Russell Puetz of Arlington Heights never set out to be a featured soloist when he took his seat with the Arlington Heights Community Concert Band way back in 1980. But over the years he has been a mainstay in the brass section, with his trumpet, and on Sunday he will be honored for his commitment to the ensemble over all these years.

Russell Puetz with his trusty trumpet

The concert takes place at 3 p.m. at Forest View Educational Center in Arlington Heights. Free tickets can be reserved by email at or by visiting the band’s website, at

“Yes, the band’s first organization was in November 1979, and I joined early in 1980, before they had a conductor,” Puetz says. “I’m considered the only original member left, which means that I am in my 44th year.”

To recognize Puetz, the band will play the Glory of Trumpets, a traditional military march composed by J.O. Brockenshire. It turns out the band played this same historic march back in 2005, when it celebrated its 25th anniversary.

“This unique composition was written by a military composer who created arrangements that provide for a bugle,” Puetz says. “Just as in 2005 I will play a bugle, not trumpet, for this piece Sunday. I mentioned the uniqueness of this piece to our conductor (Peter Pisello) a few months ago and to my amazement, he selected it for the program.”

The band will play Maverick March, by Scott Ostrander of Mount Prospect.

Sunday’s concert is entitled “Local Legends” and will include music composed and played by members from the Northwest suburban community, plus music that defines the Chicago area and Illinois. But Puetz and his dedication to bringing music to the community will be a focal point, which prompts the question: Why stay in it all these years?

“I enjoy playing with a diverse group of musicians,” he says simply. “I consider myself an average player who never played in college or professionally although many band members have. What distinguishes our band from other accomplished community bands is that it accepts members of varying ability.

The band will play Overture Dublin Holiday by Forrest Buchtel, Sr.

“I also find it interesting that they keep coming up with new music in part because there are always new Broadway and motion pictures from which concert band arrangements can be made,” Puetz adds. “In addition, I believe that there has been a resurgence in community bands across the nation in the last 40 years prompting new compositions for concert bands.”

Look for some of those new compositions, written by local composers, to be included in this very concert.

The band will accompany Keith Miller of Wheeling as he plays Warsaw Concerto.

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