Nashville-based artist to perform in Pocket Park music series

(Courtesy Photo)

BIG RAPIDS — Hayley Reardon traveled to 22 states for a “Find Your Voice” program as a National Peer Spokesperson for PACER’S National Bullying Prevention Center when she was 14 years old.

One of the stops was at Big Rapids Middle School, and Reardon, now 20, still remembers the community.

Reardon is a singer-songwriter currently based in Nashville, will perform from noon to 2 p.m. on Aug. 11 in the Pocket Park Music Series.

“We just both felt a very real community spirit that doesn’t surface in many of the cities and towns we’ve passed through over the ensuing years, so it didn’t surprise me when she suggested a possible revisit to Big Rapids as we were scheduling an Aug. 10 gig in Lake Leelanau,” said Pete Reardon, Hayley’s father.

Reardon is from New England, which has a big singer-songwriter music scene, she said. There she performed at coffee houses where she found her voice in folk music, helping her tell stories through song.

“I’ve grown as an artist because now I have more to write about than before,” Reardon said. “I don’t write what people think I should, but what I’ve actually experienced. It helps me connect with people. I’m always learning what works for my music and me.”

Hayley Reardonperformed songs about bullying, self-confidence and supporting your friends on April 15, 2013. (File Photo)

Before visiting Big Rapids, she hadn’t played to peers. She said when she performed to older people, most comments after had to do with how young or “how cute” she was.

Her performance at BRMS was the first time she played for people her age, who actually connected to the music.

“I was concerned at first because I only had two songs close to being about bullying, so the workshop pushed me to create more,” Reardon said. “It was inspiring to know I had something to say. There was a real message in my music after creating the program.”

Reardon hopes her return to Big Rapids will give her the opportunity to reconnect with the students she met through the bullying prevention program in 2013.

She’s kept in contact and befriended several of the students on social media and wants to catch up with the familiar faces, she said.

“It’s a free show, and I just want to reconnect,” Reardon said. “That’s my goal. I’m playing at a music festival in Michigan too, so I decided to stop in Big Rapids. It was a pivotal place for me five years ago, and I want it to be again.”

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Posted by Brianne Twiddy

Brianne can be reached by phone at (231) 592-8365 or by e-mail at btwiddy@pioneergroup.com.

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