Arts & Life Performance Series

Bringing world-class performers to our Searcy audience

Individual event tickets may be purchased at for less than the price at the door.  Except for the April 9 concert with the ASO, children 12 and under are admitted free of charge.  No ticket is required for Arts and Life events with a valid Harding I.D., excluding the April 9 concert with the ASO.  Valentine's Dinner tickets are sold separately and include free admission to the concert.

Harding Music is most grateful for Centennial Bank's generous sponsorship of the Arts & Life Performance Series.


The Gravel Yard Bluegrass Band - Sept. 7


Bluegrass, BBQ & Baristas: a collaboration with Beats and Eats

Sept. 15, 7:00 p.m. with pre-show entertainment and food vendors starting at 6:00 p.m.

Heritage Park (across Grand St. from Midnight Oil)

Free admission to all


Pre-show entertainment with JOE OLIVER of Rivers West.

If you liked "Java and Jazz" and "Kilts and Coffee," you're going to love this year's collaboration with Searcy's Beats and Eats as we feature THE GRAVEL YARD BLUEGRASS BAND.  To complete the scene, local vendors will be selling barbecue, baked goods, coffee, tea and other specialties in Heritage Park.  Come at 6:00 p.m. to enjoy the food and pre-show entertainment with Harding alumnus Joe Oliver.

Since this event is outdoors, we recommend bringing lawn chairs or blankets to sit on!

Hear The Gravel Yard

Emmett Cahill - Dec. 2


Dec. 2, 7:00 p.m., Administration Auditorium

EMMET CAHILL, An Irish Christmas

Lead singer of the PBS phenomenon "Celtic Thunder," EMMET CAHILL, who hails from Mullingar, Ireland, will share an evening of Irish Christmas favorites with the Arts and Life audience.  He recently sold out at his Carnegie Hall debut, and wherever he performs, from Atlanta Symphony Hall to the Today Show, his following grows exponentially.  

Watch Emmet Cahill

POSTPONED - Tuba Skinny - Jan. 16


Jan. 16, 7:00 p.m., Administration Auditorium

POSTPONED - TUBA SKINNY, Music of the 1920s

In collaboration with the Clifton L. Ganus Jr. Distinguished Chair of History and Political Science

For over a decade TUBA SKINNY has grown steadily in popularity, releasing twelve albums and touring the world.  Just this year they were selected to receive the coveted Arhoolie Award for the promotion of traditional American music.  Specialists in traditional jazz, the band will join us in Searcy to help us celebrate the music of the decade in which Harding was founded a century ago.

Watch Tuba Skinny

Jerome Reed - Jan. 25

jerome reed

Jan. 25, 7:00 p.m., Administration Auditorium


Jerome Reed of Lipscomb University has performed extensively in the U.S., Europe, Asia, and South America, giving recitals and masterclasses in Taiwan, Japan, Korea, China, France, Germany, Austria, Belgium, Italy, England, Hungary, and Uruguay.  In 2003 he was awarded the Avalon Award for Creative Excellence, in 2006 he received the Distinguished Service Award from the Tennessee Music Teachers Association, and in 2010 he was named Teacher of the Year by the same organization. In 2019 he was inducted into the Steinway Teachers Hall of Fame in New York.  We are honored that Dr. Reed will share an evening of classic works for the piano in celebration of Harding's 100th Anniversary.

Carla Helmbrecht and Brad Leali, - Feb. 13

Carla Hembrecht Brad Leali

Feb. 13 - Annual Valentine's Dinner and Concert

5:30 p.m. - Dinner in Cone Chapel
7:30 p.m. - Concert in the Administration Auditorium


with BRAD LEALI, saxophone

with STEFAN KARLSSON, jazz piano

JOE VICK, double bass


Carol Archer of R&R Magazine described CARLA HELMBRECHT as " unusually gifted vocalist, impeccable phrasing…steeped in a swinging jazz sensibility that reminds me of Mel Torme….”   Of BRAD LEALI, returning to Harding for the second time, the Evening Standard of London said that “His solos are sparkling and Cannonball Adderley influenced" The New York Times wrote: “Saxophonist Brad Leali was among the most soulful and exciting I’ve heard recently.”  Join us as these two jazz powerhouses join forces with the world-renowned jazz pianist, Stefan Karlson, together with jazz artists, Joe Vick and Brian Brown, jazz bassist and drummer from the Natural State.
Watch Carla Helmbrecht and Brad Leali 

Dinner:  Held in Cone Chapel, with an inspiring view overlooking Harding's campus and live piano music, the dinner is just $30 per person!  Dinner tickets may be purchased at  Each dinner ticket includes complimentary admission to the concert.  Come and see why people return for the food and entertainment year after year! 

Arkansas Symphony with the Harding Grand Chorus - April 9


Apr. 9, 7:30 p.m., Benson Auditorium


with the HARDING GRAND CHORUS and soloists

The day following the total solar eclipse, and in celebration of Harding's 100th year, the ARKANSAS SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA will travel to Searcy with the largest orchestra they have ever performed with outside of Little Rock.  This musical gala, "Music of the Spheres," the culmination of nearly a week of special events in Searcy surrounding the eclipse, will feature Gustav Holst’s monumental suite, The Planets. The program will also showcase the GRAND CHORUS and soloists from Harding’s Department of Music as they collaborate with the orchestra on Serenade to Music by Ralph Vaughn Williams. This sublime work, which is said to have moved Sergei Rachmaninoff to tears at its premiere, is based on a text about the harmony of the universe from Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice. The concert will also include the world premiere of Galileo’s Eyeglass, a symphonic poem celebrating the life and discoveries of Galileo Galilei, composed by Harding’s professor of music composition, Jay Walls.

Previous Performances

  • Meroë Khalia Adeeb, soprano
  • Christopher Adkins, cello
  • Albert McNeil Jubilee Singers
  • American Boychoir
  • Anam, Celtic ensemble
  • Andrea Anderson, harpsichord and clavichord
  • Rosario Andino, piano
  • Aquila Theater
  • Rani Arbo and Daisy Mayhem
  • Arkansas Symphony Orchestra
  • Artie Shaw Orchestra
  • Annie Moses Band
  • Aubrey Logan jazz trio
  • Maria Bachmann, violin
  • Bachmann-Klibonoff-Fridman Trio
  • Baltimore Consort
  • Barron Ryan, piano
  • Marvin Blickenstaff, piano
  • Bonnie Rideout Scottish Trio
  • Stephen Mark Brown, tenor
  • Brubeck Brothers Quartet
  • David Burgess, guitar
  • Cambridge Buskers
  • Cantus
  • Capitol City Opera
  • Tony Caramia, piano
  • Carion Wind Quintet
  • Bill Carrothers, jazz piano
  • Cedar Hill with Tim Crouch
  • Chestnut Brass Quintet
  • Chinese Golden Dragon Circus
  • Ron Chioldi, piano
  • Chris Brubeck Trio
  • Clara Campbell Christian, piano
  • Chinese Golden Dragon Circus
  • Colorado Quartet
  • Commodores - U.S. Navy Jazz Band
  • Andrew Cooperstock, piano
  • Carmen Cusack, Broadway leading lady
  • Alice Downs, piano
  • Rosana Eckert, vocal jazz
  • Tom Gallant, oboe, with the Tesla String Quartet
  • Andrew Harnsberger, marimba
  • Ethos Percussion Ensemble
  • Joel Fan, piano
  • Mac Frampton, piano
  • Ryan Fogg, piano
  • Julie Fowlis, Celtic music
  • GrooveLily
  • Pete Huttlinger, guitar
  • Intersection Trio, violin, cello and piano
  • Eugene Istomen, piano
  • Petar Jankovic, guitar
  • Janoska Ensemble
  • Janus Trio
  • Katona Twins, guitar
  • La Vera Constanza, basset horn trio
  • Layali El Andalus
  • Brad Leali, saxophone
  • Los Angeles Guitar Quartet
  • Colleen Mallett, soprano
  • Mantovani Orchestra
  • Jura Margulis, piano
  • Michael Mauldin, "An Evening with Mark Twain"
  • Maynard Ferguson Band
  • Megan McCorkle, soprano
  • Memphis Chamber Opera
  • Merling Trio
  • John McEuen & John Cable of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band
  • Raul Midón, guitar and singer/songwriter
  • National Shakespeare Company
  • Natural State Brass Band
  • Nebraska Theater Caravan
  • New York Classical Players, chamber orchestra
  • Newpoli, Italian folk music
  • Douglas Niedt, guitar
  • Octarium, vocal ensemble
  • Opera a la Carte
  • Orchid Ensemble, Chinese fusion
  • Jaimee Paul and Leif Shires
  • David Payne, "An Evening with C.S. Lewis"
  • Frank Pitts, baritone
  • Beth Porter, soprano
  • Quink, vocal ensemble
  • Ronald Radford, flamenco guitar
  • Jerome Reed, piano
  • Tatiana Roitman Mann and Cindy Wu, piano and violin
  • Gustavo Romero, piano
  • Rosa Inciaca, Argentine folk duo
  • Don Ross, guitar
  • Roman Rudnytsky, piano
  • Russian Renaissance
  • Russian String Orchestra
  • Neil Rutman, piano
  • Saint Louis Brass
  • Kathleen Scheide, harpsichord
  • Sinta Saxophone Quartet
  • Crispian Steele Perkins, natural trumpet
  • Stephanie Samarias, soprano
  • Sea Chanters
  • Ted Ludwig Trio
  • Tim and Kristin Smith, piano and cello
  • Swingle Singers
  • Dana and Sue Talley, tenor and piano
  • Dan Tepfer, piano
  • The Altinos, cello and piano
  • The Flying Karamazov Brothers
  • The Merling Trio
  • The Queen's Cartoonists
  • The Rhodes Show
  • The United States Army Band
  • The United States Marine Band
  • Gustavo and Maria Tolosa, piano
  • Priscilla Tsai and Oksana Poesbook, violin and piano
  • David Walton, tenor
  • Carmen Walker, soprano
  • Rosilee Walker, piano
  • Teresa Walters, piano
  • Washington Saxophone Quartet
  • Women of the World, a cappella group
  • Di Wu, piano
  • Kelly Yoakum, harp

Contact Us

Music Department is part of the College of Arts & Sciences


Fax: 501-279-4086

Mailing address:
Harding University
Music Department
HU 10767
Searcy, AR 72149-5615