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Moments of Happiness

Moments of Happiness Book Cover
Community Rooms 301 & 302

When Mike Leckrone retired as director of bands at the University of Wisconsin in 2019, he had served in that role for an astonishing fifty years. A brilliant showman, he became known for aerial entries and sequined outfits. He created the Fifth Quarter celebration that follows all home football games, removed barriers for women to march in the band, and established regular appearances at Camp Randall by special-needs high school musicians. Above all, Leckrone has always sought joy in life—which, along with his sixty-year love affair with his late wife, UW “band mom” Phyllis Leckrone, was perhaps the secret to his remarkable career. A consummate musician, as both a trumpeter and an arranger, Leckrone remains an outstanding raconteur—a talent beautifully on display in his long-awaited memoir. 

This book is the next best thing to sitting down with this master storyteller. Coauthor Doug Moe captures the joys of performing—whether at Camp Randall, in the Kohl Center, or along the Rose Bowl Parade route. Reading Leckrone’s story, one comes to understand the mix of discipline, showmanship, work ethic, warmth, toughness, wit, and musical skill that make him a Wisconsin treasure. Even for people who know Leckrone, Moments of Happiness details the stories behind the highlights and the unglamorous work that made his accomplishments possible. It both cements his legend and offers unprecedented insights into a career that will never be equaled.

French Girl

French Girl Book Cover
Community Room 301 & 302

Filled with bold, expressive drawings, French Girl is a graphic memoir told in seventeen connected stories of childhood, girlhood, sisterhood, and motherhood. A slightly surreal real—a broken back, front yard mausoleums, Napoleon, Bourbon, war, and breasts—is intercut with the fantastic—a dream of flight, a guardian wolf, a menacing Jack Frost on a frozen lake—as this technicolor work takes us from an Emperor’s bed in Fontainebleau to a hypnotic Florida with citrus groves full of thorns and rockets blasting off for the moon. French Girl vividly, viscerally unsnarls the love and pain that passes between generations of women as it leads the reader, as if in a fairy tale, into the forest, through dark depths and into light.