GILROY – The Gilroy High School choirs will perform their Pops Concert on Thursday at Gavilan Theater, and will bring in a special guest. Randy Sparks, founder of the New Christy Minstrels, will perform with the choirs along with his current group, a six-member band that is a remake of the Minstrels. Sparks was Burl Ives’ writer and opening act for 30 years, and the choir will be performing music written for Ives.
Also, some CDs made a decade ago with the choirs and Burl Ives, which turned out to be Ives’ last recording, will be available at the concert.
Sparks formed the New Christy Minstrels in 1961. The large pop-folk group, named after the mid-19th century Christy Minstrels, had a hit in 1963 with the song “Green, Green,” written by Sparks and Barry McGuire. The group had their own television show in mid-1964.
Later that year, Sparks sold the group to a management company and continued as their manager for a while. The group gave a number of singers their start in the business, including Kenny Rogers. Sparks also formed the Back Porch Majority, which featured John Denver.
Sparks’ sister and mother lived in Gilroy, and Phil Robb, choir director for the school, said he found a program for Sparks playing with the GHS band and dated 1960.
“It’s an opportunity for us to have a touch of our heritage from the ’60s,” Robb said.
Doors open at 7 p.m. and four of the members of Sparks’ band will play until the concert begins at 7:30 p.m.
Tickets are available at Porcella’s music store at 7357 Monterey St. in Gilroy, or by calling 847-2424 ext. 2288. Tickets are $5