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.

Johanna July

Johanna July

Saturday, February 9th at 3:00 PM

RosieLeetta “Lee” Reed portrays Johanna July, a black Seminole who served as a scout and translator, at 3:00 p.m. Saturday, February 9, at the Allen Public Library.  The program is free.

Johanna July was born in Nacimiento de Los Negros, the settlement established in Northern Mexico following the emigration of Indian and black Seminoles from Indian Territory.   During the 1870s, the U.S. Army desperately needed translators and scouts who were familiar with the border country. To achieve this, they convinced Black Seminoles to come to Eagle Pass, Texas. After moving here, Johanna July learned to tame horses and herd the family’s goats and cattle.

With the death of her father, she worked the stock as well as tamed wild horses for the U.S. Army and area ranchers. She died shortly after World War II ended and is buried in the Brackettville Seminole Cemetery.

Shelley Carroll Quartet

Shelley Carrol Quartet

Friday, February 15th at 7:30 PM

Swing to the lively jazz music of the Shelley Carrol Quartet at 7:30 p.m. Friday, February 15, at the Allen Public Library.    A staple in the Dallas area jazz scene and worldwide, Shelley Carrol performs with the Duke Ellington big band as well as on his own.  He has also recorded and or performed with Maureen McGovern, Tony Bennet, Nancy Wilson, Sheryl Crow and a host of others. Don’t miss this great night of music.

Once a student of the legendary Texas Tenor greats Arnett Cobb and Don Wilkerson, Shelley attended the University of North Texas, where he earned a spot in the Grammy Nominated One O’clock Lab Band. During the same period, Shelley was invited to join the Duke Ellington Orchestra by acclaimed trumpeter Barry Lee Hall.

Shelley Carrol released his CD I Heard That in 2013.

Private Jeff Morgan Tucker

Private Jeff Morgan Tucker

Sunday, February, 17th at 3:00 PM

The name Jeff Morgan Tucker does not appear in the numerous articles and books written about America’s involvement during World War I.  In 2017, Collin County Historical Society volunteer and genealogist Kristin Spalding uncovered information about Private Jeff Morgan Tucker from an old McKinney Courier-Gazette newspaper article and learned that he was the first black soldier to be returned to Collin County from the war.

Hear about Private Jeff Tucker and other African American doughboys from Spalding at 3:00 p.m. Sunday, February 17 at the Allen Public Library.

Private Tucker was born and raised in McKinney and was living in Greenville at the time of his enlistment. He served from Oct. 23, 1918, until Dec. 19 of that same year when he died of pneumonia. His mother, Susie Daniels, was notified of his death.  When he was brought home to Collin County, Tucker was buried at Ross Cemetery, the county’s segregated graveyard.  While completing her research, Kristin was confronted with a daunting fact—this fallen soldier did not have a marker on his grave.  A genealogist, Kristin observed, “I thought that was something that needed to happen – he needed to have a grave marker.”

LoraMarie Bernard

Counterfeit Prince of Old Texas

Sunday, February 24th at 3:00 PM

Hear the fascinating saga of swindler and slave smuggler Monroe Edwards from author Lora-Mare Bernard at 3:00 p.m. Sunday, February 24, at the Allen Public Library.

After Edwards died in Sing Sing prison in 1847, penny dreadfuls memorialized him as the most celebrated American forger in history.  Bernard unravels the unbelievable story of one of the most notorious criminal adventurers ever to set foot on the soil of the Lone Star State.

Monroe Edwards’ contributions to Texas settlement, revolution, and annexation were sadly funded by his activities as a slave smuggler.   Discovering new information on the Texas slave trade, Lora-Marie will discuss the slavery and the transfer of cash from its origins in Africa to the Caribbean and then to Texas.

The Milams

Ben Milam, Freedom Fighter

Thursday, March 14th at 7:30 PM

Most Texans are familiar with the contributions by Davy Crocket, William Travis and Jim Bowie to the Texas independence movement, but Ben Milam’s role is less well known.  Join three collateral descendants of Ben Milam portray his life through music and drama at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, March 14 at the Allen Public Library.

A soldier and trader from Kentucky, Ben Milam was fluent in Spanish and helped the Mexican army in their efforts to secure freedom from Spain.  He served as a leader of the Texas independence movement during the 1830s. In December 1835, when some leaders of the rebellious Texas forces wanted to delay a planned attack on a Mexican army camped at San Antonio until after the winter, Milam vehemently disagreed. He urged other members of the Texas volunteers to instead join him in a surprise attack: “Who will go with old Ben Milam into San Antonio?” The attack succeeded, but Ben Milam was killed by a sniper’s bullet.

Celtic Rock Band Cleghorn

Celtic Rock Band Cleghorn

Friday March 15th at 7:30 PM

Cleghorn blends original folk/rock songwriting with high energy Celtic fiddle and bagpipe tunes at 7:30 p.m. Friday, March 15, at the Allen Public Library. This father-son team features Texas southern rock with Celtic melodies. Original songwriting and high energy shows are among the band’s most appreciated talents.

The performances of Cleghorn have enamored audiences at the North Texas Irish Festival, Austin Celtic Festival, State Fair of Texas, Texas Scottish Festival and more.  Dylan and John have been acclaimed as charismatic performers who even go as far as leaving the stage to play among the crowd during their concerts.

Alexander Hamilton Portrait by John Trumbull

Alexander Hamiton

Thursday, March 28th at 7:30 PM

Alexander Hamilton was a statesman and visionary whose life continues to shape America today. The Allen Public Library will feature a presentation by Dr. Edward Countryman discussing this founding father at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, March 28.

Dr. Countryman will examine Hamilton’s role during the Revolutionary War and Founding period (1774-1804).  The Sons of the American Revolution Color Guard will be in colonial costume to present the flag

Hamilton rose from an orphaned, 15-year-old West Indies immigrant to George Washington’s war time aide, and at age 32, our nation’s first Secretary of the Treasury.  Hamilton championed four causes — ratification of the constitution, the abolition of slavery, and creation of both the New York Stock Exchange and National Bank.  Alexander Hamilton’s efforts led to his picture being on the ten-dollar bill. Today, many most remember him for the duel with Aaron Burr that led to his death.