Having grown up in Abilene, I hold this city close to my heart. When people claim there is nothing to do in this town I am often perplexed. Take a look over just some of the events you can enjoy in Abilene the next few days. An award winning exhibit to be shown in Abilene as a one-time Texas stop? Yep. Talented local entertainment from three respected universities? Sure. A play inspired by Abilene on West Texas history? Of course. Local youths performing before touring internationally? No, there is always something to do in Abilene: let our town inspire you like it does for others.

Our three universities are offering some spectacular entertainment the next few days. First up, McMurry University Dinner Theatre brings you “The Game of Love and Chance,” a romantic comedy about a high-spirited and well born young woman who is concerned about her upcoming, arranged, marriage. She drops in on her unknowing fiancée as her maid and makes her maid pretend to be her; little does she know her fiancée has taken the same precaution with his own servant. Watch the sentimental education unfold between these comedic desperadoes. Call the box office for ticket information: 325-793-3889. Show times are Thursday, February 23, 2012 – Saturday, February 25, 2012. Dinner starts at 6:30 p.m.; show begins at 7:30 p.m. at McMurry University in the Amy Graves Ryan Fine Arts Little Theatre

HSU Theater presents international playwright Shauna Kaners original play, “Birds on a Wire” in the Van Ellis Theatre. Kaners was inspired to write this play after spending time in Abilene while directing a play. Focusing on the grit and resilience of a west Texas family who had the fortitude to stay right where they were, despite the hard times of the Dust Bowl and an impending foreclosure. Show times are 7 pm Thursday thru Saturday and 2:30 pm on Sunday.  Call 325-670-1405 to buy tickets.

Abilene Christian University will perform the family friendly Wind Ensemble concert in the Cullen Auditorium Friday at 7:30 pm before leaving to go on tour. The ensemble will tour Brazil during their spring break for a week of music and service. The concert will feature the music of Leonard Bernstein, George Gershwin, Scott Joplin and more. Admission is free. To learn more about their trip, visit http://www.acu.edu/academics/cas/music/calendar.html.

The Giant 3-Ring Circus is marching into the Taylor County Expo Center Coliseum. From the opening act to the final turns of the animals, clowns and performing artists, the magic of the circus enchants spectators of all ages. Share your memories or make new ones at the circus! Call the expo Center at 325-677-4376 or visit http:/circusgatti.simpletix.com/Event/189/Abilene-TX/ for more info.  Times are Friday: 4:15 & 7:30 p.m. on Friday and 2 & 7 p.m. on Saturday. Cost is $10 to $30 a person.

Abilene Philharmonic Orchestra Concert presents “A Gershwin Evening” at 8 pm on Saturday night at the Abilene Civic Center. This concert brings some of Gershwin’s best known music featuring Lisa Vroman and Anthony Pattin showcasing Rhapsody in Blue, An American in Paris, and many more. Gershwin’s compositions span both popular and classical genres and most of his melodies are widely known. Join for a night celebrating and honoring one of America’s greatest composers. Tickets are $15 to $41 a person. Call the Philharmonic at 325-677-6710 for more information.

Head on over to the Grace Museum to see their new exhibit entitled, “Friends & Neighbors: The Art of Photographing People.” The exhibition is a study in varying approaches to photographing people including formal portraiture, documentary, fine art and avant-garde photography. Whether the locale is the war torn Middle East or a bunk house in rural West Texas, the photographs in this exhibition viewed together remind us of the power of the camera as a tool in the hands of a dedicated and talented photographer to transform a moment in time into a meaningful, expressive and profound statement about the human experience. Need more info? Contact Emerald Cardenas at 325-673-4587.

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