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Tracy Frank, Published June 25 2013

Her Voice: Using music to help others

Her Voice is a weekly article about women in or from our area and how they make an impact on the world around them. If you know someone SheSays should feature in HerVoice, email Tracy Frank at tfrank@forumcomm.com.

FARGO – Hannah Christianson uses music to help others.

The 23-year-old singer, song-writer, who grew up in Moorhead and Alexandria, Minn., graduated from Berklee College of Music in Boston with a dual degree in music therapy and songwriting.

She recently finished an internship in music therapy at Boston Children’s Hospital where she was able to use music for to help patients coping with anorexia, neonatal infants fall asleep and others reach physical therapy goals.

“It was amazing,” said Christianson, who lives in Boston. “It was one of the most impactful experiences I’ve had in my life to be able to really see how music can help situations.”

She also writes and performs her own music and has a CD out called, “The Part That Knows.”

“I’ve always been somebody who’s done more than just one thing, and I don’t think that these two are completely separate,” she said. “I think one complements the other. I really want to help in any way that I can. My music helps me when I write it, and my hope is that it ends up helping others as well.”

When Christianson discovered that Hillary Reynolds, a friend she met at Berklee, also likes to use her music to help others, they decided to team up and form the band, The Arrow & The Bow.

“We’re really, really hoping that we can make a difference in the world and leave it a better place with what we do creatively,” said Reynolds, 23, of Brighton, Mass.

The Arrow & The Bow creates acoustic music that is improvisational-based, Reynolds said.

They play pop songs with a twist, using instruments like the mandolin and ukulele, she said.

“We really like to think of it as heart-opening songs,” she said.

The women have toured together before, but each played her own music.

Reynolds’ music is acoustic folk pop, she said. Christianson said her style is soulful pop like Carol King or Annie Lenox.

They plan to travel to Scotland and Ireland July 15 for two weeks to perform their music and hold a yoga and meditation retreat.

The women use yoga and meditation in their music, Reynolds said. They explore music through yoga and gain inspiration for their songs through meditation.

Before they return to Boston, they’re holding a concert tonight at Studio 222 downtown Fargo. Part of the proceeds will benefit Bras on Broadway, which raises money for the American Cancer Society and helps local breast cancer patients by providing gas cards.

It’s a meaningful cause for Reynolds since she lost her mother to complications of breast cancer almost two years ago, she said.

“The idea that music can benefit those who are fighting for their lives, it makes so much more of an impact at a performance,” she said.

While both women are passionate about music, they say a career in the music industry is not easy.

“If you’re pursuing something that has no roadmap and you have to make your own, it has to be a passionate endeavor,” Reynolds said. “Your career has to be founded in that and grounded in the love of doing it.”

Christianson said growing up, music was always part of her family, and practicing her music lessons never felt like a chore.

Reynolds said she loves being able to express something that resonates with people she doesn’t know.

“The power of a song can emotionally move somebody,” she said. “It can allow them to address their reality instead of running away from it.”

Readers can reach Forum reporter Tracy Frank at (701) 241-5526

If you go

What: The Arrow and The Bow concert

Featuring: Hannah Christenson and Hillary Reynolds

Where: Studio 222, 222 Broadway, Fargo

When: 7:30 to 10 p.m. tonight Wed., June 26

Info: Tickets are $10. A portion of the proceeds will benefit Bras on Broadway


Hannah Christenson and Hillary Reynolds are raising money to fund their Scotland and Ireland tour. To help, visit their indiegogo site at: www.indiegogo.com/projects/the-arrow-the-bow-ireland-and-scotland-tour?c=home