My Musical Family - Joy Riggs

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A blog about my family's adventures in making and appreciating music.
Updated: 1 hour 2 min ago

Over the Moon about My Book Launch

Fri, 07/19/2019 - 4:13pm
When I chose the date for my book launch party—July 16, 2019—I hadn't considered its historic significance: it marked the 50th anniversary of the launching of Apollo 11, the spacecraft that first landed humans on the moon.

As I told the audience Tuesday evening at the Grand Event Center in Northfield, it turned out to be a fitting coincidence because I was "over the moon" about the launch of my nonfiction book Crackerjack Bands and Hometown Boosters: The Story of a Minnesota Music Man (Nodin Press). And I continue to feel like I'm floating above the ground, having the best dream of my life.

The book is about the career and legacy of my paternal great-grandfather, G. Oliver Riggs, a renowned Minnesota band director. It's also about the power of music to transform lives and connect people across generations.

#CakeGandMeThe book launch party was even more fun than I'd anticipated. The big surprise for me was the premiere of the "G. Oliver March," composed by Sam Dwyer and performed by Sam and his crackerjack band of musicians (most of whom either just graduated or are still in high school). I knew the band was going to play several numbers, but I had no idea Sam had composed a march for the occasion.

The premiere of "The G. Oliver March"It meant a lot to me to have a student group perform because one of the themes in my book is the importance of music education, and how formative it is for young people to participate in a music ensemble. I know G. Oliver would have been touched and honored by the tribute.

Steve took a video of the performance: you can watch it here.

It also meant a lot to me to have so many family members and friends attend the party. Although I'm not sure exactly how many people came—some left early, and others arrived later—my guess is the total attendance was at least 100. I do know that Content Bookstore sold 67 books at the event, which is thrilling.

I was too busy talking and signing books to think about taking pictures during the event; fortunately, several people did and shared them with me directly or on social media. Here are just a few:

Mom, Dad, Giant G, Steve, and me; #GandMe
My musical family leading the crowd in singing "Happy Birthday" to the bookCake from the Sugar Rose Bakeshop in New PragueMy next book event is tomorrow—Saturday, June 20, 2019—from 1-3 p.m. at Beagle and Wolf Books & Bindery in Park Rapids, Minn. It's also the 50th anniversary of the Apollo Lunar Module Eagle landing on the moon, with Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin aboard.

Although my visit to Park Rapids isn't a giant leap for mankind, it is my first of several out-of-town book events I've scheduled for this summer and fall, which is a big step in my life as a published author. To find out where I'm appearing, or to contact me about scheduling an appearance near you, visit my website,

Let's keep the music going!
Categories: Citizens

A Series of Book Appearances

Fri, 07/12/2019 - 6:02pm
Now that my nonfiction book Crackerjack Bands and Hometown Boosters: The Story of a Minnesota Music Man (Nodin Press) is published and out in the world, I've been working diligently to line up events where people can learn more about the book and buy signed copies.

The first big event is the book launch party, set for Tuesday, July 16, from 7-9 p.m. at the Grand Event Center, 316 Washington St., in downtown Northfield. The event is open to the public. We'll have live music, snacks, and delicious cake from the Sugar Rose Bakeshop in New Prague. Copies of the book will be available for purchase through Content Bookstore, and rumor has it that Giant G will make his debut appearance (#G&Me photo ops encouraged).

Poster by Louisa Lawler, based on a concept by Steve LawlerSebastian with Giant GI'm so excited for this event I can hardly stand it. First of all, it's taking place at the historic former Ware Auditorium (now the Grand Event Center), which opened in 1899 — around the time that my great-grandfather, G. Oliver Riggs, was establishing his musical career in a different opera house in the northern Minnesota town of Crookston (sadly, that Grand Opera House is no longer standing). Second, we'll have live music provided by a group of crackerjack student musicians. And third, did I mention the delicious cake? It will have edible frosting made to look like the cover of my book— how cool is that?

I don't recommend eating the actual book cover, pictured hereIf you can't attend the launch party but would like to order a book, don't worry. Stop in at Content Bookstore, or call or email the store and ask the friendly staff members to ship a book to you for only 99 cents (if you want it signed, let them know).

Or, you can also attend one of the other events I've lined up so far. For updated event information, visit my website,

Visiting my books at my local independent book shop, Content Bookstore
• Saturday, July 20, 1-3 p.m.: book signing at Beagle and Wolf Books & Bindery, 112 Third St. W. Park Rapids, MN

• Friday, Aug. 2 & Saturday, Aug. 3, 1-5 p.m.: book signing at the Vintage Band Festival tent in Bridge Square in downtown Northfield

• Saturday, Aug. 10, 2-4 p.m.: book signing at Cherry Street Books, 503 Broadway St. in downtown Alexandria, MN

• Thursday, Aug. 15, 6:45-7:20 p.m.: book talk/signing before the 7:30 p.m. St. Cloud Municipal Band concert in Barden Park, 720 5th Ave. S. in St. Cloud, MN

• Thursday, Sept. 26, 7-9 p.m.: book reading at Adath Jeshurun Congregation in Minnetonka, MN

• Saturday, Oct. 5, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.: book signing at the Deep Valley Book Festival, Loose Moose Saloon and Conference Center, downtown Mankato, MN

• Wednesday, Oct. 9, 9-10 a.m.: Breakfast Club presentation at the Stearns History Museum, 235 33rd Ave., St. Cloud, MN

• Saturday, Oct. 19, 2-3 p.m.: book talk/signing at Leithold Music, 116 4th St. S. in La Cross, WI

• Wednesday, Nov. 6, 3-5 p.m.: book signing at Zenith Bookstore, 318 N. Central Ave., Duluth, MN

I'm also hoping to line up an appearance soon for the Des Moines area; check my website for details.
Categories: Citizens