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.

Homo naledi

Thursday, July 12th at 7:30 PM

Learn about the discovery of our newly unearthed human relative Homo naledi with National Geographic blogger and nature photographer John S. Mead at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, July 12, at the Allen Public Library.  Cavers first found the Homo naledi within a narrow chamber in a cave in South Africa in 2013.   Under the direction of paleontologist Dr. Lee Berger, other fossils of an unprecedented 15 individuals of Homo naledi were eventually discovered.

This discovery was announced to the world formally in September 2015 and was featured as the cover story of the October 2015 issue of National Geographic magazine.   Ever since the announcement, John has been teaching, displaying photographs, and offering virtual tours about Homo naledi to interested students and enthusiasts of all ages.

Austin Lounge Lizards

Friday, July 13th at 7:30 PM

Ever contemplated hearing the music of Frank Zappa combined with bluegrass or perhaps a fusion of Homer & Jethro and the Rolling Stones?   Become a reptilian and enjoy the music of the Austin Lounge Lizards at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, July 13 at the Allen Public Library.

The Austin Lounge Lizards are arguably the perfect pairing of their hometown’s slogan, “Live Music Capital of the World,” and its unofficial motto, “Keep Austin Weird.”   Since 1980, the group has been spoofing the topics American families try to avoid at family gatherings—subjects like politics, religion, romance, and themselves.  With unique harmonies and instrumental expertise, the band has become legendary.

Washington on the Brazos

Thursday, July 26th at 7:30 PM

Historian Richard B. McCaslin will discuss his book Washington on the Brazos: Cradle of the Texas Republic, at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, July 26, at the Allen Public Library.

The saga of the Texas Republic begins on the west side of the Brazos River at Washington when a declaration of independence was approved on March 6, 1836.  After approving this declaration of independence and constitution, the delegates fled as Santa Anna’s army approached following the downfall of the Alamo.

The government of the Republic of Texas returned to Washington in 1842. After the United States annexed Texas in 1846, Austin became the capital of the Lone Star State because of its more central location.

Tribute to the Grand Ole Opry

Saturday, July 28th 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, July 28, at the Allen Public Library.  The show will feature country favorites that have been performed on stage at The Grand Old Opry, including songs by country legends such as Ray Price, Porter Wagner, Mel Tills, Buck Owens and Patsy Cline.    

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.  Today, Skip maintains a rigorous recording, producing and performing schedule.

The Midnight Assassin

Thursday, August 16th at 7:30 PM

Throughout the ages, most murders involved robbery, monetary disputes, or romantic liaisons.  The mere thought of someone going on a rampage and brutally murdering strangers for no apparent reason was unfathomable.   This was certainly true in 1885 when the citizens of Austin, Texas, were confronted by a mysterious serial killer.

Skip Hollandsworth, the author of the New York Times Bestseller The Midnight Assassin, will discuss these Capitol crimes at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, August 16, at the Allen Public Library.

The Whiz Kids Take the Pennant: The 1950 Philadelphia Phillies

Thursday, August 23rd at 7:30 PM

Thrilling moments in baseball history are unanticipated, and the 1950 Philadelphia Phillies-—the “Whiz Kids”—were no exception.  The Phillies had been suffering a slump towards the end of the season.  Then, in an exciting Brooklyn Dodgers game that lasted ten innings during the last day of the last day of the season, the Phillies defeated the Dodgers on a three-run home run by Dick Sisler at the top of the tenth inning.  They faced the New York Yankees in the World Series.

Baseball historian C. Paul Rogers III will discuss his book The Whiz Kids Take the Pennant: The 1950 Philadelphia Phillies.  Arrive early to listen to old fashion baseball organ theatre organ music.

Dallas Banjo Band

Friday, August 24th at 7:30 PM

Although the banjo has African origins, its modern configuration is truly an American phenomenon.  Along with the fiddle, the banjo is a mainstay of American old-time music. Celebrating their twenty-ninth year, the Dallas Banjo Band appears at the Allen Public Library at 7:30 p.m. Friday, August 24.

From Dixieland to blues and rag time tunes, the Dallas Banjo Band performs a variety of musical genres.   This 20-piece band was formed in 1989 under the direction of Smokey Montgomery, formerly a banjoist with Bob Wills and the Light Crust Doughboys.  Since then, they have performed with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, Garland Symphony Orchestra and America’s Got Talent.  Their arrangements appear on the soundtrack for the film, Lugosi: Hollywood’s Dracula, and oxymoronically, their songs range from Tchaikovsky’s “Swan Lake” and Gorney’s “Brother, Can Spare A Dime?”

Denison Dam: Taming the Raging Red

Thursday, August 30th at 7:30

While fishing, boating or swimming in Lake Texoma, consider the tremendous engineering feat that was accomplished when the Denison dam was dedicated on July 1, 1944. At the time, the dam was the largest rolled-earth fill dam in the world.

View the documentary, Denison Dam – Taming the Raging Red at 7:30 p.m., Thursday, August 30, at the library. The film, produced by Gene Lenore Productions, will be introduced by Lenore. Watch the construction footage of the dam as it was being built, showing 20-foot diameter pipes which water from the lake flows through the intake structure to the power house and the Denison Dam floodgates. Colored corrected 16mm film from the 1940s and 1950s was transferred to high definition. Included in this footage are speed boat races on the lake and the
1957 flood that sent water roaring over the lake’s spillway for the first time.

Diamond Bill and Texas Anthems presented by Ken Byler

Friday, August 31st at 7:30 PM

Allen native Ken Byler shares Diamond Bill’s story, one of the most treasured tales in Texas folklore, and the history of Texas anthems at 7:30 p.m. Friday, August 31, at the Allen Public Library.   Among the songs Ken will tell the stories of include “Texas, Our Texas” and “Will You Come to the Bower?”  Ken will be accompanied by a quartet that will include a fiddle, harmonica and vocals.

Compiled by the late Texas folklorist J. Frank Dobie, Diamond Bill is the story of a man’s pet rattlesnake.  Where else but Texas would a person carry their pet rattlesnake in their satchel?   But this was no ordinary rattlesnake!  The late J. Frank Dobie taught at the University of Teas and penned over two dozen books, including Coronado’s Children and A Vaquero of the Brush Country.