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.

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.

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.
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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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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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