‘A true treasure:’ Ann Lord remembered as moderator of Naperville municipal band

When Ann Lord said yes to hosting one of the Naperville Municipal Band’s summer concerts in 1957, it was on a trial basis.

Last summer, Lord stepped down as hostess after 66 years of introducing the band and their musical numbers. The 93-year-old woman, who spent much of her life in Naperville, passed away Feb. 24.

“We’ve lost a true treasure,” said band director Emily Binder. “Ann was such an incredible presence, and I’m certain that she is largely responsible for the warmth and community feeling we had at all our concerts. She was a gem.”

Lord, 93, died on Feb. 24, the day her friend and longtime Naperville Municipal Band director Ron Keller would have turned 85. Keller died in January.

“It’s incredibly sad,” Binder said. “In a month’s time, two icons have left us. They leave a huge void that we will, over time, do our best to fill.”

Friends and family remembered Lord Friday for her love of music, faith and quick wit.

“My mom pretty much faced the world with humor and love,” her son and Aurora Beacon-News journalist Steve Lord said.

“She kind of had that attitude that you can make a decision to be happy,” he added.

A graduate of Naperville High School, now known as Naperville Central High School, Ann Lord played clarinet in the band. After attending college in Iowa, she worked at KGLO television station in Mason City, Iowa. She started as an advertising copywriter and later became an on-air personality. It is there, that she met her husband, John Lord, who worked as an on-air personality, director and producer.

The couple, who were married for 54 years until John died in 2008, returned to Naperville to raise their family. It was then that Ann Lord was asked to host her first concert for the municipal band.

Through the years, Lord, who also taught speech for 20 years at Naperville North High School and one year at Naperville Central, made it her job to welcome guests to the concert, introduce the band and let audience members know a little bit about each song.

Lord’s son remembers Keller and his mother meeting before each concert to talk about each piece and write up a script of sorts for each concert. Both Keller and Lord stepped down from their respective roles at the end of the 2023 summer concert season.

“She and Ron Keller were fixtures on that stage for decades,” said Naperville Mayor Scott Wehrli, who recalls attending concerts as a child. “Watching her this past summer still announcing for the municipal band was really inspiring to see.

“We’re going to miss Ann dearly,” he added. “The way she brought the community together … she truly was a gem.”

Information about funeral and visitation services can be found at

Article Comments
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the "flag" link in the lower-right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.