Hillary Reynolds, of folk/pop group Peridot, shares the background on her upcoming concert “An Evening with Peridot & The Fox Valley Symphony Orchestra” on October 29. The concert will raise money for The Trina Fund which supports local women who travel for breast cancer treatment. The fund was created by Hillary’s mother who passed away in 2011 after her own battle with breast cancer.
How would you describe your mom to someone who didn’t know her?
My mother was my best friend. She loved her friends and family fiercely. Her laugh could be heard from at least a block away – it was loud and contagious. Trina was also an animal lover, bread baker, and became quite proficient at knitting. Her favorite word was “groovy” and I remember sleeping in and waking up on most Saturday mornings to her singing along to Fleetwood Mac while cleaning some room in the house. As soon as I would groggily make my way down the stairs, she’d walk towards me, dancing, getting me to dance along with her. She was full of life and a bright light in the world.
Trina wanted to help women battling breast cancer with travel expenses. Did she travel for her treatment? What was the motivation there?
Trina created The Trina Fund in 2009 after facing her own battles with breast cancer. She was diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer and from her first opinion, was given at most a year to live. Being the warrior she was, my mother sought another opinion, and went on to receive treatment at MD Anderson in Houston, TX. She went on to live 3 more years before losing her battle in 2011. My mom was fortunate enough to be accepted into a clinical trial based off of the specific type of breast cancer she had. The trial consisted of weekly trips to Houston, TX from Appleton for treatment. Because she was in a clinical trial, all of her travel expenses were covered – but through her own experience, she discovered a deep need to be able to connect funds with other women in the Fox Valley community who struggle with travel expenses for their breast cancer treatments. Under The Women’s Fund, The Trina Fund was established to make sure that transportation was not a barrier to treatment or to a second opinion for other women with breast cancer.
Why is a concert the right means to honor your mother?
In 2012, I released a CD called “Your Love,” featuring songs that I had written for my mom. It was recorded live, only my piano and vocals along with a string quartet. These songs tell the story of my grief. I initially wrote the title track, “Your Love,” for my mom’s memorial service while she was in hospice at St. Elizabeth’s. The rest of the tracks were written after she passed. Now, five years after singing it at her memorial service, I will be performing this song with the Fox Valley Symphony. Creating that CD was cathartic – and it was something I was incredibly passionate about in order to help raise awareness for The Trina Fund.
My mother carried music in her soul. She truly had a beautiful voice. She sang in the church choir, and we’d sing in the car all the time together – and every once in a while she’d hop on stage with me and sing with me at a show. Both of my parents supported my music education from very early on. She took me to weekly choir and orchestra rehearsals, viola and piano lessons. I will always be so grateful for her unconditional support in my pursuit of the arts and her constant push to do more with music in the community.
Trina was no stranger to a party. She would absolutely love everything about this concert. One of her best friends, Anne Wiegman, was the main conspirator in helping me get this idea off of the ground. She and I were enjoying a glass of vino at the Appleton Yacht Club a little over a year ago. I mentioned my big dream of doing a concert with the Symphony to benefit The Trina Fund, and before I knew it, Anne had scheduled a meeting in mere minutes to meet with the Symphony the next day. The momentum was there from the start and it has been “groovy” ever since.
What will attendees hear at the concert?
My group, Peridot, is a folk/pop group. We marry folk songs with pop melodies. A few songs from our symphony program will be from our debut EP, and 91.1’s Steve Marche-Tomé will be making a guest appearance on our song, “Tightrope.” Two songs from the “Your Love” CD will be woven into the program as well. Josh Fobare (pianist, best friend extraordinaire) arranged and orchestrated the program for the symphony. I feel like I could write an entire article about how amazing Josh is. Instead of going on a two page tangent, I’ll just simply say that we are very grateful to be working with him on this project.
How will the funds raised improve the lives of women fighting breast cancer?
The Trina Fund has already helped over 60 women get to and from their treatments, giving them the opportunity to fight for their lives. Building on this, I would like to raise awareness among women in the community, to let more women know help is available when it comes to travel costs related to breast cancer. With this concert, I have a goal of raising $10,000 for The Trina Fund. (For more information on The Trina Fund, click here.)
In the last week, I have found out that people will be traveling from Minnesota, Australia, Iowa, Canada, Illinois, and Massachusetts for this event. Someone even purchased a ticket from Arizona even though they are unable to attend the concert! I am truly moved. I love the community that will come together under one roof for The Trina Fund. I want friends, family, fans, survivors, breast cancer warriors, people from all walks of life to know they are welcome at this concert. I can promise it will be beautiful, personal and for a great cause.
What: An Evening with Peridot & The Fox Valley Symphony Orchestra