Maine Music Educator of the Year Beth Preston (left) with her Lincoln Academy colleague Liz Matta, LA’s band director.
Lincoln Academy choir director Beth Preston was was celebrated as the Maine Music Educator of the Year at the All-State Music Festival in Orono, which took place May 16-18.
The award is presented each year “to give recognition for exceptional support and outstanding accomplishments by one or more Maine Music Educators Association members for the advancement of music education in the schools of Maine.”
Preston has been a music teacher since 1982, and at Lincoln Academy since 1995. In addition to directing the LA choirs, she also directs Tapestry singers and teaches private voice lessons. She has served as vocal coach and music director for many musical theater productions over the years, including currently for Heartwood Theater. She will retire from Lincoln Academy this June, but continue her other roles as a music educator and director.
In introducing Preston for the award, her colleague Liz Matta said, “Beth can work with any voice student, and in 90 seconds figure out what needs to be fixed, and help the student find a way to fix it. She teaches people how to love to sing. She works with people going on to study music in college as carefully and respectfully as she does kids who may never sing in an organized choir again.”
“Without Ms. Preston’s love and encouragement, I would not have found the courage to approach the stage and find my true passion in acting,” said Rachael Schuster, a Lincoln Academy senior who plans to study English and musical theater at Salem State University in Massachusetts. “She has been a second mother to me and loves her students unconditionally. I cannot thank her enough for the unending support I have received from her.”
Ethan Jones is another LA senior who plans to study chemistry as well as continue singing at St. Olaf’s College in Minnesota. “I owe the bulk of my college readiness to Ms. Preston’s vocal and musical expertise– only matched by her fun, engaged, and authentic personality and way of teaching. I am incredibly grateful for all she has taught me, about music as well as life.”
Preston will conduct her last Lincoln Academy choir concert on Sunday, June 2 at 7 pm at St. Patrick’s Church in Newcastle. An optional donation at the door will support the choir’s next trip to New York City.