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Relay for Life: BSU grad supports event with her music

Bemidji State University graduate and aspiring country music singer Angela Hesse sings the National Anthem Saturday at the Beltrami County Relay for Life held at the Sanford Center. Brian matthews | Bemidji Pioneer1 / 2
Toni's Team, one of 45 teams that participated in the Beltrami County Relay for Life Saturday at the Sanford center, walks in honor of Toni Gersich, who died in 2006 from Ovarian Cancer. The team lead the relay's donation with $4,045 raised, contributing to the total of $46,362 for the 45 teams that participated. Brian Matthews | Bemidji Pioneer2 / 2

BEMIDJI -- Angela Hesse, a Bemidji State University alumna and up-and-coming country music singer, joined the nearly 300 people Saturday participating in Beltrami County's Relay for Life.

"I have this talent that I can use to help give back," Hesse said. "I love to write music. I have my country music but I also have music that is inspirational."

Hesse, who currently lives in Nashville as she chases her musical dreams, is a 2011 graduate of BSU. She said she tries to spend as much time in the Bemidji area as she can because her family has a cabin between Park Rapids and Bemidji.

Hesse got involved in the Relay for Life because she has long supported the American Cancer Society because her mother, Linda and grandmother, Dolores Hesse both are survivors of breast cancer.

Hesse sang the National Anthem at the relay, admitting that she was exhausted and had a lot on her mind, which lead her to a brief mental lapse in the lyrics.

"It happens, I am human," Hesse said. "The worst thing you can do is show it and stop. I think that's what I have learned going through college and getting a music degree, performing constantly. You have to keep going no matter what happens."

This attitude is a theme that can be seen in her song, "He Smiles" from her upcoming album "Bittersweet."

Hesse said the song was inspired from a story she saw on Facebook, where a young woman suffering from terminal cancer still had the spirit to have a smile on her face on her wedding day. The woman died five days after the wedding.

"Despite everything going on in her life she still smiled," Hesse said. "I saw this and instantly went to the piano and wrote this song."

Hesse said when the song release on July 17, all the proceeds from the song will be donated to the American Cancer Society.

"People told me I had to record this song," Hesse said. "I don't care if I never see a penny of this money (because) this is going to a good cause."

Hesse arrived in Bemidji at about 4 a.m. and said she planned to stay at the relay for a few hours before heading back to Nashville in the morning. She will be back to Minnesota for a month as she promotes her new album on radio stations. She hopes to tour sometime next year, with many stops in the state, including a potential Bemidji stop.

"I miss driving by the lake every day," Hesse said. "I like to get up here as much as I can."

Hesse said she is continuously learning about the music business. The Country Music network just picked up a music video of hers. With some logistical things pending, the album should be released on schedule and after that her plans are to tour with her and her band in the next year.

Angela's single "Hot Summertime," a song she said is about her time on the lakes of the Northwoods, can be heard on her website at