Jennifer Lind was not even born when The New Christy Minstrels started making music in 1961. She cannot remember when the band played on The Andy Williams Show in 1962.
Lind, 48, also never imagined she would be working in the music industry, let alone become one of the newest members of The New Christy Minstrels, which this year is celebrating its 50th year together.
But on Friday, Lind, who has been a resident of Lodi for 24 years, will join her seven fellow band members and perform a benefit concert at Micke Grove Park to help raise funds for the San Joaquin County Historical Society and the Zoological Society.
“I had nothing to do with music until I met (band founder Randy Sparks),” Lind said. “I played a couple of chords on my guitar when I was younger, but that was only once in a blue moon. I never thought I would be here.”
Lind, who is married to Lodi attorney Andrew Smith and a mother of three, works in her husband’s law offices as a legal assistant. It was not until her singing talents were noticed by Sparks’ friend Nancy Lewis at a Christmas party that Lind even considered singing professionally.
Lewis insisted she introduce Lind to Sparks, and from there Lind said the experience has been nothing short of “fantastic,” despite the extensive time away from home and long hours on the road.
“I like to sing mainly because I like to tell stories,” Lind said. “Randy really took me under his wing and has really inspired me. Plus, travelling with the group has been such a blast. We love what we do.”
Lind, one of the guitar players in what Sparks calls the “restored” group, performs at local wineries when she is not on the road. She has also released an album called “Cowboy State of Mind” and was awarded Female Vocalist of the Year by the Academy of Western Artists in 2010.
Her talent for singing and playing her guitar was not something Lind readily showed others, however; according to her husband, it was not until about three years into their marriage that he heard her sing.
When Sparks first met Lind, she sang for him with a boom-box karaoke tape at a band rehearsal in Mokelumne Hill, where Sparks also lives. According to Sparks, he was not immediately taken with her talent, but Lind continued to come to rehearsals and bought a new guitar to practice with.
“Later, she said ‘I would like to sing and play for you,’” he said. “That time, she blew us away ... She is a natural. I wrote a couple of songs especially for her talent. I may be biased, but she is simply the best.”
Contact reporter Katie Nelson at firstname.lastname@example.org.