By: Lindsay O’Leary

People often tell you to cherish every moment you have with someone and to never take anything for granted, but until you lose someone close to you, you never truly understand what they are saying. 

No amount of words will ever be able to express just how deeply I admired and cared about Mr. Vu. However, the impact he had on me was beyond that which I could have ever imagined, and so I wanted to share the impact he had on me as a student and continue his legacy to people who may not have been blessed with the opportunity of knowing him.

One of my first memories of Orange Lutheran was meeting Mr. Vu. As a timid freshman, I entered his 3rd-period Concert Choir class, where I first met Mr. Vu. He quickly introduced himself and asked me my name, to which I replied, “Lindsay.” After that first class, the rest was history. I knew I had found my place at OLu and would be a part of the performing arts for the rest of high school. 

As time went by during my freshman year, I regretted not auditioning for one of the Honors choir classes, but looking back at it now, I do not regret a single moment of it. The Concert Choir was where I got to meet Mr. Vu, and if it weren’t for that class, I wouldn’t have had the same experience with him or had the opportunity to get to know him as well as I did. 

During the fall concert of my freshman year, I remember watching the older kids and other choirs perform on stage, but once I heard Vocal Jazz, I knew I had to be a part of that special group. Vocal Jazz is a unique blended ensemble which was led by Mr. Vu, in which the students sing Jazz or other music together as an ensemble. So, I jumped at the opportunity once I had the chance to audition. When I got the email that I was chosen to be a part of the Vocal Jazz Ensemble, I remember being so thankful that Mr. Vu believed in me and picked me to join the group. 

A lot of my favorite memories of Mr. Vu were during our 7 a.m. rehearsals for Vocal Jazz during my sophomore and junior years. Mr. Vu was more than a teacher to those of us in Vocal Jazz. He was our mentor, our friend, our confidant. I have never met someone who loved their passion quite like Mr. Vu did. Mr. Vu loved music so much; he loved piano and believed he could never stop learning and improving, even though he was already incredible. Not only did Mr. Vu love music and piano, but he also loved his students. Mr. Vu would regularly bring us treats during rehearsals or our Music Theory class, sometimes for no reason other than to surprise us.

I was also blessed to have the opportunity to learn music theory from him in his 1st-period Music Theory class during my sophomore year. Although the class was the cause for my first B in high school, I will forever be grateful for the memories and lessons taught in this class. I learned so much from Mr. Vu, not just music and music theory but lessons as well. Mr. Vu was wise beyond his years and taught all he interacted with so many life lessons. I will never again assume anything, as Mr. Vu always told us to “never assume” anything in life. 

Mr. Vu was also the musical director for all five musicals I have participated in at Orange Lutheran. Not only was Mr. Vu an incredible teacher, but he was also extremely funny. I would always look forward to music rehearsals with Mr. Vu as I knew he would always make it fun, crack multiple jokes, or talk about comical metaphors for musical analogies. I will never forget the “snap” of “Costco hotdogs,” as Mr. Vu would always say, our musical cutoffs should always sound like that. Having the opportunity to learn from him during his last musical experience, “Mary Poppins,” will be something I will never forget and forever cherish. Thank you for believing in me, Mr. Vu, and constantly pushing me to be a first soprano.

Mr. Vu’s memory and legacy will live on in our hearts forever, as no one will ever be able to compare to that of Mr. Vu. He had an unbelievably strong faith in the Lord and trusted his plan for his life. I do not doubt in my mind that Mr. Vu is jamming out on his grand piano with Jesus in heaven, as I know that is where he is right now. Thank you, Mr. Vu, for the memories, laughs, lessons, and the person you were. Your students will forever miss you and the lessons you taught us. We love you, Mr. Vu; thank you for everything. And for one last time we will all chant “Vuuuuuuuuu”… 

Photo Credit: Lindsay O’Leary

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Lindsay O’Leary is a junior at Orange Lutheran and is thrilled to be a part of the OLu Muse this year! In her free time she participates in the musicals and plays, as well as the other performing arts offered at Orange Lutheran. She loves theater and music, as well as reading. Lindsay cannot wait for what this year has in store, and she hopes you enjoy reading the Muse!