Words and music: Rock show Saturday benefits speech and debate program
By CAROL LADWIG
Snoqualmie Valley Record Staff Reporter
August 7, 2012 · 3:51 PM
In her first teaching job, Diana Young-Blanchard learned a few unexpected things.
One was that "Kids don't really have a concept of live music," she said. That was sad news for her as a founding member of the Dt's, an internationally popular rock band that drew tens of thousands of people to one of their last shows in Brazil. Balancing out that disappointment, though, was her discovery within the Mount Si High School speech and debate program.
Along with her language arts teaching position, she was given leadership of the club, coaching a small group of students on public speaking and presentation, and accompanying them to tournaments where, she said, "Seeing what these kids could do… it just blew my mind."
Students not only delivered individual performances in humorous interpretation their own creative writing, or other categories they also debated knowledgeably on current issues in a competitive environment, without knowing ahead of time which side of an issue they'd be debating.
"It's always current, controversial issues," she said. "What this is about is looking at issues that aren't black and white, and really doing some intensive research into why they're not…. it is ultimately an educational activity."
Young-Blanchard was also educated in that first debate. Although she took on the club reluctantly, she said, she saw at that event, "This is so much more important than almost anybody realizes," she continued, "and I decided to commit myself to the program and hopefully grow it."
She's achieved success there, expanding the speech and debate program to include freshmen and sophomores in her seven years at the high school, and with the program participants, several of whom went on to state competition last year.
On Saturday, Young-Blanchard will bring together her passion for speech and debate and her enduring love for live music, in Rock for Talk, a live music show at the Black Dog, plus a silent auction and raffle benefitting the speech program. The show will feature student Liam Wright's band Ithaca, followed by her own band.
"Part of my reason for doing this is to promote live music, and I love it, when we have a student who has a band, can come in and play for us," she said. "I love to give them the opportunity as well."
Ithaca, an indie rock band comprised of students from Mount Si High School, took second place in the April 21 Battle of the Bands at Cedarcrest High School in Duvall. They will open at 7, to be followed by the Dt's at 8.
Young-Blanchard is the lead singer of the band that she and friend Dave Crider of the Mono Men, formed in 2001. They'd gone to high school together in Yakima, she said, but were never in the same place until she went to teaching college in Bellingham, where Dave was already a music producer. Then the Dt's finally came together, taking their name from an abbreviation of the sing title "Doom Town," by the punk band the Wipers, and their sound from the "hard soul" era of the 70s. Think early Tina Turner, who Young-Blanchard says was a major influence.
That's two rock bands in The Black Dog's cozy venue. Young-Blanchard advises people to come early for dinner, and offers this reassurance.
"I ordered a whole box of earplugs, so they'll be there. We're pretty loud."
The show will end in time for guests to see the Festival at Mount Si fireworks. Also part of the fundraiser will be the raffle of two portrait prints by Young-Blanchard's husband, visual artist Jim Blanchard.
For more information: http://blackdogsnoqualmie.com.
Contact Snoqualmie Valley Record Staff Reporter Carol Ladwig at email@example.com.