Do-it-all Dylan

Involved senior to perform at Carnegie Hall


Saahir Mawani

Senior Dylan Khangsar performs his spring solo for the percussion class. Most students in the percussion section have to learn at least one keyboard solo and one snare solo per year, yet Khangsar has learned two keyboard solos a year for the past two years.

It’s naptime for the band. The members are catching up on rest after performing their marching show “Penstriped” for the first time that competition day, and trying to recover from a 4 A.M. call time. Sleeping bags line the gym, however, one light glows in the dark: junior Dylan Khangsar is texting fellow band member Isabella Nations about that weekend’s AP Chemistry homework.  

Now a senior, Khangsar is part of the wind symphony band, has the center marimba position during marching season, is an officer in the band, is a part of the TMEA all-state band, is the president of Spanish National Honor Society and is in the top 2% of his class. All of these accomplishments may seem impossible, especially for a band student, but PSAT and English II teacher Kate Mayo said Khangsar is able to keep up with all of it.

“[Band kids] get so bogged down in what’s required of them and their schedule,” Mayo said. “[Khangsar] was still making time for things he wanted to do in addition to the things he was required to do — and that’s a rare skill.”

Along with the usual requirements that come with being a student in the band, Khangsar also took on another task: he did a virtual submission for the American Protege International Music Competition (APIMC) last year. He said he recorded multiple times over multiple weeks, knowing he made mistakes in each take.

“I knew I could keep re-recording and keep trying to get better takes,” Khangsar said. “There were mistakes in [the submission] that I definitely could have made better, but [the] recording process was really long and gruesome.”

Senior Dylan Khangsar rehearses “DrakkenVuur,” a percussion ensemble that the percussion section will be performing at their annual section concert. This is Khangsar’s seventh year of having a formal education in percussion.
(Saahir Mawani)

Khangsar was in full swing of marching band season when he found out he won the competition on Nov. 4, 2022, after just having gotten back on the bus from one of his final competitions in San Antonio. 

“I felt on top of the world for like 30 minutes, and it was mostly because I found out right after one of many marching band competitions,” Khangsar said. “I was super tired and I checked my phone and I got an email. I freaked out for 30 minutes, and then I took a nap.” 

The APIMC has many talented winners, some who even went on to appear on “The Ellen Show” and the “Little Big Shots” show with Steve Harvey. Khangsar marks the 12th year of winners of the International Music Competition. He is one out of six winners from Texas, the only first place winner in the state and the only Texan winner from Lewisville. Khangsar’s close friend, Nations, said he didn’t make a big deal about the win. 

“Dylan’s a very humble person, so he was very casual about it, and I was like, ‘Dylan this is not a small thing,’” Nations said. “I was so proud of him. [It] just ties back into his go-getting [personality].”

While Khangsar has made many strides, he said it didn’t always come easy. The titles he earned came with many sacrifices, some of personal hobbies. 

“I think the first big sacrifice that I made for band was in seventh or eighth grade, when I had to quit gymnastics [once] I knew that I wanted to do marching band,” Khangsar said. “Honestly, there will always be a part of me that wishes that I kept doing gymnastics”

Music holds a deep sentimental meaning to Khangsar. He said he uses music as a mask to convey emotions he can’t say with his words, as well as to express precision and meticulously perform each note. 

“We’re all unique individuals and we all get to have our own little touch of nuances,” Khangsar said. “[We get to express] our own point of view and how we approach our instruments, [and] I think you have so much room to make music what you want it to be. It’s so important to really embrace those feelings, [and] that’s what I love about music — getting to play the stuff I like to play.”