Concord Community Concert Association presents William Florian’s ‘Those Were the Days’ at Concord City Auditorium

William Florian comes to Concord in April.

William Florian comes to Concord in April. Courtesy

Published: 04-10-2024 7:00 AM

The Concord Community Concert Association presents famed folk artist William Florian’s show, ‘Those Were the Days’ at Concord City Auditorium on Saturday, April 13, at 7:30 p.m. The performance is presented by the Concord Community Concert Association as the final show of its 93rd season presenting nationally touring artists at the historic municipal theatre. Tickets available online at ccca-audi.org and info at 603-344-4747.

William Florian is no stranger to folk music. As a former member of the famous 60s group The New Christy Minstrels, he now travels the United States sharing messages of peace through songs.

His show – “Those Were the Days” – shares a journey through America’s greatest folk and pop songs of the ‘60s, including songs Florian performed with The New Christy Minstrels, along with the music of Peter, Paul & Mary, Pete Seeger, John Denver and more.

In anticipation of his performance, the Concord Community Concert Association had a conversation with Florian over email to learn more about his experience as a musician.

How – and when – did your interest in music begin?

“My mother played piano and had a beautiful singing voice. She would have her friends over for sing-alongs, but I didn’t pay attention to music much until I was 11. I saw the Beatles on the Ed Sullivan Show, heard all the girls screaming, and that’s the night I decided to make music my life.”

What inspires you the most as a musician?

“Bringing laughter and joy to audiences inspires me greatly! It keeps me going! I love to see people going through feelings during a song and laughter during the comedy bits.”

What are your hobbies and passions – outside of music?

“Driving my motorhome around the country for performances, visiting state and national parks, hiking, being in nature and at the beach!”

Your mission is to travel the globe, spreading goodwill and messages of peace through music. How does your music and performances help accomplish this goal?

“During a show, audience members leave all their thoughts and chatter behind and we are all in the moment together raising the energy! This brings lots of love and peace to everyone. There’s a song I wrote about 18 years ago called ‘I’m Declaring Peace.’ People around the world are singing that song. I proclaim myself to be the ‘American Musical Ambassador of Peace.’ I have sung in foreign countries and got people singing my song. I tell them that there actually are hundreds of millions of Americans that want peace on the planet. They smile and thank me for telling them that.”

You are a former member of the famous 60s band The New Christy Minstrels. Can you explain more about this experience, along with any favorite memories?

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“It was such a great experience being a member of The New Christy Minstrels. My sister and I both joined at the same time in the 70s. It was so exciting for us. We were very young and all the sudden on tour singing hit songs in front of thousands of people. I have a lot of interesting stories about that time. I sing the hit songs and tell some of the stories during the show!”

What performances of yours have stood out as favorites over the years, and why?

“Every show I do – it’s a wonderful experience. The audience and I always create an ecstatic energy. One that comes to mind is as a young member of the Christys singing solo on the biggest hit song… ‘Today.’ I always got goosebumps singing that song. I’d sing the first line, and thousands of people would recognize the song and applaud for a long while and then I’d get into the rest of the song. Everyone always sings along to every song in the show – and especially that one.”

Your show will include some of America’s greatest songs of the ‘60s. What do you love the most about music from this time period?

“What I love about the songs of the ‘60s is the wonderful messages, great melodies, wonderful thoughtfulness, interesting chord changes and songs that you can remember – and sing along to! People always tell me that the songs bring up memories and feelings of where they were and what they were doing during that time.”

If you could collaborate with anyone in the world, who would it be and why?

“Beatles! I’ve always wanted to sing Beatles songs. I did spend a day working with the crew on a music video with George Harrison. That was exciting meeting and talking with him. It would be exciting to sing ‘All My Loving’ with Paul McCartney and sing the harmony with him. That probably won’t happen – so now I’m doing the next best thing… I have my own new show called ‘Beatles Acoustic Sing-Along.’ I have such a wonderful time doing that show with everyone singing along.”

What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received while working as a musician?

“When I was young, I remember being told to stop trying to show off the voice so much and just tell the story! I just recently turned 70, and for years now I have been doing both! People tell me that my voice is better than ever and I also get the story across.”

“When I was about 21 years old, I went to see an opera singer. She was happy and smiling throughout the whole piece that she was singing. I couldn’t take my eyes off her. I was just glued to her radiance, and it really made me feel good. That was a good lesson. And I still do that to this day myself when I’m performing.”

What makes your show – “Those Were the Days” – stand out, from your perspective?

“‘Those Were the Days’ is a fun show with a variety of sing-along favorites, stories and humor. I will be singing the songs of Peter Paul and Mary, John Denver, Neil Diamond, Beatles, the hits I sang with The New Christy Minstrels and more. People often come up to me and say, ‘I forgot about some of those songs… I love them!’”

What can people expect from your performance?

“People coming to the show can expect to see a lot of their friends there. We will all be singing along together, smiling, having a great party and having fun. For 90 minutes, we will all forget what’s happening on TV… and once again live life as we should – in ecstasy!”

Tickets are $20 at the door or $23 online. Youth to 18 are welcome at no charge, making this a perfect family concert. Info 603-344-4747. Further information about the artist: william@florianmusic.com and www.thosewerethedays.org