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.

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.

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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.

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Shoot for the moon author, donovan

Shoot for the Moon

Thursday, July 11th at 7:30 PM

“Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.”  Norman Vincent Peale

This year marks the golden anniversary of when Apollo 11 landed on the moon, and people were glued to their televisions to witness this triumphant event.  On the day after Neil Armstrong became the first human to walk on this distant lunar satellite, banner headlines on newspapers around the world declared, “MAN ON MOON!!”

Hear James Donovan, author of Shoot for The Moon at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, July 11, at the Allen Public Library.  Donovan chronicles the personal, political and scientific backgrounds behind the journey for catapulting humans to the lunar surface.

Reasons for the decision to choose Neil Armstrong as the first person to descend the ladder to the moon’s surface are detailed.  Wernher von Braun’s valuable contributions in the development of Saturn rockets to carry heavy payloads into and beyond earth’s orbit led to the Apollo program.

Mike Collins, command module pilot, Apollo 11 declares, “This is the best book on Apollo that I have read.  Extensively researched and meticulously accurate, it successfully traces not only the technical highlights of the program but the contributions of the extraordinary people who made it possible.”​

James Donovan is also the author of several other books, including The Blood of Heroes and A Terrible Glory. He has been a literary agent since 1993 and resides in Dallas.

The library is located at 300 N. Allen Dr.  Sponsored by the Allen Public Library, the program is free.  Call 214-509-4911 for additional information.

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mary sorensen quartet

Mary Sorensen Quintet

Friday, July 12th at 7:30 PM

Savor the clear crystal sounds of the Mary Sorensen Jazz Quintet at 7:30 p.m. Friday, July 12, at the Allen Public Library, 300 N. Allen Dr. This group’s arrangements are lucid and light, giving ample room for an exciting evening. Band leader Mary Sorensen’s knack for deploying individual players gives improvisations distinctive character.

A singer, songwriter, teacher and composer, Mary transcends an expanse of styles both vocally and instrumentally.  Playing in a quintet affords her the freedom to scat, her favorite vocalist style.

Once opening for Grammy award-winner Faith Hill, Mary also provided background vocals for B.W. Stevenson. Formerly a soloist for a band in Wiesbaden, Germany, Mary toured extensively in Europe, including a popular jazz festival at Majorica Island in Spain.  A graduate of the University of North Texas Jazz program, Mary was featured as a guest vocal soloist and recorded with the University of North Texas One O’clock Lab Band under the directorship of Neil Slater, UNT Jazz Singers under the directorship of Paris Rutherford, and the UNT Zebras under the directorship Dan Haerle.

The library is located at 300 N. Allen Dr.  Sponsored by the Allen Public Library, the concert is free.  Call 214-509-4911 for additional information.

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last stand at ke sanh

Last Stand at Khe Sanh: The Marines’ Finest Hour in Vietnam

Thursday, July 25th at 7:30 PM

Investigative journalist, foreign correspondent and finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, Gregg Jones will discuss his book Last Stand at Khe Sanh: The U.S. Marines’ Finest Hour in Vietnam at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, July 25, at the Allen Public Library.

Gregg chronicles the story of the agonizing and deadly 77-day siege of a Marine combat base at Khe Sanh, South Vietnam, in 1968. No battle during the Viet Nam conflict received more attention on the home front. American forces fought bravely against numerically superior enemy forces, but their heroic efforts are largely forgotten.

Last Stand at Khe Sanh received the 2015 General Wallace M. Greene, Jr. Award for distinguished nonfiction from the Marine Corps Foundation. Major Robert T. Jordan, USMC (Ret.) wrote: “The result of Jones’ efforts is a classic that echoes the passion of Erich Maria Remarque’s World War I novel, All Quiet on the Western Front , Leon Uris’ Battle Cry, a World War II classic; and the intensity of the 1992 book about the Vietnam War—We Were Soldiers Once … and Young. “

The library is located at 300 N. Allen Dr. Sponsored by the Allen Public Library, the program is free. Call 214-509-4911 for additional information

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Kenny and Kasuals photo

Kenny and the Kasuals

Friday, July 26th at 7:30 PM

Are you ready to rock to the great sounds of one of Dallas’s early rock bands?  Enjoy the celebrated music of Kenny and the Kasuals at 7:30 p.m. Friday, July 26, at the Allen Public Library.   Dress up like the 1960s and one person will win a prize!

During the 1960s, Kenny and Kasuals released their singles, all of which became psychedelic classics and are now highly collectible.  At the famed Studio Club in Dallas, Kenny and the Kasuals opened for Sonny and Cher, the Rolling Stones, and the Beach Boys.

In New York City, Kenny and the Kasuals were designated to share the bill with the Beatles at Shea Stadium. In a last-minute decision, United Artists banned the group when they refused to give the label exclusive publishing rights.

Band leader Kenny Daniel was later drafted into the Army.   After returning from his deployment in Germany, Kenny and the Kasuals adopted a punk rock style.   The new band took advantage of the revival of their music by touring as openers for such acts as Pattie Smith, Iggy Pop and The Boomtown Rats.

Music historian George Gimarc observes, “How did a high school group from Dallas become one of the most sought-after garage bands in the punk rock era?  While many local combos cut 45s that were sometimes remarkable, sometimes ordinary, Kenny and The Kasuals actually crossed that barrier where few others ventured.  They cut a full-length album, which was promoted as if it were a live album from the Studio Club in Dallas. A few hundred copies were pressed up and sold and it was a dozen years later when a rising interest in garage bands got this LP on the radar of a few collectors. Mentions in music magazines fueled the fire, and soon copies of Impact were trading hands for $500 or more. Elvis Costello wanted the LP, Patti Smith wanted to meet the band when she spun thru Texas in the ‘70s and other musicians too.”

The library is located at 300 N. Allen Dr.  Sponsored by the Allen Public Library, the program is free. Call 214-509-4911 for additional information.

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buffalo soldier day

National Buffalo Soldier Day

Sunday, July 28th at 3:00 PM

Come celebrate National Buffalo Soldier Day in a free program at 3 p.m., Sunday, July 28, at the Allen Public Library. Tributes will be given for the bravery and heroism of Buffalo Soldiers that served America.

Guest speakers include: SFC Retired Terry L. Anderson, 24 years active duty, 13M Field Artillery and 79R Recruiter; SSG Retired Rodney Sparks, 20 years active duty; 1SG Clinton Warren, 23 years active duty, Company E 24 Infantry, member of Texas Buffalo Soldiers Association; and Rosieleetta Reed, 25 year member of Texas Buffalo Soldier Association.

African Americans have fought in military conflicts since the American Revolution. However, the Buffalo Soldiers, comprised of former slaves, freemen and Black Civil War soldiers, were the first to serve during peacetime. The story of the Buffalo Soldiers remains one of unsurpassed courage and patriotism and will be forever be a pivotal part of American history.

The library is located at 300 N. Allen Drive.  Sponsored by the Allen Public Library, the program is free.  Call 214.509.4911 for additional information.

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dear hippie...we met at woodstock

Dear Hippie…We Met at Woodstock

Thursday, August 15th at 7:30 PM

Dan Carlson was with the New York State Police and one of the few police officers assigned to work at the Woodstock music festival. He will recount his memories of that iconic event and how the experience affected him both personally and professionally at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, August 15, at the Allen Public Library.

Dan Carlson is the author of Dear Hippie… We Met at Woodstock: One Cop’s Memories of the 1969 Woodstock Festival.

Billed as “An Aquarian Exposition: 3 days of Peace and Music,” the 1969 Woodstock Festival was held in the tiny community of Bethel, New York, between August 15-18, 1969. Offering only the minimal infrastructure for traffic, water and sewage, concert organizers and government entities had not anticipated the prodigious crowds of over 400,000 and were overwhelmed. With inevitable chaos, New York Governor Nelson Rockefeller was prepared to summon the National Guard. However, a grassroots spirit of cooperation and collaboration between hippies and police officers averted catastrophe, ensuring three days of peace, love and music, or as some music critics declared,” An event that defined a generation.”

Sponsored by the Allen Public Library, the program is free. The library is located at 300 N. Allen Dr. Call 214-509-4911 for additional information.

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trio los vigilantes

Trio Los Vigilantes

Friday, August 16th at 7:30 PM

Trio Los Vigilantes will recreate the glory of La Epoca de Oro…The Golden Age of Latin American music and cinema at 7:30 p.m. Friday, August 16, at the Allen Public Library.

During the 1950s, Latin American music enjoyed an exciting period of heightened creativity. The Bolero garnered enormous popularity, especially those sung in three-voice harmony by the famous trios of Mexico such as Los Panchos.  Combining Spanish melodrama and sentimentality with American jazz and pop, Los Vigilantes is a rare group that sings classic songs in the tradition of the trios of old.

Inspired by his father who had his own trio in the late 50s in South Texas, Trio Los Vigilantes was organized in Austin, Texas, by Isaac Peña. When Isaac met Mexico City expatriate Luis Angel Ibáñez their mutual affinity for the Bolero became the cornerstone of Trio Los Vigilantes. Aware that the Bolero and the tradition of the Trio had faded decades ago, the two were convinced that their shared vision of nostalgia would captivate the current generation.  Both being baritones, they searched for a tenor to complete the group—a high, pure voice to carry the melody. Though not Spanish speaking, John Pointer, the passion of his voice and his command of Italian (and its similarity to Spanish) made him the ideal candidate for Trio Los Vigilantes.

Sponsored by the Allen Public Library, the concert is free.  The library is located at 300 N. Allen Dr.  Call 214-509-4911 for additional information.

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amon

AMON! The Ultimate Texan

Thursday, August 22nd at 7:30 PM

Texas history includes sagas regarding legendary giants, both real and fictional.  One of those characters of our state’s past is Amon Carter, known as Mr. Ft. Worth and the King of West Texas.  Raised in meager circumstances, Amon Carter became a publishing magnate who later created one of America’s first radio stations and one of the earliest TV stations (1948).  Amon Carter is now known as the namesake for a school in Ft. Worth, a mountain in Big Bend National Park and the Amon Carter Museum, that features one of the country’s premiere American art collections.

Dave Lieber will discuss this giant among Texans at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, August 22 at the Allen Public Library.  Dave Lieber is the author of AMON! The Ultimate Texan: The Amon Carter Story, which is also a hit play having sold out performances.

When asked why he penned this fascinating biography, Dave Lieber explains, “Even though ‘Mr. Fort Worth’ was a media tycoon (owned newspaper, then radio and TV stations), he cared more about others than himself. His identity was wrapped into making Texas better, through roads, parks, schools, hospitals, museums and so much more. My favorite quote of his – and one reason I highlight his life – is that a person can’t live off a community. They must live with it. During his 50-year run he may have teased and tortured Dallas a little too much. But he also showed generations of North Texans what it means to give and help others. The true meaning of the Ultimate Texan.”

Dave Lieber’s biography of Amon Carter will be available at the program for a library discount of twenty dollars.

Sponsored by the Allen Public Library, the program is free.  The library is located at 300 N. Allen Dr.  Call 214-509-4911 for additional information.

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city lights

Classic Country Review

Saturday, August 24th at 7:30 PM

Skip Pilgrim and the City Lights Band will present a tribute to the Grand Ole Opry at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, August 24, at the Allen Public Library.  The show will feature country favorites made famous by Ray Price, Jim Reeves, Jack Green, Johnny Cash, Ernest Tubbs, Hank Williams, Patsy Cline, Loretta Lynn and many others.

Playing the pedal steel guitar for over 45 years, Skip has performed with several Grand Ole Opry stars and was the staff steel player at the Branson Opry House in Branson, Missouri.

City Lights band members include Bobby Germany on bass guitar and lead vocals, Bob Chapman on drums and vocals, Russ Allen on lead guitar and vocals, and Jeff Pitts on keyboard.

In addition, the evening will include special guest performers Jade Flores, Dr. Bill White, Brent Frailicks, and Annette Herndon Skelton.

A pastor and recording artist, White has been performing country and gospel music for over 60 years. He will be performing the classics that his uncle, “Gentleman Jim” Reeves, made popular.

Jade Flores is a 2019 Hollywood contestant for American Idol.

A talented singer-song writer, guitarist, mandolin, and fiddle player, Brent Frailicks and his band perform at the Choctaw Casino Resort in Durant, Oklahoma.

Performing at the Red Oak Opry as soloist and backup vocalist, Annette Herndon Skelton will   sing country classics in the style of Loretta Lynn.

The library is located at 300 N.  Allen Dr. Sponsored by the Allen Public Library, the concert is free.  Call 214-509-4911.

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