There are three members in the band Girl Named Tom.But Tom isn’t one of them.
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 in the middle of a year-long tour across the country.
The Ohio-based band stopped in Goshen last Sunday, sharing their acoustic sounds, light instrumentation and tight harmonies with the several hundred attendants at Goshen Brewing Company, 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 Liechty siblings have bid goodbye to their 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 their sibling band was inspired by the Liechty sibling’s mother, Holly Liechty, and fully supported by their father, Chris Liechty.
“She [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.”
Caleb (‘18) and Joshua (‘19), Goshen College alumni, graduated from Goshen with minors in piano performance and vocal performance, respectively. As for Bekah, “She 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,” Bekah said. “But I am thankful for the opportunity to explore more of the music world and feed my passion for music.”
For now, the band continues their tour, heading south after a fall East Coast tour through New York, Vermont, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Washington, D.C., Virginia and North Carolina.
“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, having launched 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. Last week, Girl Named Tom was featured by Ross Morgan for TR1 Radio in the U.K.
“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 Liechty siblings will work to “flesh out the song,” drawing on their musical background and honed skills.
“That kind of unified quality can only come from people singing together for a really long time,” said Scott Hochstetler, professor of music at Goshen College. “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 College, 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 in the future.
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 on their website, girlnamedtom.com.