Tonic Sol-fa has established itself not only as the most in-demand vocal group in the Midwest, but also one of the most successful independent acts in America. In addition to substantial CD sales of its own independent releases (2,000,000 copies sold), the group has toured extensively throughout the US and abroad, building their financial base with a steady list of festivals and private shows that eventually led to numerous sold-out tours of theaters and small arenas.
Tonic Sol-fa began at St. John’s University in Central Minnesota and includes lead vocalist Shaun Johnson, tenor and vocal percussionist, Greg Bannwarth, and bass, Jared Dove. Together the group reached national prominence with appearances on NBC’s Today Show and in Newsweek magazine. Along the way, they shared the stage with a number of recognizable performers including Jay Leno, Jeff Foxworthy and Lonestar, and were recently part of Garrison Keillor’s 30th Anniversary celebration of A Prairie Home Companion.
From the group’s onset, the members have overseen and operated the business of Tonic Sol-fa with a only a small team of driven supporters acting as managers, lawyers, and publicists, and increased revenue from a few thousand dollars in their first year to a multi-million dollar limited liability company today. The group overcame a number of obstacles, including an unspoken apprehension to a cappella acts by individuals in the music industry and having a name that was anything but catchy (a system of naming the notes of the scale, usually do, re, mi, fa, sol, la, ti, developed to teach singing). Still, the group persevered, recording and manufacturing its own records and selling them to a growing legion of fans via the Internet and social networking sites, in the lobby of the theaters where they performed, and through a growing national distribution. One could say they gained their current consumer popularity the old fashioned way; they earned it. www.tonicsolfa.com
Performance: Thursday, June 30th, 8:00p.m.; Memorial Hall
Ernie Haase and Signature Sound
From its formation in 2003, Ernie Haase has built Signature Sound into one of the most popular and beloved quartets in all of Southern Gospel music. The group has traveled all over the world, offering energy, excitement and encouragement through its powerful brand of gospel music. EHSS continues to gain fans all around the globe with its unique performances and unmistakable four-part harmonies.
From concerts in Latvia and India to South Africa and New Zealand, events all around North America, TV appearances on ESPN with NASCAR, multiple NBA appearances singing our National Anthem, and even a specialty tour of historic American theaters in support of the EHSS Broadway project featuring Les Misérables legend J. Mark McVey, Signature Sound is a world-renowned quartet that spans a wide variety of genres and cultures.
As group founder, Haase is a creative, hard-working tenor whose early roots with the unforgettable and legendary Southern Gospel quartet, The Cathedrals, helped begin his dream to form a powerhouse group of his own. Along with many appearances through the years on the widely regarded Gaither Homecoming Tour, his goal was soon accomplished and then some...as EHSS quickly gained an international platform in gospel music.
Ernie Haase & Signature Sound is both GRAMMY(R)-nominated and GMA Dove Award-winning, a radio favorite in the United States and internationally, and a leader in CD sales and long form music video sales--with several RIAA(R)-certified Gold(R) and Platinum(R) DVDs.
Performance: Friday, July 1st, 8:00p.m., Memorial Hall
Like most entertainers who have reached stardom, Jana Jae’s success is the result of hard work perfecting raw talent.
Musical talent runs through the family. Her parents studied at the famed Juilliard School of Music, New York City, and Jana was introduced to the classical study of the violin, on a 1/8 sized instrument, at the age of two. Then, thanks to the direction and inspiration of her grandfather, an accomplished champion fiddler in his own right, Jana also learned to love playing by ear. She virtually grew up jamming with and learning from some of the best in the business while living in western Idaho, not far from Weiser, the site of the National Oldtime Fiddlers’ Contest. Soon she had honed her skill of fiddling into a fine art and won the Ladies National Championship several times.
She also continued her classical training, winning scholarships to Interlochen and the International String Congress. She graduated Magna Cum Laude with a degree in music and studied abroad at the Vienna Academy of Music.
She taught music for several years until she felt inspired to take her unique blend of music on the road. Jana and her trademark blue fiddle soon took the world of country music by storm. She got her big break at a Buck Owens concert in Redding, California, when she was invited to take the stage and play "Orange Blossom Special." Buck was one of the first "big names" to recognize her talents and offered her a job as the first female member of his "Buckaroos" band. She later became part of the regular team of performers on the "Hee Haw" show and has appeared with such country music greats as Chet Atkins, Roy Clark, Ray Stevens, The Oakridge Boys, Mel Tillis, Ricky Skaggs and the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band.
Jana has built a solid solo career, drawing upon her diverse musical background. Her one-of-a-kind style blends country fiddling, western swing, bluegrass, pop and the classics, producing thrilling performances and critical acclaim.
July 1st Fiddling Workshop limited space register now HERE
Performance: Saturday, July 2nd, 6:00p.m., Independence High School Performing Arts Center
Returning to the Astra Festival this summer is the band, “Creek House Crew”. They will bring to the stage a mixture of bluegrass, country, gospel, celtic, newgrass, and maybe even some hippiegrass just to keep things interesting! Based out of Tishmingo, OK, the musicians represent three states: Oklahoma, Texas, and (Cherryvale!) Kansas. You can hear them at the Independence High School Performing Arts Center on Saturday, July 2, 6:00 p.m., opening for Jana Jae.