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Woodward fifth grader 4th in national contest
The cover of one of Lucia Barragan’s recordings. - photo by Photo Contributed
Ten-year-old Lucia Barragan won fourth place and a cash prize of $800 over the weekend at a national songwriting contest held in San Antonio, Texas.

The Walter Woodward Elementary School fifth grader was the only child and the youngest contestant in the competition which included veteran and seasoned professional singers and composers of national and international caliber, said the young musician’s mother Ivy Barragan.

With that impressive lineup of contenders, Barragan and her husband Fernando held little hope for their daughter to place at all.

“She didn’t think she was going to win; we didn’t think she was going to win,” said a still overwhelmed Ivy Barragan on Monday.

So when they announced her name for the fourth prize, “We were just kind of, like, oh, my gosh! We didn’t go there to win. I took her (to the competition) because we believe in the cause,” she said.

As for little Lucia, “She just didn’t know how to react. It was late (past her bedtime), but she was very happy,” her mother said.

The song that Lucia composed for the contest was “Paloma La Paz,” which means Peaceful Dove in English. She also wrote the English version of it and titled it “Just Show Love.”

All 15 finalists, who were gleaned from the 200 selected artists, performed their own compositions at the competition.

The contest was called, “Sing for Hope & Justice: Providing Information & Advocacy for Immigrants and Their Families Most in Need of Hope and Justice.” It specifically targeted the Arizona anti-immigrant law that was recently passed as well as “the tide of similar legislation that is spreading throughout the nation,” stated the information in the contest’s web site.

Lucia wrote her song in June while listening to a program on the radio, her mother said.

“She was listening to the radio and was not happy with one of the politicians who was saying illegals are criminals. So she started asking a lot of questions to her grandfather, my dad, who is German but he likes to read a lot and he understands a lot of the problem. So she put together a very simple song that she called, ‘Just Show Love.’ When I showed this song to some people, they cried. There’s something about this song that just touches people. She’s not a professional but there’s something special about her song that people felt when they heard it, and that’s probably why she won.”

Lucia has been having music lessons for only four years. She started just before her sixth birthday at Janis Music in Manteca with Christophi Hogan as her teacher. Born with a natural talent, she went on to accomplish a lot of things in that short period of time.

When she was seven years old, she was selected as lead singer for the Living Miracle Production in San Francisco. In a Tenderloin Christmas event at the City by the Bay, she was “an angel soloist” singing “Silent Night.” In a “Song of Bernadette” production, also in San Francisco, directed by Patrick Flanagan, Lucia sang several songs including “Salve Regina,” “Hail Mary,” and “Song of Bernadette.”

Since she was six years old, Lucia has also been guided by Randi Linee and Buck Townsend, founder of the Townsend Opera Players in Modesto. She has performed in a number of Townsend Opera Players since she was six, and has appeared in numerous theaters including the Gallo Arts Center in Modesto. At the Gallo last year, she was in “Pagliacci,” “Amahl and the Night Visitors,” and the “Opera Gala.”

Learned to sing
in multi languages
“She has learned to sing in several languages such as German, Italian, Latin and Spanish,” Ivy Barragan said of her daughter’s wide-ranging talents.

Lucia also participated in the Manteca Idol contest for three years. At the Lathrop Idol competition last year during Lathrop Days, she captured second place and a cash award.

At the Manteca Idol last year, she met Mike Torres Jr. of Lathrop’s popular family musical group, The Mike Torres Band.

“She told him that she likes to make up her own songs,” Ivy Barragan recalled.

That meeting resulted in several finished musical projects.

“Their first song was completed before Christmas of 2009 called ‘Oh, Grandpa.’ It is now on iTunes, along with two other songs that she wrote,” said Ivy Barragan who, with her husband, have two older children – Alex, 17, who is a senior, and Sophia, 14, who is a freshman, both at Manteca High.

In May of this year, Lucia produced another song with Torres called “Imagination.” It was made into a music video that was directed by Gabriel Cerda and Shane Williamson and was entered in this year’s Music Festival in Stockton in May. The video won third place.

What’s next for Lucia? Ivy Barragan said that right after the competitions in Texas, people from the Southwest Voter Registration Education Project in Los Angeles requested her daughter to perform there at an event this weekend. However, Ivy Barragan said she was “not really sure” if they will be able to attend.

And what are they going to do with Lucia’s winnings from the Texas competition?

“We’re just going to put it in her bank account for college,” Ivy Barragan said.