Students across Kerrville received a special visit from Robert Earl Keen on Friday as he handed out awards for this year’s “What Does Music Look Like?” competition.
The program, which has been a staple in the community for 12 years, challenges students to draw what they think music would look like.
On Friday, Keen visited Tivy High School, Hal Peterson Middle School and B.T. Wilson Sixth Grade campus to talk with the kids who participated in the contest.
“The idea here is to combine the visual arts with music,” Keen said. “When you think about art, and you play instruments, you’re pretty much using the same side of your brain — which is the part of the brain that gets you away from all your problems.”
At Hal Peterson, almost 30 kids participated in the contest. First place went to to Ellie Harper, who received a guitar signed by Keen. Second place was awarded to Alice Love and third place went to Aowynn Asher.
Every year, there is a new theme for the contest, which works in conjunction with the Hill Country Youth Orchestras. This year’s theme was Celtic music.
“It is primarily based on playing short, very memorable tunes, and is very rhythmic,” Keen said.
The local musician said he has a passion for HCYO.
Thirteen years ago, he started hosting a concert fundraiser as a way to help the organization to continue to offer free music lessons to area kids.
“I really like what they’re doing,” he said.
From the start of school in the fall to the end of school in the summer, youngsters ages 6 and older can take up a cello, violin, bass or viola.
“They teach you how to read music, how to play an instrument,” he said. “But most importantly, they teach you how to play with other people.”
The art entries from each school that won first, second, third place and honorable mention will be on display at Kerr Arts and Cultural Center through Feb. 23.
The artwork will then be put on display in the lobby of the Cailloux Theater during the Robert Earl Keen Concert on Feb. 23. The concert will feature special guests the Quebe Sisters and a special appearance by the Hill Country Youth Orchestras, and all proceeds will go to HCYO.
The winners of the contest are:
Tivy High School
First place, Peyton Torkelson
Second place, Blake Heuser
Third place, Ella O’Donnell.
Honorable Mentions: Samantha Bass; Bonnie Lee; Zora Weaverling; Victoria Castillo.
Hal Peterson Middle School
First place, Ellie Harper
Second place, Alice Love
Third place, Aowynn Asher
Honorable Mentions: Stella Hendricks; Kellan Sawyer; Jacob Loa-Nelson; Chuck Delgado.
First place, Azure Anderson
Second Place, Mia Rodriguez
Third Place, Peyton Lane
Honorable Mentions: Hannah Hood; Isabel Venegas; Hollie Lehmann; Briana Perez.