'Angel of Hope': West Fargo songwriter commemorates slain Fargo woman
FARGO — Troy Anderson found himself deeply troubled by the disappearance and death of Savanna LaFontaine-Greywind.
He felt a certain connection to the pregnant Fargo woman, who police say was killed in August by a pair of neighbors. LaFontaine-Greywind's infant was found in their apartment, and the 22-year-old's body was found days later in the Red River.
Anderson knew one of LaFontaine-Greywind's aunts, and his mother had ties to North Dakota's Turtle Mountains, where LaFontaine-Greywind was from before she came to Fargo, where she worked as a nurse's aide.
"I have friends from the Turtle Mountains and made trips there," he said.
So Anderson did what came naturally. He grabbed his guitar and harmonica and composed a song, "Angel of Hope," to commemorate LaFontaine-Greywind.
"Now she's an angel," Anderson said. "I mostly wrote the song because I didn't want her to be forgotten."
Anderson, a 56-year-old "folksy blues" musician who performs as T-Roy, sang the song for LaFontaine-Greywind's aunt, who was touched.
"I brought the song over to her," he said. "She was crying, thought it was beautiful."
With that approval, Anderson decided last week to post the song on YouTube. In the video, he is seated in front of a piano strumming on an acoustic guitar, with a harmonica holder allowing him to play both instruments while he isn't singing.
The song's lyrics open with a depiction of a "gray wind drifting over Fargo," but as the song progresses, the imagery becomes brighter, with a refrain, "sail, Savanna, sail" and the phrase, "She's an angel of hope from heaven above."
"I thought I'd show it out there to see what response I'd get," Anderson said, referring to his song's YouTube debut.
The response? "Pretty overwhelming," he said.
Anderson, who lives in West Fargo, said he has performed half a dozen times at the Fargo Blues Fest. His work is seasonal, and he devotes much of his free time to music, performing solo or with fellow musicians, often in Minnesota lakes country.
"I do it on the side," he said.
Perhaps as early as next week, Anderson plans to record "Angel of Hope" in a Fargo recording studio run by a friend.
Authorities have said LaFontaine-Greywind died of "homicidal violence." Brooke Crews and William Hoehn, the suspects arrested and charged in the case, were tenants in the same small apartment building in north Fargo where LaFontaine-Greywind had lived.