McPhersonSentinel - McPherson, KS
  • New Christy Minstrels to perform Thursday

  • The New Christy Minstrels will bring folk music to the McPherson Opera House at 7 p.m. Thursday.
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  • The New Christy Minstrels will bring folk music to the McPherson Opera House at 7 p.m. Thursday.
    The group was formed in 1960s by singer and guitarist Randy Sparks of Leavenworth. Folk music was popular during this time, but it was unique in its number of members.
    During its history, The New Christy Minstrels recorded more than 20 albums, which included hit songs such as “Green, Green,” “Saturday Night” and “This Land Is Your Land.” The group's first album, released in 1962, won a Grammy Award for “Best Performance by a Chorus” and sat in the Billboard 200 charts for two years. It also resulted in their performance on many television shows, according to allmusic.com.
    Members changed frequently throughout the years, and in 1964 Sparks left to work as Burl Ives’ writer and opening act. After Ives’ death, Sparks returned to rebuild the group.
    According to the group’s website, Sparks said there were two high points in the group’s history — its first three years and the most recent three years following reconstruction. All the while, the goal was to produce music that made people forget about their problems, according to Why Fame.
    The group performs now with three original members, who are expected in McPherson this week.
    Opera House Executive Director John Holecek said he is looking forward to having them in town.
    “I grew up with the New Christy Minstrels, and they really were the gateway for a lot of people in folk music,” he said. “They had tremendous influence.”
    Holecek said he thinks many are in a similar boat and would enjoy hearing them live.
    “My experience in liking them wasn’t unique, so I think it’s going to be a good show,” he said.
    Tickets for the performance are $20 for all seats, and benefits will go to The New Christy Minstrels Foundation. It was established in 2009 to preserve folk music history, promote teaching of folk music and foster peace and social justice.
    Contact Jenae Pauls at jpauls@mcphersonsentinel.com and follow her on Twitter @PaulsSentinel
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