Concert contains anti-drug message

April 10, 1998|By LAURA ERNDE

Donna Lynn of Hagerstown took off work Thursday to take her 11-year-old daughter Amanda to a pop music concert at the Ramada Convention Center.

But this wasn't your average rock 'n' roll show. Performer Lauren Stalnecker delivered a serious anti-drug and anti-violence message to a conference of D.A.R.E. officers here.

"I believe in the D.A.R.E. program," Donna Lynn said.

Shelly Jeter, Amanda's classmate at E. Russell Hicks Middle School, said before the show that she was looking forward to the music.

"The paper said it's supposed to have MTV stuff," said Jeter, 12.

"Lauren Vision," as the show was called, delivered on that promise.

Three video screens and a light show backed up Stalnecker's music, a cross between a Garth Brooks ballad and Snoop Doggy Dogg rap.


Stalnecker played to about 100 young people who, with their parents, came on their day off after reading a brochure handed out in the schools.

For 167 D.A.R.E officers from all over the state who were in the audience, it was a chance to scout out the show for possible bookings. D.A.R.E. stands for drug abuse resistance education.

Most of Stalnecker's songs are his own.

He sings against violence, suicide and gangs and tries to convey the message that every person is important.

He borrowed the popular anthem "Lean on Me" to get everyone on their feet.

He walked through the audience, shaking hands with children. A video camera captured their smiles. That image was transmitted to the video screen.

"We were lucky to be able to get him," said Claude J. Nelson Jr., regional coordinator for Maryland D.A.R.E. in Woodstock, Md.

Nelson said the turnout would have been larger, but Washington County schools were on spring break.

That break, however, allowed Stalnecker, 41, to showcase the singing talents of his teenage son and daughter.

Gerry Kendle, Hagerstown City Police D.A.R.E. officer, said he would like to bring Stalnecker back to Hagerstown next year.

Stalnecker performs free of charge to thousands of students, fifth grade and older. His shows are underwritten by Food Lion.

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