Bach to Books

Bach to Books is the name for the Friends’-sponsored arts and humanities series offered at the library, free to the community. Artists, writers, and musicians appear at the library and share their talents.

The main goal of Bach to Books is to share a variety of programs featuring music, dance, visual arts, literature, history and more with the people of our community for their enjoyment and enlightenment. We offer these programs free to the public, so that everybody can attend. Most events are held in the auditorium in the library.

Upcoming Events

Here are our upcoming events. Also, check the Library Calendar or call (214) 509-4911 for more information about any Bach to Books performance.

Allen Community Band Spring Concert

Friday, May 17th at 7:30 PM

The Allen Community Band (ACB), under the direction of Craig Logan, concludes its Sixth Season
with its Spring Concert at 7:30 p.m. Friday, May 17 at the Allen Public Library.

The Band will honor those that have fallen in accordance with the upcoming Memorial Day Holiday by opening the concert with a traditional patriotic selection.  Following will be Music from the 10-part series, Band of Brothers, with its beautiful and almost haunting melodies.  The epic miniseries tells the story of Easy Company, 506th Regiment, of the 101st Airborne Division, U.S. Army.  An elite rifle company that parachuted into France early on D-Day morning, fought in the Battle of the Bulge and captured Hitler’s Eagle’s Nest at Berchtesgaden.

Meaning “unconquerable,” Invictus is a ponderous and dramatic march from the “King” of all march composers and it lives up to its title and sets the stage for the remainder of the concert.  It’s one of
Karl King’s most exciting circus marches!

Guest Conductor, Dr Lee Hudson takes the podium to conduct Hail to the Fleet, written by
Richard Malty for Fleet Week at the major Naval Base in Virginia.  Dr Hudson was privileged to be one of the first to perform the march as a young student musician.  A U.S. Navy Musician for 26 years, Dr. Hudson will share his background and history as it relates to the selection.

Paul Hindemith was one of the leading composers of the mid-20th Century.  His compositions range
from chamber music to full Symphonies. The Band will perform the fourth movement of
Symphonic Metamorphosis on Themes by Carl Maria von Weber.

Concluding the concert, the Band will perform John Phillip Sousa’s Stars and Stripes Forever, featuring piccolo soloist, Julie Bell.

Singapore Slingers

Friday, June 14th at 7:30 PM

Prepare for daring grooves of original jazz with The Singapore Slingers at 7:30 p.m. Friday, June 14, at the Allen Public Library.  Combining the rhythms of the 20s and 30s with the edgy energy of contemporary music, The Singapore Slingers captivates audiences with amazing fox trots, waltzes, marches, one-steps, two-steps, rags, tangos and rumbas.

For a special treat, Michele Guess and Marcela Mercer, granddaughters of the famed vocalist and actor Smith Ballew will introduce the concert.  Smith Ballew recorded the song As Time Goes By for The Columbians Dance Orchestra in 1931.  The song achieved legendary status when Sam (Dooley Wilson) performed it for the classic film Casa Blanca.  Dave Oliphant, author of Texas Jazz and Jazz Mavericks of the Lone Star State, will discuss Smith Ballew’s musical legacy via Skype.

Swing Sisters

Saturday, June 15th at 2:00 PM

Dallas Texas Gene Autry fans present Jeanne Cahill, Kristyn Cahill and Brook Wallace Deaton at 2 p.m. Saturday, June 15 at the Allen Public Library.  Exquisite harmonies, top-notch musicianship, and on-stage fun add spice to lively western tunes, country standards, cowboy poetry, western swing favorites and originals will resonate in the library’s auditorium.   entertains.

Kristyn Harris, a Texas-bred musical powerhouse, is the 3-time currently reigning International Western Music Association Entertainer of the Year (2016, 2017, 2018). Her powerful voice brought her all the way onto the 2018 season of ABC’s American Idol, where she sang and yodeled for the judges.

Jeanne Cahill the 2008 Western Music Association Instrumentalist of the Year.

Brook Wallace is a private strings teacher and contract fiddle player in the DFW area for various bands that encompass a plethora of genres.

Texas Courthouses

Thursday, June 22nd at 7:30 PM

Visit the courthouses of Texas from the comfort of the Allen Public Library’s auditorium at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, June 22.  Texas has 254 counties and each courthouse has a unique history.

From the majestic edifices of Bexar, Comal, Caldwell, Dallas and Tarrant counties to modem construction, join Allen residents John and Anne Gifford as they give a guided tour.     Hear the stories of the demise of clock towers and their resurgence.   Hudspeth County contains the only county that has an adobe exterior. When asked about their favorite courthouse, their response was unanimous-Caldwell County because of its beauty, see photograph.

Anne and John are members of the Allen Heritage Guild.  A retired school teacher, Anne is a board member of the Texas Lakes Trail and assists the Collin County Historical Society with grant writing.

America’s First Female Astronaut Wally Funk

Saturday, June 29th at 3:00 PM

Most Americans can name at least one of the Mercury 7 astronauts who were the first to fly into outer space, but what about the women who were considered for this endeavor?  Wally Funk had “the right stuff” but was denied the possibility of traveling into outer space because of her gender.

In the early 60s, 13 women endured secret tests to determine if they could become astronauts.  The Mercury 13, as they are now known, underwent and passed the same rigorous mental and physical tests as the men of Mercury 7.

Featured on the BBC, NPR and Netflix, Ms. Funk is in high demand as a speaker.  An aviator for over 63 years and a member of the Mercury 13, she will share her story 3:00 p.m. Saturday, June 29, at the Allen Public Library.

Women lobbied the White House and Congress for inclusion of women in the astronaut program, even appearing before a congressional committee. The highly respected playwright Clare Booth Luce wrote an article for LIFE magazine publicizing the Mercury 13 women and criticizing NASA.  Ms. Funk will reveal the “excuses” given as to why women could not be selected. As a result of this bias, the Soviet Union beat America in 1963 with the first woman in space, Valentina Tereshkova. This could easily have been Wally.

Viet Nam Veteran Paul Reed

Wednesday, July 3rd at 7:30 PM

Hear the harrowing combat stories and the later path to healing of Vietnam veteran Sergeant Paul Reed at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, July 3, at the Allen Public Library.  Sgt. Reed is the author of Kontum Diary, that includes a lengthy forward by the late General William Westmoreland.   Under the direction of Kevin Thomas, Plano New Horizons Band will begin the program with a medley of patriotic music.

Serving from February 1968 to February 1969, Sgt. Reed participated in horrific military campaigns in which he recalls, “the threat of venomous snakes and death from snipers were constant.”  Although he was a recipient of the Purple Heart, Bronze Star, Air Medal, Parachute Badge and the Combat Infantryman’s Badge, like many military men and women at that time, Sgt. Reed was confronted by offensive and rude comments upon returning to the United States.

A Dallas native, Sgt. Reed soon experienced classic symptoms of PTSD—depression, anxiety, alcohol abuse, relationship failures, and nightmares.   Then his mother returned a box of materials he had captured from a Vietcong soldier and left with her years before. The contents of that box—the writings of that Vietcong soldier—would change his life forever. These writings led to peace, healing, and an unlikely intercontinental friendship, featured in Kontum Diary.