Local band adds rapid COVID-19 test to pre-show ritual

At the Galt Porchfest last month, the five members of local group Onion Honey smiled, sang and harmonized without any COVID-19 concerns. It was their first live performance the start of the pandemic.

“It was so exciting to play live again,” said guitarist and backup singer Leanne Swanko.

Prior to the show, the band was worried, despite all band members being fully vaccinated.

“Singing is such a high-risk activity,” said Esther Weaton, lead vocalist for the group. “It’s not exactly COVID safe.”

Bassist Kayliegh Leblanc came across the COVID-19 StaySafe Ambassador program on social media, which offers rapid antigen COVID-19 tests.

Before Onion Honey played at Galt Porchfest, they did their first test together.

“It’s a little goofy to be like ‘yay we are sticking this thing up our nose,’” said Leblanc. “But at the same time it’s sort of a cool solidarity thing.

It’s now a new backstage routine for Onion Honey to help the band members and their fans feel safe and comfortable.

“People have different comfort levels with the pandemic,” added Wheaton. “So, it’s been a really good way to bridge the gap.”