Jack Knight - Ataraxia
Chase the Music provided our friend Jack Knight, who has Duchenne’s Muscular Dystrophy with a piece, “Ataraxia”. Ataraxia means peace and tranquility. Well Jack is not a quiet and calm young man. But, he is at peace with his situation, and looks to inspire others. We hope his song does too.
Watch the making of Ataraxia, with comments from the composer, conductor, Chase the Music and of course – Jack!
Jack Knight is a 16-year-old junior at Standley Lake School. When he was 14 years old, his condition took over his entire body and robbed him of his ability to move. He had to permanently be in an electric wheelchair and needed a service dog to guide him. For many years, Jack was a member of his school’s marching band as a player of the mellophone. When his disease rendered him immobile, it seemed that his passion had to be stopped since he couldn’t hold his mellophone and march with the band anymore.
However, Jack never gave up. Despite the restrictions, his disease put him through, he still went on ahead and continued being a part of the band. With a few modifications to the wheelchair and the help of his trusty service dog, Amber, he continued to do what he loved. In fact, he became such an inspiration to the whole team.
According to their band director Crissy Duran, Jack inspires everyone to work harder and love what they do.
A number of students, led by Adi Espinoza approach Clark Hodge, founder of Chase the Music after a presentation to TRI-M (a honor society for high school band members), at the Colorado Music Educators Association Conference. “We have to do a piece for our friend Jack” they told him.
Chase the Music brought together the Standley Lake HS band (led by Chrissy Duran), and composer Garrett Hope. Garrett spent time with Jack and his family to get to know him on a personal level.
The band spent time with the University of Colorado at Boulder bands, to fine tune their performance.
The piece composed by Dr. Garrett Hope is titled “Ataraxia.” Ataraxia is a Greek word of tranquility. Even though Jack’s life isn’t calm, he is at peace with his situation. The song has an inspirational and heroic feel. Dr. Hope wanted to showcase Jack as a hero to his bandmates through this song. It would serve as Jack’s very own theme song.
His bandmate Adi said, “He gives me so much inspiration. If Jack can do it, then why can’t we.” Jack shows all people that there are no limits. As long as one does not give up, then he or she can achieve anything. Jack’s song, even without words, already tells of his great story. His strong conviction, his uncertain future, and his calm demeanor— all can be heard in the beautiful song “Ataraxia”.