UNIONTOWN — William Florian, former lead singer of the New Christy Minstrels, will be bringing back the spirit of the 1960s Saturday at the Dahmen Barn with his musical performance “Those Were the Days.”The performance is a compilation of some of the most popular songs of the decade, including hit songs by Peter, Paul and Mary, John Denver, Pete Seeger, the Mamas and the Papas, and others.
Florian got the title of his performance from the 1968 Mary Hopkin hit of the same name. Hopkin’s “Those Were the Days” was produced by Paul McCartney. Florian wanted people to be able to tell what the show was about from the title alone.
Florian describes the 1960s as a time of freedom from the norm. Free spirits wanted to keep the way of life in America liberating by protesting wars and promoting peace, Florian said. The songs in his performance revolve around these central ideas.
The combination of meaningful lyrics and wonderful memories is what Florian credits to the undying popularity of ’60s music. He said the meaning of the lyrics is still applicable now, as the social and political challenges people faced half a century ago still are present today.
“Our forefathers always said we needed to have a revolution every few years to keep the dream alive,” Florian said. “We’ve got to rouse the young people again to have another revolution.”
Florian joined the New Christy Minstrels in the ’70s, The band got its start in the early ’60s with just 13 members, lead by music director Randy Sparks. Although Sparks turned the group’s management over to George Greif and Sid Garris of Greif-Garris Management a few years later, he bought the name back in the 1990s.
Today, nearly 300 people have been involved in the New Christy Minstrels since their start 50 years ago.
“Many famous people got their start from that group,” Florian said.
The New Christy Minstrels still perform today and, although Florian is no longer a member of the band, he sometimes joins the band while they are on tour.
Florian is touring across the United States doing community arts performances. Most recently, he played in the Grand Coulee Dam’s 4th of July celebration.
Florian said his performance Saturday will be fun and interactive, and everyone older than 60 will enjoy it because they will know and remember all of the songs performed.
“But if you remember the ’60s, you weren’t really there,” Florian added with a laugh.
Although the show is targeted towards the over-60 crowd, Florian said people should bring their families. The stories told through the melodic music performance will be a treat for all ages. The show will also includes some comedic aspects.
Florian performed a sold-out show at the Dahmen Barn last year. Organizers advise arriving early on Saturday to ensure good seating.
IF YOU GO
WHAT: William Florian in concert
WHEN: 7:30 p.m., Saturday
WHERE: Artisans at the Dahmen Barn, Uniontown
COST: General admission $10.50, $17 per couple; seniors $8.50, $15 per couple