FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas -- Music and voices filled the Hacienda Recreation Center June 9, as service members performed in the BOSS Festival of the Arts U.S. Army Competition.

This year’s event, titled “A Musical Splendor” and directed and produced by Ben Paniagua, featured 18 acts with 16 performers, including singers, a saxophonist and even a mentalist making their grand debuts.

“It was great. Everything fell into place,” said Paniagua, who last year garnered six awards for his show and his performers. “I thought the service members were magnificent.”

The Festival of the Arts is the Army’s annual celebration of theater, art and music. Awards go out to the top three winners in theater, music and special event categories. Top artists are noticed and selected to join Family and MWR’s entertainment programs such as the U.S. Army Soldier Show.

The competition, established to recognize and encourage distinguished achievement in entertainment and recreation, pits local performers against a global talent pool including 18 military installations.

Sgt. Tony Cooper, a vocalist with the 232nd Medical Brigade Band, has been performing all his life. The Festival of the Arts offered a great stage for his talents.

“I really enjoyed the venue,” said Cooper, who was dressed in white from head to toe including a slightly tilted fedora. “The stage was great. It was a wonderful place to perform.”

Cooper mellowed the crowd with his soulful rendition of James Brown’s “It’s a Man’s World.”

Winners of the worldwide competition will be announced at the end of September.