Last week I had the pleasure of hearing a concert by The New Christy Minstrels. One needs to be a certain age in order for this to mean something. I remember watching them on television when I was a teen in the early 60s. I loved folk music and the harmonies of this talented group. Music tastes changed and I forgot about them except when I catch one of the retrospective music programs on PBS.
When I saw an article in the paper saying The New Christy Minstrels would be performing at a Brownville, 80 miles away, I enlisted two friends to go with me down memory lane. To my surprise, it was much more than memories. The group leader, Randy Sparks, reinvented the group to provide a whole new, rich experience. At 82, he has more to offer than ever.
All the band members are “eligible to order off the back page of the Denny’s menu” except one (Randy’s words). All are extremely talented and there is no sign of stagnation. Sparks has written many new songs, revealing that creativity does on have an expiration date. His humor was perfect for the Third Chapter crowd he was playing to. He laughed with us–not at us– regarding the physical maladies we understand too well. There was a gentle good humor among the members of the group that demonstrated what can be achieved when ego is no the longer the dominant motivation. This group genuinely enjoys the music and one another.
Another sign that Randy Sparks and his group are living with purpose and meaning is the fact that the profit from their concert tours is allowing them to share their music with children and youth without charge. They decided they can make a contribution to their own age group and to future generations.
I was touched by the great example that The New Christy Minstrels are giving on how to live their lives fully, no matter what their age. I am pretty sure they would say that this is the happiest of times for them.