Award-Winning Book by Rick D. Niece

Fanfare for a Hometown Series - Book 2

 The Band Plays On: Going Home for a Music Man's Encore  


A delightful celebration of music and memory, The Band Plays On takes readers on a poignant journey home to DeGraff, Ohio (population 900). Humor, heartbreak, and hope characterize this inviting small town, where the future of young Rickie Niece is shaped by the unwavering devotion of caring friends and family. 

About the Book

Celebrating the soul of America's heartland, The Band Plays On is Rick Niece's heartfelt tribute to friendship, community, and, most importantly, his father, Lewis Niece. When DeGraff, Ohio's beloved band teacher is invited to direct an encore performance, "Lewie's Alumni Band" gathers to celebrate with gusto. As the band practices for its final parade, Rick, his baritone in tow, reflects on treasured memories, relationships, and the legacy of a small town with indomitable spirit. The second volume in the delightful Fanfare for a Hometown series, The Band Plays On provides an entertaining, inspirational glimpse into lives richly lived — and shared. 

Publisher: Hometown Fanfare Publishing, LLC

Price: $15.95 US (paperback) 

Size: 6" x 9"

Pages: 214

ISBN: 978-0-9984082-2-4

eISBN: 978-0-9984082-3-1

Distributors: Midpoint Trade Books, Ingram, and Baker & Taylor

A Buck a Book!

One dollar for every copy of The Band Plays On  sold will go directly to Mr. Holland's Opus Foundation. More information about Mr. Holland's Opus Foundation is available at

This logo is a trademark of MHOF and is used by permission.

This logo is a trademark of MHOF and is used by permission.

"Rick Niece's memories had me giggling out loud..."

Book Reviews

5 Stars!

The Band Plays On Book

Step back in time to small-town America with author Rick Niece's "The Band Plays On," the story of a community band once again coming together in tribute of their band leader, who has also been invited back to lead the band. Lewie's Alumni Band members offer a true story of the impact one man can make on a community, whose inhabitants have spread far and wide in the intervening decades. While reminiscent of Mr. Holland's Opus, "The Band Plays On" is even more special as the people, events, and memories are true. The story hooks the reader in on the first page, prodding them back in time to a special town filled with special people, each of whom has a place in the author's memory.

Offering strangers a glimpse into small town life, Rick Niece takes readers along for a ride down memory lane, where the memories don't have to be yours to be thoroughly enjoyable. A witty delivery and sense of humor is infused throughout the book, where the author tells a heartfelt and sincere story. Nevertheless, the author refuses to take himself too seriously as he takes the reader by the hand and leads them into the three-dimensional world of DeGraff, Ohio, from the easy-going days of the 1950s to today. The people, the places, and the faces all come alive under Niece's gifted pen, creating a world for readers that is easy and enjoyable to inhabit - a world of simpler times and friendly, and sometimes quirky people.

 — Denise Stern for Readers' Favorite, Readers' Favorite Book Reviews

A Recommended Read

I highly recommend this book.

In The Band Plays On: Going Home for a Music Man's Encore by Rick D. Niece, Ph.D., the author describes DeGraff, Ohio to be a warm, inviting small town that almost anyone would want to join. After reading his delightful memoir about the town and its members, I found myself wanting be become an honorary member and go for a visit.

Dr. Niece grew up in a small town in Ohio, and reminisces about this his childhood, and the people and events that were significant to him. It is full of charming stories of a variety of people, with funny insights into a young boy's thoughts and feelings. The author has a way of creating a clear picture of what the people were like, and how a small town takes care of its own.

Having moved many times in my childhood and not having the experience of growing up in a small town or in one place, I was drawn to this story of DeGraff, Ohio. Dr. Niece's father was the band director and a teacher at the only school in DeGraff, and the story works up to a reunion with Mr. Lewie Niece coming back home to lead the band one last time. This heartwarming memoir left me feeling hopeful that there are still small communities like DeGraff, Ohio out there. The Band Plays On is a feel-good book that will inspire you to go out, smile and say hello to a neighbor. I highly recommend this book.

 — Christine Watson, Blog Critics Book Review

Five out of Five

The Band Plays On Book

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.

 — Posted in Biographies & Memoirs by editor, San Francisco & Sacramento Book Reviews

"A must-read for anyone who understands the meaning of tradition."

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