 E. Benton Ave. in Naperville, when the Naperville Municipal Band will host the Sousa National Community Band.
"It created a lot of excitement because this facility in Central Park has a reputation outside of Naperville and people were excited to come perform in that facility," Guilbeaux said.
Featuring the music of John Philip Sousa as well as the number "American Pageant" among others, the evening will end with a performance of the classic "Stars and Stripes Forever."
Musicians from all over the country apply to be a part of the National Community Band each year and no two groups are alike. The members of the band will rehearse for only two days before showcasing their talents in what Guilbeaux calls a "testament to music education."
Also a testament is the passion with which each organizer speaks about the event and the time they have committed.
Bourgeois, a personal friend of Keller's, even agreed to arrive in Naperville two days early to help further promote the performance. He was to conduct the Naperville Municipal Band's weekly concert Thursday at the Community Concert Center.
"They're really nice people," Keller said of the Sousa Foundation musicians. "They don't have egos like you would expect them to have. They're just very nice people and I cherish my friendships with a number of them."
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