“Exploring the Magic, Mystery and Power of the Wind” is the theme for the eighth annual Chautauqua Assembly, which opens at 12:15 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 29.

Sponsored by the Chautauqua Preservation Society, the event will be held in the Chautauqua Auditorium in Getzendaner Park and will feature music, literature and science during the day’s presentations.

The event begins with opening ceremonies, including an a cappella performance by So Noted, a local men’s vocal ensemble. WFAA-TV meteorologist Steve McCauley will then talk about wind as a weather phenomenon at 1 p.m.

At 2 p.m., music historian and retired university professor Carol Reynolds takes the stage for a look forward to the evening’s John Philip Sousa concert by the Dallas Wind Symphony. In the assembly’s only two-track segment, at 3 p.m., Last Chance Forever, the Birds of Prey Conservancy’s raptor flight demonstration takes off in Getzendaner Park. At the same time, Stan “Kakudo” Richardson will perform ancient Japanese Shakuhachi flute music in the auditorium.

Introducing a literary aspect to this year’s “Wind” theme, the 4 p.m. program features literature professor and Ellis County native Mark Busby in a discussion of “Texas Wind as a Poetic Force.” Actors from Waxahachie’s Community Theatre will assist Busby in poetic readings during the program.

Rounding out the assembly’s daytime programs, wind power expert Ken Starcher, director of West Texas A&M University’s Alternative Energy Institute, will discuss recent developments in wind power. Starcher’s program begins at 5 p.m.

Barbecue dinners will be available in the hospitality tent in Getzendaner Park at 6 p.m., with beverages for sale by Waxahachie High School’s Interact Club.

Following dinner, the traditional pie social benefiting Waxahachie CARE will feature desserts from area bakeries and restaurants. Complimentary coffee will be provided by Starbucks.

The featured program of this year’s assembly begins at 7 p.m. as the Dallas Wind Symphony returns to Waxahachie to present an authentic Sousa reenactment concert. The iconic march composer and band leader gave similar concerts in Chautauqua auditoriums across the United States during the 1920s and was scheduled to bring his wind band to Waxahachie’s Chautauqua in 1925. The event was cancelled when it was discovered the concert was to be held on a Sunday.

All-day tickets for the 2007 Chautauqua Assembly are $10 for adults, $2 for students. Evening concert-only tickets are $5 for adults, $2 for students. Tickets are available at the door only.

For additional information, visit online at www.WaxahachieChautauqua.org or call (972) 937-8887.

E-mail Paul at paul.gauntt@waxahachiedailylight.com