OREM — The lead singer of Parallax may be gone, but friends say Blake Donner's inspiring thoughts will live on through his music.

The group's first professionally produced CD — called "Mediums & Messages" — will be released Saturday night at a tribute concert in honor of 24-year-old Donner who, along with three others, drowned in a cave on Y Mountain in Provo last August.

Donner and friends Jennifer Lynn Galbraith, 21; Ariel Singer, 18; and Scott Kelran McDonald, 28, were exploring a small underwater cave when they got trapped on the way out and died.

The loss was shocking to Donner's hard-core/punk band, which had just weeks before finished recording its newest album.

Band members took time to grieve, then continued working on the project Donner had believed in so passionately.

"The whole reason why we're still playing music is we still have a lot to offer," said Travis Low, bassist for Provo-based Parallax. "We're still going to keep going like we always have."

But beyond CDs or tribute concerts, the band hopes to leave a lasting impression through a memorial scholarship at Utah Valley State College. The scholarship is named for Donner, who was studying philosophy and English, and Galbraith, who was interested in English.

Money from ticket sales and some from CD sales will go to the scholarship fund.

Friends and teachers say Donner was always busy, interested in learning and looking for ways to make a difference in society — thoughts reflected in his intense lyrics, such as these from the song "Dent."

"Despite despair / I stay inspired / You disrupted that deep apathy within me / Demanding the most out of each moment / You never lived for less . . . / You are proof that hope can survive / I have every reason not to give in / Against all odds / Despite despair / I stay inspired."

"This album — its message and its lyrics are very profound," Low said. "I'm hoping that it influences a lot of people. I think it already has. (We're trying) to get Blake's message out, since he's not here to do it anymore."

The now-four-member band may play intense, hard music, but members say the focus is not destructive.

"Our goal as a band is to inspire people for positive change and keep in mind the sort of things that need to be done to make a positive change," Low said.

Greg Bennick, another good friend of Donner's and a fellow musician, said the benefit concert and the CD are good ways to show appreciation for Donner's inspiring life.

"It's a living legacy for someone who died far too soon," Bennick said. "Blake was tremendously important and had many, many more years of contributing to his friends and to society."

The concert is at Centre Stage in UVSC's student center at 6 p.m. Tickets are $6.


E-mail: sisraelsen@desnews.com