Last summer, the beautiful life of 17-year-old Natalie Insley was tragically ended in a car accident.
The Tyaskin teenager would have been a senior at James M. Bennett High School this year. Her family, fellow students at Bennett and people around this community mourned her death.
I didn’t know Natalie, but talking to those who did, she radiated everything beautiful. Her life was full of inspiration and joy.
One of Natalie’s classmates, Christopher Sajadi, was so moved by all the community outreach after her death last Aug. 2, he felt he had to do something.
“It hit me really hard. Seeing everyone at her viewing, I felt like I just needed to do something to help,” Chris shared.
Chris watched many people in the community come together to raise money and show their support for Natalie’s family. He saw young students from Northwestern Elementary School put together a lemonade stand that raised thousands of dollars for the family. Chris shared that he wasn’t really close friends with Natalie but her death and the reaction of the community pushed him to want to help. He came up with an idea to hold a benefit concert.
Those who know Chris know he has a passion for music. As a lead guitarist for Bennett’s Rock & Roll Revival show for the past four years, there is no doubt Chris is moved by music.
“I thought a benefit concert would be a good place for the community to come together for music and healing. Music brings people together,” Chris said.
Chris shared his idea for the concert with a few of Natalie’s friends who loved the idea. They talked to the Senior Class officers to get their support, and by October 2016 a team was in place and planning was underway.
Alicen Siegmund, Sarah Messick, Nick Selser, Thomas Long, Mason Olinde and Chris have worked tirelessly to bring our community this event.
Alicen, one of Natalie’s best friends, described her as a sweet, loving, funny, positive person. This event is just one way to help keep Natalie’s spirit alive and to remind everyone to keep searching for everything beautiful.
The concert will be held on Saturday, April 1, from 3 to 9 p.m. at Headquarters Live in Downtown Salisbury. Tickets are available online or at the door.
Food will be for sale by Phat Boyz Catering and an awesome lineup of live music is planned. Performing will be Troy Grove, AMP Studios, Tommy Burdett & The Riffshakers, Pete Bozick & The Larks, Blue Junction and Chris’ band No Gravity. There will be face painting and corn hole games provided free of charge. “Everything Beautiful” merchandise and other items will be available to purchase.
After talking with Natalie’s family, the group agreed that proceeds from the concert will raise money for the Natalie Insley Memorial Scholarship. This scholarship will be given annually to a James M. Bennett senior who retains a 2.5 GPA and demonstrates the attributes Natalie was known for; kindness, caring and spreading love.
This year, two seniors will receive the scholarship.
Death is hard for everyone – but especially the tragic death of such a young, vibrant, beautiful soul who was an inspiration to many. For some of Natalie’s friends, this may be the first death they’ve ever experienced. And losing someone your own age is devastating. Natalie’s friends have found a way to turn their grief into beauty, spreading love just like Natalie would have and, in turn, inspiring us all.
The Everything Beautiful Benefit Concert is open to everyone. Stop by to support this great cause and help share kindness, caring, love and joy. You can purchase tickets and find more information on Facebook and Twitter @ebbconcert or contact the organizers at email@example.com.