PROVO — Sometimes, a person’s story or situation resonates so strongly, it compels a stranger to extend a hand.
Local band, Mideau, created by musicians and vocalists Libbie Linton and Spencer Harrison, were deeply affected by the story of their friend’s cousins, Kassi and Tommy Van Vliet. Following a seizure earlier this year, Kassie, 24, was diagnosed with a grade 3/4 astrocytoma brain tumor. Hours later, she underwent surgery to remove the tumor, but received no further treatment because she was pregnant with the couple’s only daughter, who was born on June 1.
As Kassie undergoes radiation and chemotherapy treatments, Mideau is holding an online benefit* for the Van Vliets. Their new single “There, There” — debuted on Aug. 2 ahead of of their September album release — is available for download on a name-your-own-price basis, with the profits going to help the Van Vliets with their mounting medical bills.
“It’s a little strange. We really are quite removed from these people,” Spencer said. “Not that they were helpless, but Blake (Tommy’s cousin) felt that he wanted to do something for them so badly. He felt that he had no idea how to help, he said ‘I feel so powerless to help these people out.’ That spoke loudly to us.”
They chose the song “There There,” the lyrics of which were inspired by Libbie’s mother.
“It’s a song that’s a very personal song that’s coming from a general theme of how important mothers are, really,” Libbie said. “So thinking about Kassie as a brand new mother and dealing with this situation, and how much support that our parents have given us through the years. That song is basically recognizing how important that is in your life and how impactful it can be. It’s basically a dedication to honor the people that help you as you’re growing up.”
She wrote the song after finding a small, souvenir dove from St. Helen’s among her mother’s things. She had gotten the dove as a child, but her mother had kept it since. She realized when she found it that her mother had kept it because of her love for Libbie.
“I like the thought that she found this object that someone who loved her a lot had been keeping,” Spencer said. “Sort of that quiet commitment and love that a mother or loved one might show to you and you might not recognize it all the time.”
The song is not a tap-your-toe, make-you-smile sort of song. Libbie and Spencer had considered another song, “Benny” for the fundraiser, but decided on the more quiet and thoughtful song with some dissonance and real, Spencer said.
"This project really hits the nail on the head or supports and concretes the truth that art, music for us, is nothing without attaching it to people and attaching it to life and that it has a meaning in people's lives."
“Sometimes things aren’t just simple and peppy and happy,” Spencer said. “But there’s something that can be beautiful and be the soundtrack, and quiet your heartbeat a little bit. I think that’s what we were hoping this song to be, and still very much hoping it will have that effect on them, and especially those who connect the story with the song now.”
A week after they released the single, the purchase price was averaging $11, though people were donating as much as $50. They hoped as the Sept. 13 album release neared, more people would feel compelled to give what they could to the young family.
Spencer said the fundraiser and corresponding album release has taught him an immeasurable lesson on being a creative. More than anything, he said, his music can only have meaning if it can affect people in positive ways — whether that is helping someone through a breakup or a new mother’s fight with advanced stages of cancer.
“I think it’s easier to imagine ourselves as living in a vacuum and being a solitary creator and what we create is an expression of our own thoughts and feelings about life,” Spencer said. “But this project really hits the nail on the head or supports and concretes the truth that art, music for us, is nothing without attaching it to people and attaching it to life and that it has a meaning in people’s lives. That concept is one that I didn’t always understand.“
“This album that we made ... it will be nothing unless it really connects with people’s lives and it means something to people and it becomes the soundtrack to experiences and things that happened in the days of their lives. That’s what this project has really made concrete.”
*ksl.com has not verified the accuracy of the information provided with respect to the account nor does ksl.com assure that the monies deposited to the account will be applied for the benefit of the persons named as beneficiaries. If you are considering a deposit to the account you should consult your own advisors and otherwise proceed at your own risk.