Sibling band’s tour a different kind of education

Feb 24, 2020 by and

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There are three members in the band Girl Named Tom.

But Tom isn’t one of them.

Girl Named Tom — made up of siblings Caleb, Bekah and Joshua Liechty — performs Nov. 7 at Common Grounds at Eastern Mennonite University in Harrisonburg, Va. — Rachel Holderman/EMU

Girl Named Tom — made up of siblings Caleb, Bekah and Joshua Liechty — performs Nov. 7 at Common Grounds at Eastern Mennonite University in Harrisonburg, Va. — Rachel Holderman/EMU

A nickname for the youngest Liechty sibling, Bekah, “Tom” became the inspiration for Caleb, Joshua and Bekah’s sibling band that formed in the spring of 2019 and is now on a yearlong tour across the United States.

The Archbold, Ohio-based band stopped in Goshen, Ind., Jan. 12, sharing their acoustic sounds, light instrumentation and tight harmonies with several hundred attendees at Goshen Brewing Co., convincing many that the Liechty siblings have been singing together for years.

And in some ways they have.

“Music was a huge part of our growing-up years,” Caleb Liechty, the eldest of the trio, said. “All three of us were homeschooled until I was in seventh grade, so music was allowed to be a bigger part of our lives than if we’d been in public school.”

With a polished repertoire of original tunes and arrangements of contemporary songs, the Liechtys have bid goodbye to childhood days of church choir, piano lessons and percussion by way of pots and pans — trading it in for a professional music venture.

The idea for the band was inspired by their mother, Holly Liechty, and fully supported by their father, Chris Liechty.

“[Holly] realized that as all three of us were between schooling, we were uniquely positioned to actually make this work,” Caleb said. “We’d always been told we should be the next Von Trapp singers, but none of us kids had ever taken the idea seriously until our own parents supported it.”

All three are members of Zion Mennonite Church in Archbold. Caleb and Joshua graduated from Goshen College in 2018 and 2019 with minors in piano performance and vocal performance, respectively.

Bekah “sang literally anywhere and everywhere when she was young” and plans to attend Goshen College next fall.

“Going on tour this year has been a different form of education,” she said. “But I am thankful for the opportunity to explore more of the music world and feed my passion for music.”

Friends and family

After a fall tour of the East Coast through New York, Vermont, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Washington, Virginia and North Carolina, the band went south to Florida and into Texas.

Girl Named Tom provided music at Rocky Mountain Mennonite Camp’s high school snow camp Feb. 14-16 and is moving on to covering the West Coast before circling back through the Midwest.

When they aren’t singing in churches on Sundays, they visit a variety of venues throughout the week.

“We have chosen places to go based on our connections and help from friends and family,” Joshua said. “We like to say that we are ‘Mennoniting our way’ throughout the country and have been humbled at how gracious people have been, accepting us into their homes and making us feel welcome.”

Their fan base continues to grow after launching a five-song album on streaming platforms earlier in 2019. Fans now tune in from places beyond the Mennonite community, with top listeners stationed in Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, Dallas and Atlanta. In January, Girl Named Tom was featured by Ross Morgan for TR1 Radio in the United Kingdom.

“Many of the songs we sing have such depth,” Joshua said. “And we are constantly trying to create music that we feel will lovingly connect us to an audience.”

Starting with an idea, either musical or lyrical, the siblings will work to flesh out the song, drawing on their musical background.

“That kind of unified quality can only come from people singing together for a really long time,” said Goshen College music professor Scott Hochstetler. “Caleb’s guitar, Joshua’s percussion and Bekah’s keyboard also fill out the sound and make them sound like a full band.”

During their time at Goshen, Caleb and Joshua found their involvement in music formative.

“The constant exposure to all types of music and brilliant musicians made it easy to fall more deeply in love with music,” Joshua said. “Being around friends and professors who were passionate about music and committed to creating the most soulful product was contagious.”

At the end of this touring year, Caleb, Joshua and Bekah all plan to pursue different paths, leaving the future of Girl Named Tom undetermined, Caleb said. They do, however, hope to release more songs.

That’s one advantage of being a sibling band: They will always stay connected.

“While I’m sure we get along better than many siblings, being together in a van for thousands of miles isn’t always easy,” Caleb said. “Performing together is definitely the easy part.”

Girl Named Tom’s new album, Another World, can be found on streaming platforms or purchased at girlnamedtom.com.


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