“Tonic Sol-fa includes four guys from the Midwest who started an acapella group that celebrates what the human voice might be able to do,” said Shaun Johnson, owner and lead singer of the Shaun Johnson Big Band Experience and Tonic Sol-fa. “The Big Band Experience focuses on the style and passion of big band and swing—a music genre that existed before most of us were alive.”
During the pandemic, the bands hit some road blocks along with the rest of the world. Johnson’s rehearsals had been in his home office during this time.
But after a near 18-month hiatus, he hit the stage again with the Big Band Experience in Minnesota to a welcoming crowd.
“People stood up after nearly every song, and I truly didn’t want to leave. But I’d forgotten how a crowd elevates the entire experience exponentially.”
Johnson shares more about his holiday season excitement, goals for upcoming years, and more.
WHAT ARE YOU MOST EXCITED ABOUT FOR NOVEMBER?
Decorating our trees (inside and out). Typically I am in rehearsal or on tour from early November until New Year’s, so my family makes it a tradition to get a jump start on holiday decorations immediately following Halloween.
I’m also excited to rehearse for two holiday shows. It’s a bit unnerving to see how production, hard work, arrangements, [and everything behind the scenes] come together, but it’s always a thrill to jump back into our self-produced Christmas tours.
November 19 // Brainerd, MN
November 30 // Bemidji, MN
December 4 // Sioux Falls, SD
December 7 // Rapid City, SD
December 11 // Arnolds Park, IA
December 20 // Mitchell, SD
Shaun Johnson Big Band Experience
December 3 // Sioux Falls, SD
December 12 // Luverne, MN
December 30 // Saint Cloud, MN
WHAT ARTISTS DO YOU LISTEN TO IN YOUR FREE TIME?
I love Ben Rector; his Magic album may be my favorite of all time. I like Dave Barnes, Josie Dunne, Cody Fry, and Audrey Assad.
WHAT ARE YOUR HOPES FOR THE NEXT YEAR?
I’d like to win a Grammy. I’d like to still be singing. I’d love to perform at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, and mostly I’d love to tour anywhere they’ll have me. One of the main reasons I sing is for the experiences I’d likely get nowhere else. I’ve been fortunate enough to make thousands of memories that I treasure, and I just hope to make more.
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN INVOLVED WITH THESE BANDS?
I’ve been involved with the Big Band Experience for seven years, but for the first four, we only met at the holidays to raise money for charity. We truly began touring nationally in 2018. As for Tonic Sol-fa, we are now celebrating our 25th year together.
WHAT SHOULD PEOPLE KNOW ABOUT THE BIG BAND EXPERIENCE?
The Big Band Experience was created solely to raise money for charities. Our first national album went top five on Billboard. And since Billboard measures streams and sales, we only have fans and friends to thank for this huge support of a non-traditional, indie band.