© 2020 Texas Public Radio
Real. Reliable. Texas Public Radio.
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Sounds Like KPAC Students Shine In Competition


On Saturday, January 23, area middle and high school students took to the stage of the McAllister Auditorium to share sounds, pictures, and words inspired by listening to KPAC 88.3 FM. TPR's annual talent competition featured four categories: Solo Musician, Musical Ensemble, Visual Art, and Written Word. 

In the Solo Musician category, pianist Gabriela Escalante impressed the judges with her fiery performance of Beethoven, and in the Ensemble category, four young men from Reagan High School proved their classical mettle on saxophone, an instrument more commonly associated with jazz and rock. 

Hear all of the student performances below:

Artists from all over the area brought their paintings and drawings inspired by KPAC for display, and a short video by St. Mary's Hall student Alexia Salingaros took top honors in the Visual Arts category. See the video below:

The written category offered six creative interpretations of KPAC, and the winning entry, "Daily Routine," was written by Valeria Chávez, a student at Reagan HS:

An orchestra wakes me up every morning, slowly fading into my ears, urging me to open my eyes and welcome a new day. Instruments include a blaring alarm, constantly hitting the same note, as if unsure if it’s the right one. A buzzing toothbrush delivers a mellow hum throughout my skull, the bass of all the noise.  The birds by the bathroom window and my brother sing, trying to find their perfect pitch, their voices bouncing off the shower walls and into the rest of the house. Downstairs there’s the gyrations of the blender, the sizzling of eggs, and the occasional pop from the toaster followed by the timid shriek of someone who should be accustomed to it by now. There is no organization to it, but it has it’s own syncopated rhythm and inexplicable harmony, never missing a beat. At eight o’clock, I leave the chaotic warm-up and enjoy a brief moment of silence and peace in my little red car. The alarm beeps, the engine’s purr greets me, and the real symphony begins. I flick on the radio and discover where I’ll be traveling today, leaving my world and entering someone else’s. Depending on the soundtrack, I can pretend I’m a young Czarina headed to the premiere of Tchaikovsky's latest work, a princess dancing for the first time with her future prince in an elegant ball gown in a candlelit castle, or a powerful music critic in Los Angeles on my way to watch Gustavo Dudamel conduct the LA Philharmonic. It’s always a surprise, yet it’s always fitting. The right music can set the tone of my entire day. Of course, there are places I prefer to go on my morning commute. I like high-energy, bombastic symphonies that turn the cedar trees into skyscrapers and the traffic lights into marquees. I’m in 1950’s New York, traversing through the music of its Upper West Side. No more a high school student headed to pre-calculus, but a city slicker cruising to the basketball court to join the Sharks and Jets, look for a fight, maybe find myself a Tony, go to a dance, fall in love, and… well, let’s leave it at that. Finger snaps and bassoons guide me down the road, making me feel slick and cool, sliding down the street. Excited trumpets and slinky xylophones pump me up, make me drive a little faster, a little riskier, until the person behind me honks and temporarily removes me from my trance. The music slows as I go up hill, and speeds as I roll back down, not touching the brake, letting gravity and allegros take over. The symphony builds to a forte as I speed towards a traffic light. It turns green as I get closer and the music continues rising. I think I can make it, the drums urge me forward, making me push the gas pedal down, going faster and faster, as the light fades to yellow and the intersection is so close. Tension grows, a fortissimo is brewing. Whistles go off just as I pass the crossroads the moment the light turns red. Sounds explode from the car radio and I heave a breath of excitement and relief. The horns slowly begin to fade, a swanky sound leading me to the school's entrance, leading me back to reality, until the drive back home.

Congratulations to all of our winners, who received cash prizes from these funders:

1st and 2nd place Solo Musician winners Gabriela Escalante (right) and Erin Guetzloe (left) with their teacher, A.J. Collins.

  • Dr. Jatin Patel, Pediatrician
  • Dr. Linda Parsi, Pediatrician
  • Jim Berg
  • Janet Alyn
  • Claire Golden
  • Dr. Lindsay Irvin, Pediatrician with Alamo Heights Pediatrics
  • The Flohr Foundation

 Additional gifts and prizes were supplied by Asel Art for the artists, and gift cards from Alamo Music Center for musicians. All first-place winners also received a year-long supply of Whataburger! Sponsors of Sounds Like KPAC were Texas Lutheran University, the Mid-Texas Symphony, and San Antonio College.


Credit Christina Bender
"Journey of My Heart" (2nd place)

ART (bold indicates winners)

Christina Bender - Brackenridge HS
Trinity Cardenas - BASIS San Antonio North
Zandria Garcia - Poteet Jr. High School
Audrey Kile - Boerne HS
Malaysia Rodriguez - Poteet Jr. High School
Ariana Runner - Young Women's Leadership Academy
Alexia Salingaros - Saint Mary's Hall
Katherine Sweeney - home schooled
Jacqueline Villarreal - Young Women's Leadership Academy

WRITTEN WORD (bold indicates winners)

Credit Ariana Runner
Dawn from "Also Sprach Zarathustra" (3rd Place)

Roberto A. Becerra - Luther Burbank HS
Isaac Villaroya - John Jay HS
Andrea Williams - home school
Valeria Chávez - Ronald Reagan HS
Aubrey C. Harris - home school
Walker Tollett - Boerne Champion HS


Gabriela Escalante - Saint Mary's Hall
Erin Guetzloe - home school
Aaron Walick - Lady Bird Johnson HS


Boyen/Cavazos/Petersen/Zadra quartet - O'Connor HS
Opus Four Quartet - homeschool, Roosevelt HS, Warren HS, Judson Early College Academy
Quid Nunc - Ronald Reagan HS

Nathan has been with TPR since 1995, when he began working on classical music station KPAC 88.3 FM, as host of “Tuesday Night at the Opera.” He soon learned the ropes on KSTX 89.1 FM, and volunteered to work practically any shift that came his way, on either station. He worked in nearly every capacity on the radio before moving into Community Engagement, Marketing, and Digital Media. His reporting and criticism has been honored by the Houston Press Club and Texas Associated Press.