SEARCY, Ark. – Harding University’s Wind Ensemble performs a benefit concert this week that will include a special presentation dedicated to the memory of Searcy High School Lion Band member Jesse Dylan James (photo below), who died by suicide Sept. 29.

The concert is at 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 16 in the Administration Auditorium.

The performance remembering James is “Only Light,” a recent work composed in 2014 by American composer Aaron Perrine after observing the courage and strength of two friends in the face of tragedy.

“The arts help us focus on the core of any matter,” says Dr. Mike Chance, Harding’s Director of Bands and Orchestra. “Aristotle called it the ‘soul of the matter, no mere mechanical copy.’ In this case, the music [‘Only Light’] not only focuses on loss but also guides the listener on to hope and courage. The music is offered as a soul-deepening way to acknowledge loss yet focus on hope.”

Admission is free and audience members will have the opportunity at the door to donate to the Jesse Dylan James Scholarship Foundation. The funds will go toward a college scholarship to be awarded to a Searcy High School senior band member.

 The wind instrument ensemble is made up of more than 50 musicians performing on instruments such as flutes/piccolos, clarinets, bass clarinets, oboes, bassoons, saxophones, trumpets, horns, trombones, euphoniums, tubas, harp, piano, and percussion. The concert will feature guest student artist Devin Daniels in a performance of Alexander Arutiunian’s “Concerto for Trumpet.” In addition, the group will perform “Sure on This Shining Night” by Samuel Barber, “The Promise of Living” by Aaron Copland, “Suite in B-flat for Thirteen Wind Instruments” by Richard Strauss, and “American Salute” by Morton Gould.