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Sounds Like KPAC Celebrates Young Talent

Who knew San Antonio had such talented student artists and musicians? With a wide variety of visual art, from hand-blown glass marbles to paintings to films, and the incredible artistry of the young musicians, the results of the Sounds Like KPAC Talent Competition exceeded even our expectations.

Sounds Like KPAC aimed to recognize and reward accomplishment in music and visual art with more than $8000 in cash and prizes contributed by The Flohr Family Foundation and Dr. Lindsay Irvin of Alamo Heights Pediatrics, Alamo Music Center, The Southwest School of Art, Whataburger and Playhouse San Antonio. TPR staff had the difficult task of narrowing the field of more than 60 entries down to the finalists. In the end, three entries each in the solo and ensemble performance categories and 10 visual arts submissions were selected for the final round of judging.

Credit Melanie Rush Davis
Marybeth McQueen

Nearly 150 people attended the final round of competition at Northwest Vista College’s Palmetto Center for the Arts to watch the performances and the awarding of prizes. Judges for the final round were Matt Evans, Executive Director of Hill Country Youth Orchestra; Aaron Prado of Northwest Vista College; KPAC on-air host Mindy Ratner; Alex Rubio, Blue Star Contemporary Art Museum Artist-in-Residence and Alanna Sarabia of KABB's “Daytime at Nine.”

In addition to the performances and art exhibit, during the judges’ deliberations the audience enjoyed a performance by David Mollenauer, Assistant Principal Cello of the San Antonio Symphony, professor of cello at Trinity University and founding member of the SOLI Chamber Ensemble.

Vocalist Muffin Russell won the solo performance category with her renditions of "Lachen Und Weinen," by Franz Schubert and "LasciaCh'ioPianga," from Handel's opera, Rinaldo. The winning ensemble featured Corry Tu from Marshall High School, Isabel Tweraser from Brandeis High School and Jay High School musicians Kevin Valdez and Isaac Villaroya playing the opening movement of Jean Sibelius “String Quartet No. 1.” Filmmaker Alexia Salingaros of St. Mary’s Hall won the visual art category with her film “Luminosity.”

Credit Melanie Rush Davis
Jetty Crittenden

Many of the students who entered saw Sounds Like KPAC as an opportunity to gain exposure, like artist Jetty Crittenden, a teen art guide at the McNay Art Museum, who said it was “a great way to put my own artwork out there for people to see.” Others saw a chance to share their talents with the community, like Ryan Cao of the Cloud Nine ensemble, who shared his group’s plans: “We want to spread our love of music because music is just liquid emotion.”  

Credit Melanie Rush Davis
Ryan Cao

The competition drew young people who are regularly exposed to classical music, like Marisol de la Garza, who said, “My mom plays TPR every morning. I’ve been hearing it since I was little. She told me about the competition and I thought it would be a great opportunity.”

Other artists were drawn by the inclusion of the visual arts category, including Rex Cole. “My dad put it [information about the competition] up on a board for my brothers and sisters who play a lot of classical musical instruments. I saw it and ‘There’s a visual arts category! That looks so fun! I want to do this!’”

KPAC and Texas Public Radio are committed to the future of the arts in San Antonio and to fostering an ongoing appreciation of classical music. With initiatives like Sounds Like KPAC, it is our hope that the reach of classical music and its benefits can be extended to the next generation of artists, musicians, and to the public. Artist Katrina Shi summed it up nicely when she said, “People who have a good sense of art have a different understanding of certain things, a broader understanding.”

Credit Melanie Rush Davis
Lilith Mezquiti and Jerardo Sanchez

Keeping this in mind, TPR congratulates all the contestants and winners, and we are looking forward to next year’s competition!


1st Place
CorryTu, Marshall High School
Isabel Tweraser, Brandeis High School
Kevin Valdez, Jay High School
Isaac Villaroya, Jay High School

2nd Place
Cloud 9 Quintet
Bailey Boyen, Health Careers High School
Ryan Cao, Health Careers High School
Andrew Durbin, Brandeis High School
Brian Kang, Garcia Middle School
Tricia Park, Brandeis High School

3rd Place
Marshall High School Chamber Ensemble
Edward Diaz-Lopez, Marshall High School
Tiffany Garza, Marshall High School
Joseph Hernandez, Marshall High School
Claire Hernandez-Pike, Marshall High School
Gretchen Noble, Marshall High School
Chelsea Talavera, Marshall High School

1st Place - Muffin Russell, University of Texas at Austin High School
2nd Place - Marybeth McQueen, Tivy High School
3rd Place - Andrew Li , Bush Middle School

1st Place - Alexia Salingaros, St. Mary’s Hall
2nd Place - Jetty Crittenden, Reagan High School
3rd Place - Jerardo Sanchez, Longfellow Middle School
Rex Cole, Marion High School
Mari de la Garza, Alamo Heights High School
Stevanie A.H. Fernandez, Brackenridge High School
Mark Alvarado Garcia, Edison High School
Lilith Mezquiti, Longfellow Middle School
Katrina Shi, Reagan High School
JCWollslager, Steele High School

Carin Lamontagne joined the Texas Public Radio team in October 2012. She graduated from Southwest Texas State University (now Texas State University) in 1996 with a B.A. in history, and she also studied anthropology and vocal music performance.