Tonic Sol-fa bringing high-energy a cappella music to Bemidji

Tonic Sol-fa will perform at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 27, at the Paul Bunyan Playhouse. Members from left: Jared Dove, Shawn Johnson, Greg Bannwarth and Theo Brown. Submitted photo.

BEMIDJI -- Tonic Sol-fa will bring its a cappella synergy to Bemidji for a concert at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 27 at the Paul Bunyan Playhouse.

The Twin Cities-based ensemble has been entertaining regional audiences since its formation two decades ago. The Bemidji stop is part of the Emmy Award-winning group’s spring tour

Tonic Sol-fa began at St. John’s University in central Minnesota. Current members are lead vocalist Shaun Johnson, tenor and vocal percussionist Greg Bannwarth, baritone and vocal percussionist Theo Brown and bassist Jared Dove.

The group reached national prominence with appearances on NBC’s “Today Show” and in Newsweek magazine. They’ve shared the stage with Jay Leno, Jeff Foxworthy and “Weird Al” Yankovic and were inducted in the Minnesota Music Hall of Fame alongside Prince.

“For those people who have never seen us before, we're going to have a bunch of new music that we've never performed,” Bannwarth to the Pioneer. “In fact, a lot of it is stuff that we worked on last year on our new EP. And they will hear some old favorites, because you can’t get away from doing those over the years. We enjoy doing those as well.”


Among the new songs, Bannwarth says the old standard, “Cry Me A River,” is his favorite. The song has been done by Frank Sinatra and Michael Bublé, among others.

“We thought, ‘let’s figure out how to arrange this for four-part vocals,’ and it has turned out to be one of those songs that is kind of a departure from some of our other music,” Bannwarth said. “People often request it, or after the show that’s the one they keep asking about.”

Bannwarth said Tonic Sol-fa performs concerts that appeal to people of all ages.

“We do the Minnesota State Fair every year on their largest free stage,” he said. “People are just there to have a good time, and that is what we bring to the stage everywhere we go.”

If you go:

What: Tonic Sol-fa Concert

When: 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 27

Where: Paul Bunyan Playhouse

Tickets: $24.47, available at (click on Tickets)

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