Onions Win at Reno Jazz Festival; Lam ’18 Named Outstanding Vocalist

Onions Win at Reno Jazz Festival; Lam ’18 Named Outstanding Vocalist

Written by Vocal Director Mark Hoover

Onions On the Road

What matters in music:

  • When the judges are dumbfounded or crying?
  • When you bring home the special blue trophy?
  • When the singing stops strangers in their tracks?

When we are able to stand in a circle a sing for 56 year-old Richard who has been wheelchair bound since two weeks before his high school graduation when a car hit his moped and changed his family’s life forever?

In our division, we have taken first place four times in a row. Against 4A schools, we’ve taken first place two times in the last four years. This year, the Onions placed first A High School Choir division and also won overall Outstanding High School Vocal Ensemble. In addition, Jaidyn Lam ’18 was named one of two Outstanding High School Vocalists in the festival. (CLICK HERE for complete results.)

Last year, we were third against 4A schools, but more importantly, following the festival, we crossed a new threshold as a music group. We began sharing our music with strangers in all kinds of situations. Through these sharing performances, we’ve established many new friends and opportunities. After last year’s third place finish, Nate Abbott ’16 said, “I think this is the best thing that could have happened. This will really help us focus on what truly matters in music.”

It took the leadership of the class of 2017 to firmly establish this approach into the fabric of the group. I continue to be in awe of the results they brought forth and the incredible level of empowerment they incited in every member of this group.

Since that time, the Onions have redefined what is of ultimate concern for the group and our music. Of course everyone wants to win first place, and bring home the special blue trophy, but everyone knows there is a purpose beyond winning that special trophy. That is, seeing your hard work have such a visceral impact on strangers. Seeing their faces light up, or becoming completely still, or crying. This is what matters in music for us.

More Trip and Performance Photos and Video Here

Above: The Onions performing in southern California.