Debone’s parents foster a love of music
If you travel the Westmoreland County live music circuit, eventually you will run into Jane DeBone and Mandi O’Leary playing as the acoustic duo Detention. They have more in common than just their music, though — both are Greensburg residents and both are teachers. DeBone says her parents were instrumental, so to speak, in fostering her love of music.
Question: What’s your first musical memory?
Answer: I grew up with a love of music. With my whole family, pretty much every night, we were around the player piano. We grew up on every musical there ever was.
Q: So you inherited your talent?
A: My dad is pretty much self-taught on the guitar and plays the piano by ear. My mother took piano lessons and now she’s teaching herself to play harmonica. My sister Jenifer (Amundson) likes to sing and she’s just an all-around entertainer. We call her the “hype guy,” because when (Detention plays), she gets the crowd going.
Q: What’s the story behind Detention?
A: Mandi and I have known each other for 20 years, and we’ve been performing for about 11. We met through mutual friends and kept running into each other. It sort of evolved that we’d sing while visiting with friends, and then we decided, “Maybe we could do this for real.”
Mandi and I had a connection in that we both loved Stevie Nicks, Fleetwood Mac, Carol King, Carly Simon, that kind of music.
Q: What will audiences hear at your shows?
A: We both sing, and I play the guitar and Mandi plays the afuche-cabasa. That’s our joke — that’s our percussion section, that and a tambourine. We play anything from the ’70s to what’s current. We’re open to anything.
Q: How did you come up with the name Detention?
A: We got the name from being school teachers, but neither of us ever got detention!
Q: What do you teach?
A: I’ve been teaching art in the Penn Trafford School District for 18 years. I’m now teaching at Penn Middle School. I also coach varsity boys and girls tennis at Penn Trafford High School.
Q: What about Mandi?
A: She teaches family consumer science and English at West Hempfield Middle School.
Q: How did you get your first gig?
A: We’re friends with Rizzi DeFabo at Rizzo’s (Malabar Inn in Crabtree) and he said, “Why don’t you come out and play sometime?” I think he and our other friends weren’t sure how serious we were about doing it; but we were very serious, so we did it. Mary Lou from Juicy Lucy’s was there and she said she’d love to have us play. That was on Route 119 past Lynch Field on the way to Rizzo’s. Now it’s the Roadhouse. We played there pretty steady for years until she sold it.
Q: Where can people see you now?
A: The Firepit (Wood Fired Grill) in Irwin is where we’ll be on Dec. 2. That’s the next time we’ll play. We love (The Westmoreland Museum of American Art) for Art on Tap. Rodney Corner Café in Acme is another place we play in the summer, and at the (Lincoln Highway Experience) SupperMarket and TGIS (summer concert series at the Palace Theatre).
Q: Do you aspire to larger stages?
A: I grew up being afraid to speak in front of people, so this was a thing I had to do for myself. I always had a dream to perform, even on a small scale, so it’s fine now.
We’re truly humbled by having the chance to play, and by people who appreciate us. People don’t have to compliment us. They can just come in and then leave and they don’t have to say anything. Good feedback is just awesome.
Shirley McMarlin is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach her at 724-836-5750 or [email protected].