Crackerjack Bands and Hometown Boosters Launch Party

Book Launch Party

Northfield author Joy Riggs is hosting a launch party for her new nonfiction book, Crackerjack Bands and Hometown Boosters: The Story of a Minnesota Music Man (Nodin Press). The event is open to the public and will include live music, snacks and cake, and a book signing. Books will be available for purchase on site through Content Bookstore.

In Crackerjack Bands and Hometown Boosters, Joy Riggs sets out to learn more about the life and achievements of her great-grandfather, G. Oliver Riggs — who was once considered one of the most successful directors of youth bands in the United States, but was largely forgotten after his death in 1946. She follows the careers of G. Oliver, his talented wife, Islea, and their children through times of war, peace, economic hardship and personal tragedy. She also tracks down and interviews men who performed in G. Oliver's ensembles and scours daily newspapers in Bemidji, Crookston, St. Cloud and other towns for information about his performances and rivalries. In so doing, she opens a window onto an aspect of American culture that cannot be adequately conveyed by listening to one or two John Philip Sousa marches.

Ultimately the book is a story about civic pride, community participation, and the power of music to transform lives and connect people across generations.

Joy Riggs grew up in Alexandria, Minnesota, and graduated from Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, in 1990, with a bachelor's degree in news-editorial journalism. She specializes in writing about history, travel, and parenting. Her award-winning columns, essays, and articles have appeared in numerous publications, including the Star Tribune, Minnesota Parent, Minnesota Monthly, and the Des Moines Register. She lives in Northfield, where she serves on the boards of the Vintage Band Festival and the Northfield Historical Society. For more of her writing visit