I have received word this morning that my friend, and the founder of “The New Christy Minstrels”, Randy Sparks,  died last night. (February 11, 2024)  It was reported that he just peacefully closed his eyes and drifted off to sleep.  My guess is that he probably had an unfinished song going in his head as he died. 

Randy Sparks was a creative genius, and he wrote the majority of the songs that we recorded in the NCM.  I  know that many of his songs have found a forever home in many of your hearts, especially his beautiful song “Today”.

Today, while the blossoms still cling to the vine.
I’ll taste your strawberries; I’ll drink your sweet wine.
A million tomorrows shall all pass away.
‘Ere, I forget all the joys that are mine…Today.

May you rest in peace, Randy.  I know that you will be writing songs and playing pranks on those around you, wherever you may be.

                                                                                                          A LITTLE UPDATE INFO:    

With Randy’s passing, there are now  five of us still living, who are original members of the NCM.  (Jackie Davidson, Clarence Treat, Art Podell, Barry McGuire, and me.)  I am very happy to report that all of us are  seemingly in amazingly good health for our ages, and we are all still involved in music, in one form or another.  We all dearly miss our departed talented teammates, Larry Ramos, Nick Woods, Gayle Caldwell, and Barry Cain. 

Like old soldiers who went into battle together and won the war, we have a forever special bond. 

I think that I speak for all of us when I say…   
Thank you for loving Randy’s songs and for loving our music”.   

  Dolan Ellis,
      “Arizona’s Official Balladeer (58 yrs.)