If you’ve ever been to a Naperville Municipal Band summer time performance then you know Ann Lord.
The band’s summer concert series wouldn’t be the same without Ann as their Mistress of Ceremonies, hosting in-between each song and enjoying the show along with the audience.
On January 18th 2021, Ann turned 90 and 75 of those 90 years have been spent with the local band dating back to when she was in high school.
“And so it would’ve been in my sophomore year that I started playing my clarinet with the city band,” said Ann Lord Mistress of Ceremonies with the Naperville Municipal Band.
Ann Lord, the Mistress of Ceremonies
Ann moved from musician to Mistress of Ceremonies, a role she’s been doing for 62 years, while working along side Band Director and close friend Ron Keller.
“She always was able to take the program, learn about the composers that wrote the music and research them and then she’d kind of weave the whole thing into kind of a script for the concert and she’s really good at that. The two of us have worked together in that way, for 55 years,” said Ron Keller, Director of the Naperville Municipal Band.
But Ann and Ron go back farther than the band, and have known each other since they were childhood neighbors. Which prompted Ron and the rest of the band to do something special for Ann’s 90th birthday.
The band put out a message asking for birthday wishes to be sent to their P.O. Box so they could surprise Ann with an outpouring of community love. Which they did, as Napervillians sent Ann nearly 100 happy birthday cards. A “thank you” for bringing the community together and hosting summertime band concerts for over six decades, with her infectious laugh just as much a part of the show as the music itself.
“You’ve worked all day, let’s say, you’ve come just to relax, listen to good music, well-played which it is. I think they enjoy that, it’s just kind of sit back and relax and enjoy the music which is what they do,” said Lord.
The Band Plays On!
And though the summer concert season didn’t happen in 2020 due to the pandemic, the band is optimistic about performing in the future with Ann hosting as always, still going strong at 90.
“When she does decide to retire, which will be tough on all of us, she will leave a legacy for whoever takes over her job,” said Ron Keller.
Ann Lord seems to have a knack for bringing the community together, for 62 years hosting band concerts, and for her 90th birthday.
“So if you have to be 90 that’s something that’s worthwhile.” said Ann Lord.
Naperville News 17’s Ryan Skryd reports.
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