Meet Our Production Team
Keri Klaus, Director of Destin School of the Arts
Keri comes to the Destin School of the Arts with over 25 years of stage performance and directing experience with specific focuses in acting, musical theatre and dance. Keri has performed in venues throughout the Southeastern United States and the United Kingdom. Professional credits include a three year stint as the Movement Director, and performer, with OperaSouth and four years as a principal performing member of The Sticky Wickets, a professional comedic improve troupe. Keri has also taught private lessons and classes in acting, movement for the stage, musical theatre and dance and has participated in numerous workshops over the years at the Alabama State Thespian Competition with concentrations in musical theatre, improv, and audition preparation. Keri studied Communications, with an emphasis in Theatre, at the University of North Alabama and is beyond proud of her years as a University Player. Keri makes her home in Destin, FL with her husband Chris and their two daughters, Carson and Erin.
Kimberly Heartsong, Artist in Residence
Destin School of the Arts is thrilled to welcome our Artist-in-Residence, Ms. Kimberly Heartsong! Ms. Heartsong will be teaching adult and youth art classes in a variety of mediums here at Destin School of the Arts, as well as the Pre-K Arts Enrichment visual medium focused units.
Kimberly is a Fine Artist formally trained at Baum School of Arts in Pennsylvania. She has also earned a Certificate in Art as Therapy from Cape Fear Medical Center in North Carolina through an apprentice program. She has won recognition locally at Artel Gallery, Pensacola in 2017, ADSO Gallery, Ft Walton Beach in 2016, and through a solo art show at the Destin Library in September, 2017. Ms. Heartsong has artwork in featured the National Veterans Art Museum in Chicago and is one of twenty veterans in the Combat Paper Art Project called "Paper Dolls" that is currently on display in the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. Her work can also be found in the Library of Congress Rare Art Book Collection in Washington DC.
Chris Klaus, Guitar/ Piano / Voice / Pre-K Arts Enrichment
Meet our Guitar/Voice/Piano/Theater instructor, Chris Klaus! Lyric Baritone, Chris Klaus, is the Associate Director of Music and Worship at Destin United Methodist Church. A transplant to the beautiful Emerald Coast, he previously resided in Hunstville, AL and served as Director of Music and Worship at Latham United Methodist Church for eight years. He has studied at Nicholls State University and the University of North Alabama with emphasis in Vocal Music Performance and Commercial Music under the guidance of Dr. Kenneth S. Klaus and Dr. Soojeong Lee.
Chris has performed extensively throughout the southeast with various choral and theatre groups. His favorite theater roles include Pirate King (The Pirates of Penzance), The Emcee (Cabaret), and Rapunzel’s Prince (Into The Woods). He has also enjoyed his work at the Fox Theater with Christy Carlson Romano in Beauty and the Beast and touring with Robert Goulet during his last production of Camelot. Chris is happily married and is the proud father of two beautiful daughters. He is passionate about theatre, fishing, LSU football and leading people in worship. He wishes to thank his beautiful wife Keri, for every ounce of her love and support for his career and ministry over their 17 years of marriage.
Rob Gilmore, Percussion / Recording Arts
Meet our Percussion and Recording Arts Teacher, Rob Gilmore! Rob is a life-long resident of Destin/Fort Walton Beach area; a life-long musician (trained/educated in drums/percussion performance); and local attorney working with Southern Management Group here in Destin. Rob is married with children and enjoys writing, recording, and performing music; graphic art design work; and spending time with his family (including his dogs). Rob is a former Destin Rotary Club member; former Amateur Boxing Coach with the Okaloosa Police Athletic League; and former member of the Grammy’s music industry association.
As a member of Destin United Methodist Church, Rob plays drums and bass guitar with the DUMC Praise Band when needed. As a life-long musician, enjoys working with kids and understands first-hand the importance that “beginning band” can play in a child’s development and personal growth. Rob’s goal is to offer students the assistance, instruction, and encouragement needed to help them reach their full potential as beginning drummers.
Beginning band class can be an intimidating and competitive environment. With experience, perspective, motivational skills, and friendly personality Rob will work with each student at their own skill level and pace and offer appropriate instruction, lessons, and a practice schedule tailored for each individual student. Rob’s demeanor is to encourage and help young percussion students gain confidence while having fun as they learn.
Roberto Padron, Percussion / Pre-K Arts Enrichment
Meet our Percussion Teacher Roberto Padron! Roberto has been a professional drummer almost 30 years. He has recorded many artists including Cinderella (Once Upon A Time), Martina Mcbride, Kathy Mattea, Max Carl (38special). He also has an extensive background in teaching students of all levels. Roberto has a sincere appreciation for helping anyone achieve their drumming and percussion goals. One of his special gifts is the ability to help students overcome handicaps and autism to become well rounded drummers. He has a passion and love for his artistry and throughout 11 years has combined his love of Christ and drumming becoming a well recognized music ministry drummer and percussionist. His two passions were used by Integrity music when recording Israel Houghton's New Generation album in Spanish. He was hired to record over the original tracks to give them a real Latin flavor. Israel was so inspired that he joined in on one song and played djembe! Roberto is of Cuban decent and has a significantly different approach to rhythm than most. "I believe that all drummers must learn the basics but I start with the student’s natural time signature and build from there. It is a very different approach. Many students have a natural ability to play in 3 or 6, many also are natural players in 4/4. I don’t want to force any student to follow a specific agenda. My agenda is always to fulfill my responsibility and teach each student as a unique and totally original, God created person. As in music, teaching several students is like improvisational jazz or free form fusion. You inspire creativity and have an endless supply of rhythms and chops. I do not conform to a teaching method. We all learn differently and at different paces. Most importantly, my classes are fun, and will challenge the most experienced of drummers."