When the a cappella group True Men from Truman State University take the stage at 7 p.m. on Jan. 10 at Mineral Area College, it won’t be just another show for two of its senior members. For Nicholas Sutherland and Andrew King, it will be a night reminiscent of their days at Farmington High School.
“One of the big things is the guys in the group like to sing in front of their hometown,” King said. “My parents and friends will be there giving me a lot of support, so it will be a lot of fun.”
For Sutherland, the evening will not only be a homecoming. He hopes it will influence some other Farmington seniors to head to Truman State where the group calls home.
“I heard the group for the first time when I was still in high school,” Sutherland said. “Andrew and I are the last two Farmington grads (in the group), so hopefully I can get some more Farmington grads up here and continue the tradition.”
Both King and Sutherland, who have been members of the award winning a cappella group for four years, credit some of their collegiate success by the lessons they learned in the music program while at Farmington.
“Music is an academic subject, but you can still have fun,” Sutherland said. “What most people fail to realize is music is not an easy thing. It takes a lot of practice. For me, having that type of dedication really transferred well to the classroom.”
Sutherland relied on his musical training to help him manage the hectic schedule a True Men member carries.
According to the mathematics major, the group practices around five hours a week and has sometimes three gigs a week. While performance may last anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour and a half, each member still has to maintain his school work.
“Music has helped me stay focused and understand the dedication it takes,” Sutherland said. “Between the practicing and our performances, we still have to make time for our school work, and for most of us, it’s the most important thing.”
For King, besides learning how to stay focused while a member of the Farmington musical program, the business major also credits his time in marching band and choir as giving him the leadership skills he still uses.
“In high school, I was the president of the choir my junior and senior year,” King said. “When Sue Bauche, our choir director, wasn’t there, she would expect me to take the choir through our songs. It kind of forced me to step up and take a leadership role.”
Being a leader is a lesson King must have learned well from Bauche. For the past year, he has taken on a lead role as the music director and the business manager of student-run musical group.
“Myself and one other person lead the group through all of the music rehearsals,” King said. “As the business manager, myself with another person book all of our gigs, make reservations and meet with our advisor. I feel more confident about taking on these leadership roles because of high school.”
Sutherland also credits Bauche for being instrumental in his academic career at Truman State – honoring the memory of the late choir director and her commitment to her students.
“I was involved in choir all through high school,” Sutherland said. “It kind of helped me to get involved in college. Sue really set us up to succeed at the collegiate level.”
For both the Farmington alumnus, what ultimately attracted them to the True Men a cappella group wasn’t anything more than the music.
“I really liked True Men when I first saw them perform,” Sutherland said. “When I got to Truman, I saw some information about auditions, and I haven’t looked back since.”
For King, the experience was pretty similar. Although he had a background in choral music, it was the opportunity to sing modern music that got King hooked.
“I love classic music,” King said. “But the True Men was an opportunity to sing a different type of music.”
For both performers, this year’s performance at Mineral Area College performance will be their last as True Men in front of a hometown crowd since both are scheduled to graduate in May.
For Sutherland, post-graduation brings the opportunity to travel abroad with the Peace Corps or a similar organization.
“My future is pretty open. I’m waiting to hear from the Peace Corps, so hopefully I will going abroad for a year or so,” Sutherland said. “I will see where that leads me.”
After May, King will be taking a more traditional route of graduate school, but hopefully staying with close to the music scene.
“I am presently looking at a couple of graduate schools now,” King said. “Hopefully it will allow me to continue on the path of what I am doing now, and maybe get a career working for a music management company or a music holding company.”
The group will perform at 7 p.m. Jan. 10, at the Fine Arts Theatre on the Park Hills campus. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for students and available at the MAC Bookstore, First State Community Bank’s downtown Farmington branch and online at Eventbrite.com.
The concert is sponsored by Mineral Area Council on the Arts.
Craig Vaughn is a reporter with the Farmington Press and can be reached at 573-756-8927 or at firstname.lastname@example.org