HARLINGEN —Christopher Sanchez recently took listeners to another planet with his voice and stage magnetism.
Sanchez, 21, a third-semester Auto Collision Technology major at Texas State Technical College in Harlingen, played a keyboard and sang “Drops of Jupiter” by Train and won the Texas Music Café and Texas State Technical College’s Talent Search on Friday, June 17, at TSTC in Waco.
As the winner, the Combes resident received a $5,000 recording contract and the opportunity to perform on a future Texas Music Café show.
Some of the tracks Sanchez will record with the contract will be featured on Texas Music Cafe’s radio show and web site.
“I didn’t stress myself about it,” Sanchez said shortly after being announced the winner. “The contest reminded me of when I would play with some of my bands in high school.”
Twenty-six students competed in area Talent Search contests throughout the spring in Abilene, Harlingen, Marshall and Waco.
A relative encouraged Sanchez to sign up for the Harlingen competition, where he sang and played Kings of Leon’s “Use Somebody.”
“What was surprising is the level of talent we found,” said Chris Ermoian, Texas Music Café’s executive producer and a former instructor of television production at TSTC in Waco. “TSTC is not a music school, but the intent of the contest was about having fun.”
Sanchez was chosen for the Texas Music Educators Association’s All-State Choir for three years while he attended Harlingen High School, where he graduated in 2013.
He began piano lessons when he was 6 and played periodically throughout school.
“It was something to do for fun and to feel how to perform for people,” he said.
Sanchez had another accomplishment recently — he earned a black belt in Goju-Ryu karate. He has been taking karate lessons since he was 8.
“The music and martial arts is my yin and yang,” he said. “Music is my spiritual outlet. I like to train and stay in shape.”
Sanchez is the second generation in his family to attend TSTC. His father, Marco Sanchez, studied Auto Body Technology and graduated in the late 1970s.
When Sanchez was growing up, his father worked in auto body shops, management and appraising.
After graduation in December, Sanchez wants to pursue music opportunities as they arise and work for his family’s company, Property Damage Appraisers Inc., in Combes.
He ultimately wants to take over the business so his father can retire.
“In being around that all my life, it’s always going to be part of me,” the TSTC student said.
Texas Music Café is available on selected PBS stations but is not currently aired on KMBH HD in the Rio Grande Valley.