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Montgomery Student Prepares for Competition

By Staff | Feb 11, 2009

If you ask most seventeen-year-olds if they have their driver’s permit or license, you would most likely receive an answer in the affirmative. However, if you ask Destini Beard (right) that question, you would hear her say sadly, “I just haven’t had the time.”

Studying for the permit test has not happened yet for this Montgomery High School senior whose schedule is quite full. In addition to doing homework and other school-related activities, Destini also takes private vocal and piano lessons, attends chorale practice, and is currently learning to sing seven unfamiliar songs-some in French and Latin-in preparation for the State Region IV Chorus Competition which will be held Feb. 18-21 at Mt. Carmel High School.

Three talented vocalists-Dakkota Deem, a junior who sings bass, Jeanna Stiadle, a senior who sings soprano, as well as Destini, who also sings soprano-represented Montgomery in the District competition held last month in Bloomsburg. Destini came away the sole Montgomery competitor who will represent our school next week at the Regionals event.

Practicing for the competition is difficult but “well worth it,” according to Destini, who has been working with her vocal coach, Montgomery resident Ted Richardson.

A former vocal music and drama teacher who retired from Montgomery Area High School in 1996, Richardson has been teaching Destini privately since June of 2003.

According to Richardson, “Destini has a remarkable soprano voice which has continued to grow and develop[and she is] a talented, well motivated student who avails herself to every opportunity to advance musically and artistically.”

Cari McNear, the school’s current music instructor who has been working with Destini for the past six years, also considers Destini to be a very talented and dedicated musician who gives 100 percent.

“We have been very lucky to have her as part of our music program at Montgomery,” McNear said.

When asked how her interest in music first began, Destini immediately gives credit to another former Montgomery music teacher, Susan Palazzo.

“When I was in fifth grade, Mrs. Palazzo chose me to sing in a production of ‘How the West Was Won.'” After her elementary school stage debut, Destini went on to participate in the Williamsport Community Theatre League and has attended three summer theatre camps sponsored by the league.

In August of 2007, as the urging of her parents, Ed and Kelly Beard, and her voice teacher, Destini auditioned for a position in the Susquehanna Valley Chorale (www.svcmusic.org), the prestigious choral group directed by Dr. William Payn, Professor and Director of Choral Studies at Bucknell University.

Although Destini was only 15 years-old and was one of the youngest to ever audition, she was accepted into the group and joins her mother, who is also a chorale member, in performing with the group throughout the region.

Dr. Payn conveys his appreciation of Destini’s presence in the soprano section of the Susquehanna Valley Chorale, “both as a leader and as one who displays dedication and responsibility in attendance and participation” and has watched her “blossom” in the choral environment.

Following graduation this spring, Destini’s future will most likely take an unconventional route. Instead of immediately heading off to college for traditional music and vocal training, she hopes to perform while travelling with her father as he attends conventions and Renaissance Faires across the county.

Destini plans to study music theory online to prepare for very competitive future college applications. For now, Destini continues to sing-she can be heard online at www.youtube.com/user/destini91-and is, perhaps, finally finding some time to study for that driver’s permit.