Night of the Arts bolsters L-D band, speech & debate programs

Rejoice Davis performs her tuba solo, O Isis and Osiris, by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart at DHI’s Night of the Arts. Pioneer photo by Jaci Conrad Pearson

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DEADWOOD — Activities budgets can get stretched pretty thin, but thanks to an $850 gift per program, the Lead-Deadwood High School band and speech and debate programs have a little bit more wiggle room.

“Night of the Arts is a great way for Deadwood History to work closely with the local high school and offer public programs benefiting Lead-Deadwood students, just like this one,” said Deadwood History (DHI) Education Director Amanda Brown. “In appreciation of the band’s talent, dedication, and hard work, I am pleased to present the Lead-Deadwood High School band with an honorarium from the Walter and Frances Green Charitable Trust in the amount of $850. This money will be used to help with competition fees and traveling expenses for the band.”

Monday, the check, made possible through the Walter and Frances Green Charitable Trust, was presented to band director Mick Dragoo by Brown at the annual Night of the Arts, sponsored by DHI and held at the Homestake Adams Research and Cultural Center. 

“This is a chance for the students that are going to the solo/ensemble contest to play in front of an audience,” Dragoo said. “It serves a couple purposes; one, to be able to perform in front of family and friends since very few get a chance to make it to the contest itself and two, it serves as a great final dress rehearsal right before the contest.”

Dragoo said the funds received are placed into a donation account that is used for extra needs for the band program.

Lead-Deadwood High School sent 40 students to contest, 24 are instrumental students.  

“This is not a part of the normal activities for those involved.  It is for those who want to go above and beyond the normal requirements to help improve their skills and to add an extra challenge,” Dragoo said.

Members of the vocal music department, under the direction of Kari Owens performed at Night of the Arts, as well.

On Feb. 24, the Lead-Deadwood High School speech and debate team, under the direction of Bree Oatman and Gwen Hess, will also be presented with an $850 check at their Night of the Arts and students will present some of their individual pieces from the past performance year.

“We use that money to provide meal allowances for students when we travel overnight and other team related activities like a Christmas party,” Oatman said. 

The speech and debate season runs from September through February. Students compete in performance-based events including humorous interpretation, dramatic interpretation, duet, reader’s theater, poetry, program oral interpretation, and non-original oratory. Students can also compete in Congressional debate as well as public forum or Lincoln Douglas debate. There are also three speech writing events including original oratory, informative speaking, and extemporaneous speaking. The team competes in 13 competitions each year as well as competing for a slot to attend the State Oral Interpretation Festival held in early December of each year.

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