By Rick D. Niece, Ph.D.
Five Star Publications, Inc., $15.95, 206 pages
During the presidential election, we are often bombarded with negative messages. We need to make sure to surround ourselves with positive words and thoughts. Author Rick D. Niece has written a heart-warming tale that will delight readers of all ages. The Band Plays On: Going Home for a Music Man’s Encore tells the story of Niece’s father, Lewis Niece, and his triumphant final performance in a town filled with admirers. Years after Lewis has retired from teaching, a group of his former students come together to create “Lewie’s Alumni Band” and plan a community tribute and parade over one memorable Memorial Day weekend. Most interesting is Niece’s commentary on growing up in DeGraff, Ohio, and the original poetry his scatters throughout chapters.
Niece’s story will strike a chord with different types of readers. Music fans will appreciate learning about Lewis’ life journey. Current, and former, marching band members will relate to the camaraderie felt by Mr. Lewis’ students during their time in high school. Readers who have grown up in small towns will cherish the opportunity to reminisce about traditions and the ins and outs of living in a place where you know everyone and you can return decades later to celebrate a role model. Anyone who has ever looked up to someone will enjoy reading a memoir about one man who had an impact on hundreds of young people. Readers are encouraged to think about bigger questions, like whether small-town values can exist in this fast-paced world, the importance of educators, and how memories are made and how they define us. One dollar from every book sold goes directly to the Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation. If you like the upbeat energy of Niece’s writing, check out Side-Yard Superhero, the first book in the Fanfare For A Hometown series.