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  1. The ancient Chinese believed music could purify people's minds. Test that theory one yourself while enjoying traditional Chinese music with the Dallas Hua Yun Chinese Orchestra at 7:30 p.m. Friday, October 18, at the Allen Public Library. Sophia Liu will be a guest soloist. Dedicated to Sino-American cultural exchange, Dallas Hua Yun Chinese Orchestra is the most prominent Chinese music group in the DFW metroplex. Under the direction of James Wang, the band features a variety of Chinese instruments, including erhu (and its varieties gaohu, jinghu, banhu, zhonghu), pipa, guzheng, ruan series, bamboo flute, sheng, dulcimer, liuqin and others. The orchestra, which has held an annual concert at the University of Texas at Dallas since 2014, promotes Chinese traditional music education and inspires the pleasure of Chinese music with international audiences. It serves the community through many local events such as the Plano AsiaFest, Crow Museum’s Chinese Spring Festival and other venues. Born in Beijing China, the director James Wang has been performing since primary school and has been conducting orchestras since high school. 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.
  2. Civil War Living Historians of Collin County and the Allen Heritage Guild will be hosting an encampment at the Allen Heritage Village, 550 St. Mary Dr. on Saturday and Sunday, October 19th and 20th The Living Historians will set up Union and Confederate soldiers’ camps and cook meals in the fire pit. They will stage a mock court martial, perform Bugle calls, display artifacts, conduct drills for kids, demonstrate black powder shooting and have a battle skirmish once each day. There will be blacksmiths creating iron pieces and entertainment. The Heritage Village will be open to tour. This is a great opportunity to let children step back in time. Free and open to the public. These Civil War Living Historians have participated in battlefield reenactments at Gettysburg, Shiloh and Vicksburg. They have also appeared in Wishbone, Texas and National Park Service films, and the movie Gettysburg. Call 214-479-1203.
  3. Join Sharon and Tom Hudgins for a discussion about their new book, T-Bone Whacks & Caviar Snacks: Cooking with Two Texans in Siberia & the Russian Far East at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, October 17, at the Allen Public Library, 300 N. Allen Dr. Even non-cooks will enjoy the stunning photos and stories of the Asian side of Russia found in this 2018 Gourmand World Cookbook Award finalist. The first cookbook in America about the foods of this region, it is filled with fascinating food history, cultural insights, and personal stories, along with the 140 recipes. Following the program, the audience will be invited to sample Russian desserts from the cookbook. An award-winning author of five books, Sharon Hudgins has written more than 900 food-and-travel articles, including a story about her personal interview with Julia Child for Stars and Stripes. Sharon has also been a lecturer on National Geographic, Smithsonian, and Viking ocean cruises to Russia. Tom Hudgins has been teaching at Collin College since 1999 and is an accomplished cook. Both authors were professors with the University of Maryland's programs in several countries of Europe and Asia, including Russia where they lived, worked, and traveled for two years. Books will be available for signing. 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.
  4. Los Aztex Delight to the Latino Americano sound of the Grammy Award-winning Los Aztex, at 7:30 p.m. Friday, October 11, at the Allen Public Library. This six-piece group, lead by the husband and wife team of vocalist Sarah Fox and accordionist Joel Guzman, formed the nucleus and inspiration for RCA’s release of Los Super Seven, featuring Joe Ely, Freddy Fender, Flaco Jimenez, Ruben Ramos, Rick Trevino, and Los Lobos’s David Hidalgo and Cesar Rosas. With echoes of jazz, Tejano, country, salsa, R&B and rock, Los Aztex is a new breed of Latin bands whose music incorporates roots music from Puerto Rico, Cuba and Central America. The resulting bilingual blend is a unique across-the-border sound that keeps the unusual Latino and American synthesis seamless. Joel Guzman teaches at the University of Texas and directs the Tex-Mex Conjunto Ensemble. Sarah Fox uses her versatile and expressive voice like a jazz singer; twisting melody with charm. Los Aztex has performed at the House of Blues in both Los Angeles and New Orleans and The Bowery in New York, as well as The Conan O’Brian show. Sponsored by the Allen Public Library and the Texas Commission on the Arts, the concert is free. The library is located at 300 N. Allen Dr. Call 214-509-4911 for additional information.
  5. Civil War diaries offer a treasure trove for historians. Providing insights into the lifestyles and challenges that confronted people, Lucy Pier Stevens’ diary is no exception. However, Lucy’s story has an ironic twist. She was a Yankee, an Ohioan stranded in Austin County, Texas, when hostilities erupted, and returning to her home was impossible. In this volume, carefully edited by Vicki Tongate, Lucy describes life in Austin County from January 1863 through her return to Ohio in May 1865. Ms. Tongate will discuss Lucy’s life in Texas at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, October 10, at the Allen Public Library. Twenty-one-year-old Lucy Pier Stevens came to Austin County to visit family in 1859. Her aunt and uncle, Lu Merry Pier and James Bradford Pier, had settled in Stephen Austin's colony in 1835, a year before the Republic Texas was formed. Concern for the war and loss of life permeates the dairy, but deadly outbreaks of measles, typhoid and yellow fever threaten her community. The sad incidence of infant mortality was noted, and she mourns the loss of her namesake, Sallie Lu Bell. During the last months of the war, Lucy planned her return to Ohio that proved to be an adventure requiring dauntless courage. Sponsored the Allen Public Library, the program is free and copies of the book will be available for purchase. The library is located at 300 N. Allen Dr. Call 214-509-4911 for additional information
  6. This year’s Allen Folk Festival is being hosted Friday, September 27, at the Allen Public Library and features an incredible performance by Matthew Bell and the Next of Kin. The music begins at 7:30 p.m. A popular performer at diverse venues throughout North Texas such as Deep Ellum and the Frisco Rail Yard, Mathew sings straight from the heart. The beauty of folk music is its limitless ability to evolve. Matthew Bell is no exception with his eclectic style that offers a unique blend of soul music, but “maintaining the lyricism of a lot of folk songs,” observes Mathew. An original song writer, Matthew states, “The narrative became sort of the theme of my song-writing.” A band that values audience interaction, both from the stage (telling the song story) or becoming acquainted with guests after the show, bonding with guests is their goal. Combining mellow voices and a variety of instruments, Matthew Bell and the Next of Kin will deliver a mesmerizing performance that possesses a mystique and style that defy musical formula. Sponsored by the Allen Public Library, this concert is free. Call 214-509-4911 for more information.
  7. Bobbie Wygant spent more than seven decades interviewing thousands of celebrities as Dallas/Ft. Worth’s KXAS-TV Channel 5 arts and entertainment reporter. Her diverse list of icons includes Julie Andrews, Bette Davis, Dustin Hoffman, Debbie Reynolds, Denzel Washington, and Mark Hammill. Bobbie will share stories about her experiences with luminaries and discuss her book Talking to the Stars: Bobbie Wygant’s Seventy Years in Television, at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, September 19, at the Allen Public Library. Started in 1948 by publisher magnate Amon G. Carter, WBAP (now KXAS) was the first television station west of the Mississippi. Bobbie was there from the beginning. Like all members on that early Channel 5 staff, Bobbie assumed multiple tasks, including writing copy, performing live on-air skits, and presenting commercials. Her ability to connect with celebrities soon became apparent. Even though stars may assume extroverted roles on the screen, they can be shy in real life. Evoking insightful answers from reticent celebrities is a special gift Bobbie possesses. Don’t miss Bobbie’s account of a particularly tedious interview with Julie Christie. Bobbie will also reflect on her personal observations of television broadcasting as it emerged as a family-owned WBAP-TV and offer fascinating insights into today’s multi-billion-dollar industry. Sponsored by the Allen Public Library, the program is free. The library is located at 300 N. Allen Dr.
  8. Join the Allen Heritage Guild with boot stompin’ music and delicious BBQ at 6 p.m. Saturday, September 28, at the Allen Senior Center in their efforts to save the farmhouse located in the heritage village. Buy a ticket at https://www.allenheritage.org. Entertainment will be provided by The Bodarks. Combining western swing, blue grass and roots Americana, The Bodarks offer a stunning performance. Superb fiddle playing, vocals with layered harmony, and ole fashion banjo and mandolin picking produce an unforgettable evening. Tickets are $50 each. The preservation of historic buildings is a one-way street. There is no chance to renovate or to save a historic site once it’s gone. And we can never be certain what will be valued in the future. This reality brings to light the importance of locating and saving one of Allen’s last farmhouses―because once a piece of history is destroyed, it is lost forever. The Allen Senior Center is located at 451 E. St. Mary. Call 469-342-6674 for more information.
  9. Grupo Pakal offers insight and new appreciation for the highly advanced Mayan culture through festive dance rituals and elaborate ceremonial regalia. They will perform 3:00 p.m. Sunday, September 15, at the Allen Public Library, 300 N. Allen Drive. Sponsored by the library, the program is free. With a stunning wardrobe and elaborately feathered headdresses, each a handcrafted work of art, Grupo Pakal captures the essence of the advanced Mayan culture. According to ancient tradition, each unique design utilizes natural materials including leather, shell, semi-precious stones, and exotic feathers. Audiences of all ages are amazed and delighted by Grupo Pakal performances. Much of the contemporary rural population of the Yucatán Peninsula and Chiapas, in Mexico, Guatemala and Belize, is Mayan by descent. Contrary to the popular myth that the Mayan people "disappeared," millions still live in the region, and many still speak one of the Maya family of languages. Artistic director Ricardo Alarcón's training in Mayan ceremonial dance was passed down from family tradition. A descendant of the Aztec Indians of Mexico, he represented Mayan culture for more than a decade at Xcaret, Mexico’s popular ecological park located in the Mayan Riviera. Call 214-509-4911 for additional information.
  10. Talk about cool music! Nominated for four Grammys, Shake Anderson has played with or produced for a number of performers including Curtis Mayfield, Ruben Studdard and the Indigo Girls. You can hear him perform at 7:30 p.m. Friday, September 13, at the Allen Public Library. Performing in Carnegie Hall, The Apollo Theatre and Radio City Music Hall, this multi-instrumentalist, singer, songwriter and producer has also worked on numerous films. As a result, he garnered gold and platinum albums for his work on Blue Streak, Dr. Doolittle, Boys on the Side, and Austin Powers. Shake spent six years as musical director for soul music legends “The Impressions,” and later formed the Grammy-winning gospel group New Breed with Israel Houghton. Once confronting serious illnesses and spending nine months in the hospital, life has not always been easy for Shake. He observes, “Once you’ve been to the edge, the middle don’t matter.” 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.
  11. George Custer’s famed military career began during the Civil War and ended with his death at the Battle of the Little Bighorn. Although Custer is the subject of over four dozen books, the public’s perception of Custer was largely created by his widow Elizabeth “Libbie” Bacon Custer. Paula Paschal will discuss the life and legacy of Libbie Custer at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, September 12, at the Allen Public Library. George and Libbie Custer were married for 12 years, and the adoration and romantic sentiments expressed in their letters demonstrated a heightened devotion. After her husband was killed in 1876, she feared that that he was going to be blamed for the defeat and made a scapegoat. Libbie began writing articles and scheduling speaking engagements throughout the country. Her first book Boots and Saddles continues to remain a highly valued collector’s item. She even collaborated with Buffalo Bill Cody’s Wild West show that perpetuated the Custer mythology. Living until 1933, Libbie never remarried but continued to speak on her late husband’s behalf. A retired schoolteacher, Paula Paschal is a speaker at book and history clubs, including the Lakeside Browning Club. 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.
  12. Classic Country Review 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.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. But when I played Woodstock, I'll never forget that moment looking out over the hundreds of thousands of people, the sea of humanity, seeing all those people united in such a unique way. It just touched me in a way that I'll never forget. —Edgar Winter Dear Hippie…We Met at Woodstock 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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