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Here Are Your 2019 Sounds Like KPAC Winners

“Like trying to choose among equals,” was how one of the judges at this year’s Sounds Like KPAC event described the competition.

Middle and high school students from across the KPAC listening area brought their talents to McAllister Auditorium on January 26, 2019 for the fifth annual program, featuring solo and ensemble performances, plus a juried art show, and written word entries for everyone in attendance to read, all inspired by the classical music heard on Texas Public Radio’s KPAC 88.3 FM.

Dr. Lindsay Irvin, a champion of the event and backer of the prize monies distributed to winners of the competition, told the crowd from the stage:

“This is a real honor to be in your presence. I'm so grateful for the choices you have made, because we have all been the beneficiaries of that, this afternoon. So to quote one of my favorite authors, and one of my favorite characters, Dumbledore once said, ‘It is not our abilities that define us. It is our choices.’ And you have chosen to engage with music. And that is never, never a mistake. I've been a pediatrician 20 years, and I think that oboes and saxophones and violins should be distributed in the nursery at birth! It is never a mistake to choose music. And one of the reasons I love this competition is I want to inspire students to engage with music, because I feel we don't get to the end of our lives and wish we had made less music. It's always the right choice.”

The First Place winners in each category were:


Nicholas Garcia-Hettinger, Brandeis HS


Saxalorian Quartet, Churchill HS


Sydney Alexander, Boerne Champion HS


Daniel Wang, Health Careers HS

All of the musical performances, as well as interviews with select contestants, will be broadcast on KPAC 88.3 FM on Saturday, March 2 at 7 p.m. on “Performance Saturday,” Texas Public Radio’s weekly showcase of great performances from the stages of south central Texas. You can hear the music now in the Soundcloud link below.

The First Place winners in each category were awarded a $1,000 cash prize, funded by the Flohr Foundation and Dr. Lindsay Irvin of Alamo Heights Pediatrics, with additional support from the Hart-Sheehy Fund, and Dr. Jatin Patel with Alamo Children's Heart Center. First Place winners also received a year’s supply of Whataburger, courtesy of the San Antonio-based chain, which elicited a loud “oooooh” from the audience!

Credit William Timmerman / 500px.com/goldenstar365
First place in the Visual Art category, Sydney Alexander displays her photography, inspired by a Mozart piano concerto.

Second and Third Place winners in the Solo Musician category were Louis Geer and Lisa Kazami. Second and Third Place winners in the Ensemble Musician category were the Quid Nunc Saxophone Quartet and the Numinous Quartet. Second and Third Place winners in the Visual Art category were Joanna Cao and Simran Patel. Second and Third Place winners in the Written Word category were Selah Flores and Sunny Vuong.

Congratulations to all of the winners!

SOUNDS LIKE KPAC was sponsored by Antonio Strad Violin, the Estate Sale Gallery at Los Patios, and San Antonio College.

The final round was adjudicated by Aaron Prado, pianist and educator, Deborah MartinSan Antonio Express-News arts writer, and TPR's Norma Martinez.


“The Battle”
By Daniel Wang
Inspired by Beethoven’s “Sonata in f minor, Op. 2, No. 1, Mvt. 4”

The foggy, obscure night unsettled
Three-chorded clanks of metal on metal
Courageous soldiers and glinting swords
Sprinting triplets racing through the woods
Stinging fires pierce the clouded sky
Cannonballs’ dark whistling pummels the earth
The enemy falls back
Regrouping to attack
A lull in battle, peace reigns
Before the sounds begin again

The grim, ashen combat space
Once an innocent, noble place
Where people lived, and children played
In the sweet sun of day
Sleepy, lulling beats of life
Quiet, no signs of strife
When a violent storm unleashed upon the land
Bitter darkness, the warm light ceased
Scattered, shattered, remnants now lie
Relics from an age gone by

The struggle rages like an inferno
Warriors clash in a new key with fresh energy
Blocking, striking, darting, dodging, ducking
Gritted teeth and widened eyes
Swords dancing the terrible dance of death
Seeking a gap, an opening in the defenses
Now beams break through the clouds
Mist clears and dawn breaks to see
Red-stained dirt and stiffening bodies
Heroes victorious.

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.