Hamilton-Trent first met Foley while working at Pembroke Hill School as the fine arts coordinator. When the previous Pembroke choir teacher retired, Foley applied for the position.
“Mr. Foley came in to interview for the job and I was one of the ones that he interviewed with,” Hamilton-Trent said. “I immediately was drawn to his musicianship and his rapport with kids and his goodness and I thought he would be a perfect fit there.”
When Foley was hired at Pembroke, Hamilton-Trent would sub in and play for the choirs when his usual accompanist was unavailable.
The same year that Hamilton-Trent retired, Foley came to be the choir director at East. Hamilton-Trent says that she only stayed retired for a couple weeks before she got a call from Foley asking if she would like to accompany the choirs on piano at East. She accepted the invitation and has been a part of the East choral program since.
Hamilton-Trent grew up in a musical family, the oldest of five kids. Her father was a high school band director and her mother was a piano teacher and church organist. When she was in middle school her family moved to Austin, Texas, where her parents attended college at the University of Texas. While living in Texas, her family stayed in the married student housing offered at the university.
“Those were very lean years for us because they were both in school and working extra jobs,” Hamilton-Trent said. “But it was a great way to grow up.”
At the age of four Hamilton-Trent began playing piano, taking formal lessons until about seventh grade. Additionally, she played bassoon in band and orchestra. There were free lessons for wind instruments at the University of Texas, where her family was staying, so Hamilton-Trent dropped piano so that she could concentrate on bassoon.
Hamilton-Trent would continue to play piano by accompanying her church and school choirs, but she soon found a new musical interest.
“When I was about 16 I started taking voice lessons and I realized how much more fun it was to sing then to be down in an orchestra pit,” Hamilton-Trent said. “So I ended up doing the musicals in high school and so on.”
When Hamilton-Trent was a senior in high school her family moved to Kansas City, where her father got a job as the associate dean at the Conservatory of Music at UMKC and her mother got a job teaching piano and braille at the Kansas State School for the Visually Handicapped. Hamilton-Trent went to SM North for a year before graduating and attending college.
Hamilton-Trent started out taking classes at the University of Missouri Kansas City, then got married her sophomore year to her husband, Michael. She then switched to California State University in Sacramento when her husband was drafted for the Vietnam War and they were sent to California, where she obtained her undergraduate degree in voice performance.
After Michael finished his tour of duty, the two moved back to Kansas City where she began teaching at Barstow School, before stopping to have and raise her son and two daughters, Alex, C.J. and Samantha. During her break from teaching, Hamilton-Trent returned to school in order to get her Master’s degree.
From there, Hamilton-Trent went to teach at Curé of Ars before moving to Pembroke Hill School and eventually to East.
Hamilton-Trent draws her inspiration from those who have helped shape her musically over the years. Her parents, who still perform, her sister, her voice teacher and Foley have all pushed her to become a better musician.
“I consider myself to be extremely lucky, I’ve been able to do music all my life and I never thought I would end up at Shawnee Mission East,” Hamilton-Trent said. “It must’ve been divinely inspired because I landed in a place where I couldn’t be happier, and everyday I learn and everyday I have to meet a musical challenge and everyday I get to spend my time with eager young musicians and it’s a real joy.”