Last September, the award-winning a cappella group, Tonic Sol Fa, made its first-ever appearance at Nevada’s Talent Factory.
It proved to be a great venue for the singing group, which traces its beginnings to St. John’s University in Central Minnesota during the late 1990s.
The group is set to make a return trip to The Talent Factory on June 9.
“We tour the country, but a majority of our fan base is located in the Midwest,” said Jared Dove, the bass member of the group and spokesman for this story. When thinking about a return visit to any venue, Dove said they look for places that have been excited to have them, both the venue itself and the surrounding community. “We look at, ‘Does it make sense for us to come back?’” Nevada makes sense, he confirmed.
“Larry (Sloan, owner of The Talent Factory) is a great theater owner to work with. He’s very supportive to what we do. He’s excited and wants to put his best foot forward with what he does … (which in turn) makes it good for us,” Dove said. “Last time we were in Nevada, we had a great turnout, and we’re just looking to build on that.”
Sloan said from the first time he heard Tonic Sol Fa, “I was impressed with their incredible skills. Everything they do, they do it in harmonies. The music, much of it original, is bright and a form of storytelling. In today’s music, you’re lucky if you can even hear the lyrics, much less make sense of them,” Sloan said. He loved that their lyrics are clear, clean and poignant, and that the group infuses humor and everyday events into their show — “things we can all relate to,” Sloan added.
Dove said Tonic Sol Fa — which in addition to him includes Shaun Johnson, lead vocalist; Greg Bannwarth, tenor and some percussion; and Theo Brown, vocal percussionist — loves to bounce back and forth between a number of different music genres with their own brand of a cappella. “A lot of our songs are done with just voices and no pitch-giving instruments, and some (songs) have light percussion, a tambourine, things of that nature.”
Tonic Sol Fa, Dove said, has been around long before shows like “Pitch Perfect” and “The Sing-off.” “We were singing and performing a cappella music when we still had to explain what a cappella was to everybody,” he said. “You knew they were going to love it, but trying to explain what it was to them … was a job in itself.”
Being nearly 20 years old now and traveling far and wide to perform, Tonic Sol Fa has built a following of fans, especially in a six-state region here in their home base of the Midwest. Dove said the group performs an annual holiday show in Des Moines. Many fans come to that show, and Nevada, being in close proximity to Des Moines, gives all their fans another chance to see them in the central Iowa area.
The June 9 show (which had originally been set in April, but had to be moved back) will feature many new songs and stage backgrounds since their September 2017 performance, but will be the same quality of music that the public has come to know of this group; music that is loved by many age groups.
“We enjoy the music we do because it transcends the generation gap; it draws in families for music they can all agree on,” Dove said.
Sloan suggests people purchase tickets in advance online. Purchasing tickets not only shortens your possible wait time in line, but also makes sure you have tickets, should the show sell out.
If you didn’t see Tonic Sol Fa the first time they were in town, Sloan advises you won’t want to miss them on their return trip. “They are fun, musical and the skills it takes to offer your voices as the (mainly) only instruments is incredible. It’s awe-inspiring to the point that you don’t miss the instrumentals.”
Dove said what Sloan has going on in Nevada is very “cool,” especially the number of acts he’s been able to book. “It is a small town, but with Larry’s wheeling and dealing, he’s been able to get a lot of names that are just criss-crossing the country. (The Talent Factory) is a bustling place as far as the arts go.”