This past July Fourth, on a stage set up in Pottstown's Memorial Park, Devan Balaguer won first place in the Tri-County Teen Idol Contest.Balaguer will be a sophomore at Boyertown Area Senior High this fall.
Competing against 14 of her peers, Balaguer sang a rendition of 'Someone Like You' from the musical "Jekyll & Hyde."
The second place winner was also a student from Boyertown-Justin Fava, who is a senior this year. Todd Sutter, a graduate of Owen J. Roberts, won third place.
Balaguer said that she started preparing for the contest a month or two in advance. Her voice coach, Koreen Nace, originally told her about the contest, encouraging her to enter.
"It's a really pretty song," Balaguer said about the musical number she performed. She loves the song as well as the musical Jekyll & Hyde, she said.
"I was very nervous," Balaguer said, elaborating that she found her fellow competitors to be incredibly talented.
The contest lasted about two hours, Balaguer said. A handful of judges and an audience of around 75 people watched the performances.
Balaguer's father and sister cheered her on from the crowd, alongside her best friend and her best friend's mother, she said.
Afterward, Balaguer received a certificate naming her the First Place Teen Idol Winner. This was the fourth annual contest held in Pottstown for local teen singers.
"I was amazed. I couldn't believe it," Balaguer said about being the first place winner. "I was in a daze."
Balaguer's interest in music began at an early age. She sang in chorus in elementary school. During the summer of sixth grade, Balaguer started taking private voice lessons. She practices once a week for a half-hour, she said.
She plays tenor saxophone for the senior high's marching band and bari saxophone for the junior high concert band, East - West Jazz Band, and the East Jazz Band. Balaguer also sings in show choir.
In Junior High East's December 2007 production of Seussical, Balaguer took the lead as the Cat in the Hat.
Balaguer also participates in an acting class at Village Productions in Pottstown.
"I love Judy Garland and Barbara Streisand," Balaguer said.
She also loves jazz band, Balaguer said, explaining that she doesn't listen to much pop music.
"My family is very encouraging," Balaguer said. "They love seeing me sing and perform."
"I think they're very proud of me," Balaguer said.
Balaguer would like to eventually be on Broadway, perhaps own a theatre, or offer private voice lessons. She intends to pursue a degree in music once she starts looking into colleges, she said.
In the upcoming school year, Balaguer plans to try out for the high school's jazz band, specifically in vocals. She also intends to try out for county and district chorus.
As a result of winning the Teen Idol Contest, Balaguer along with fellow student and second place winner, Fava, landed a one-time opportunity to sing for an AARP group at a local church.
Balaguer said that she's currently looking for other singing and performing jobs in the community.