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Tonic Sol-fa to sing in Mitchell

Members of the a capella group Tonic Sol-fa include, from left, Mark McGowan, Greg Bannwarth, Shaun Johnson and Jared Dove. (Photo courtesy of Tonic Sol-fa)

When Chris Miller was working as a live entertainer at Valley Fair in Minnesota with Greg Bannwarth, he didn't envision it would bring opportunities for his future students.

Yet Miller, now a Mitchell High School vocal music instructor, said that relationship is what enabled him to work with Bannwarth to bring Tonic Sol-fa, the a cappella quartet of which Bannwarth is a part, to the MHS auditorium on Thursday.

"It's been great, because he and I have been friends for a while," Miller said. "To work on something this cool ... it's been fun."

Tonic Sol-fa, an all-male a cappella quartet based in the Twin Cities, will perform at the auditorium at 7:30 p.m. Thursday.

The group performs approximately 150 concerts each year across 48 states, and has released eight CDs that have sold more than 2 million albums. In 2010, the group won an Emmy in the "Musical Composition/Arrangement" category for a song performed in a Toys for Tots PSA.

The members are Mark McGowan, baritone, lead vocalist Shaun Johnson, tenor Greg Bannwarth (a graduate of Sioux Falls O'Gorman High School) and bass Jared Dove.

In addition to performing their own material, Miller said the group will be joined onstage by MHS choir students for one number.

"One of the coolest things about the concert is ... we're going to be performing a song alongside the Tonic Sol-fa guys," Miller said.

Miller said he received the music earlier and has been teaching the song, called "We All Need Saving," to his choir students.

"It's a powerful song," he said. "To be able to work with these guys, of their vocal caliber ... It's just really nice for them to come here."

Though the event is non-mandatory for choir students, Miller said nearly all of his 170 students have chosen to participate in what he called a "one-of-a-kind experience."

"They are just jazzed about it," Miller said. "They really like the tune. I've played them various songs by those guys. I've played them videos of those guys, and it's just getting them really excited about the event."

And, Miller said if the event sells enough tickets, the extra proceeds will be a fundraiser for the Mitchell Vocal Booster Club.

He said tickets are $20, all general admission. They will be available at the door, or in advance at the Corn Palace box office at 995-8430.