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Bob Lind, Published August 10 2009

Lind: Young soloist connects Fargo to Sen. Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts

It was a major event at Harvard University. Massachusetts’ longtime Sen. Ted Kennedy was receiving an honorary degree.

The ceremony last December drew some big names: Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass.; Vice President-elect Joe Biden; Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer; several others.

Along with the speeches, the ceremony had music, including that provided by famed cellist Yo-Yo Ma.

There was a soloist, too, and he was a young man with Fargo connections.

He was James Onstad, the grandson of the late Jim Onstad and of Wilfred Clemenson, both of Fargo.

James sang two numbers: “America the Beautiful” and “Fair Harvard.”

James was a senior at Harvard at the time. He graduated last spring and now is in California pursuing a musical career.

His father is Mark Onstad and his mother is Vicki Onstad, daughter of Wilfred. They live in Santa Fe, N.M.

Wilfred says James, who grew up in Santa Fe, was pursued by several colleges, many of which offered him scholarships. He took the one from Harvard.

And he was the only soloist selected to sing at the ceremony for Kennedy.

By the way, his grandpa Wilfred was featured here this summer because he’s a popular karaoke performer in the Fargo-Moorhead area.

Neighbors doesn’t know if James is following his grandfather’s footsteps down the karaoke trail. But maybe he wouldn’t want his grandpa to outshine him.


If you have an item of interest for this column, mail it to Neighbors, The Forum, Box 2020, Fargo, ND 58107; fax it to 241-5487; or e-mail blind@forumcomm.com