By Lindsey White
Rion Paige, senior social work major, emerged from Trojan Idol as the recipient of the trophy that marks her as the winner of Trevecca’s annual singing competition.
Paige made a promise to herself in her freshman year that she would wait to audition for Trojan Idol until she was a senior. Trojan Idol was, to her, a farewell to the school and people she loves.
“I was really excited to engage one last time with all my peers and I love the community that Trojan Idol makes. I feel like it’s a much-anticipated event every year,” said Paige.
Trojan Idol wasn’t Paige’s first singing competition. She auditioned for X-Factor when she was 12 and made it into the top five finalists at 13.
“It felt like getting back on the saddle essentially with doing Trojan Idol, but it was honestly more nerve-wracking because it was around people that I know,” said Paige.
Amongst the audience sat Rion’s mom, Alisa Tharp, who has supported and inspired Rion through the years.
“When I saw her perform, I mean it’s just the same old Rion,” said Tharp.
Piage used to sing at a local kid’s karaoke when she was a kid, said Tharp.
“People were always drawn to her whenever she sang. When she was little, kids used to bring up their napkins and have her give them an autograph and when we were at the grocery store people used to recognize her from kids’ karaoke,” said Tharp.
Her mom taught Rion how to channel her inner emotion which contributes to the way she approaches social work, said Paige.
“I came to Trevecca originally for music and I really found that I felt like the Lord was saying he wanted me to steward people’s stories well as a songwriter and that’s when I found social work. I find that they both fuel each other to make me keep going,” said Paige.
The Lord’s calling on Rion’s life was something even the judges mentioned after she sang at Trojan Idol.
“I watch you sing; I see pure joy. I want to read scripture. ‘Consider it pure joy my brothers and sister whenever you face trials of many kinds because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.’ I’m so proud of you,” said David Diehl, dean of the school of music and worship arts.
Those words from Diehl brought Paige to tears.
“When Dean Diehl started doing that, I felt so much confirmation from the Lord and so much peace because I know that’s something that God designed me to do,” said Paige.
She is grateful to everyone who made Trojan Idol happen and to all the talented contestants, said Paige.
“Truly everyone brought their A-game this year and I was amazed by it,” said Paige.