Author Joy at Little Joy

Jan 16 2020 6:00 pm
Jan 16 2020 8:00 pm
Little Joy Coffee, 300 Division St. S.

Local author Joy Riggs will read from and sign copies of her nonfiction book, Crackerjack Bands and Hometown Boosters: The Story of a Minnesota Music Man, on Thursday, Jan. 16, from 6 to 8 p.m. at Little Joy Coffee, 300 Division St. S. in Northfield.

Free finger food and brewed coffee will be served, and specialty coffee drinks will be available for purchase, including a book-themed drink created for the event.

The book is a biography of the author’s paternal great-grandfather, G. Oliver Riggs, who directed bands in numerous cities including Crookston, Bemidji, and St. Cloud, and was reputed to be one of the most successful directors of youth bands in the United States. But after his death in 1946, few people outside of St. Cloud remembered his name or his reputation for building highly disciplined ensembles while instilling several generations of young performers with a love for music and a commitment to play well.

In the book, Joy Riggs writes about the achievements of her great-grandfather, his wife, Islea, and their children through times of war, peace, economic hardship and personal tragedy. She tracks down and interviews people who performed in G. Oliver’s ensembles, and scours small town newspapers for information about his movements, performances and rivalries. Ultimately the book is a story about civic pride, community participation, and the power of music to transform lives and connect people across generations.

Copies of the book can be purchased at the event. It's also available at Content Bookstore and the Northfield Historical Society Museum store.