Texas A&M To Host Music Activities Center Grand Opening Aug. 30
After more than 25 years of planning and 20 months of construction, Texas A&M University will host the grand opening of a new Music Activities Center on Friday, Aug. 30 from 3-5 p.m.
The event will feature comments from university officials including The Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp, Texas A&M President Michael K. Young and other dignitaries. Student musicians who are part of the university’s bands, orchestras and choral groups will perform throughout the event, and a private ceremony will honor those whose donations made the building possible.
Following the ceremony, the Singing Cadets will hold its first concert of the year in the center’s choral rehearsal hall.
A symbol of music on the Texas A&M campus
Texas A&M broke ground on the John D. White ’70 – Robert L. Walker ’58 Music Activities Center in September 2017 after securing a $20 million financial commitment from the university and then leading a successful fundraising campaign that raised $21.4 million from former students and other supporters.
Texas A&M contributed $10 million and the Division of Student Affairs paid $10 million, which included funds from the Department of Residence Life and University Center & Special Events.
The Texas A&M Department of Music Activities, which is part of the Division of Student Affairs, contracted SpawGlass and numerous specialized subcontractors to build a space that not only meets the needs of its users, but rivals the quality of any university music facility in the United States.
The 70,000-square-foot building includes four state-of-the-art rehearsal halls acoustically designed for the unique needs of 1,300 Texas A&M students who are part of orchestras, choral groups and bands. There are a few dozen soundproof practice rooms, storage for hundreds of instruments, group archival rooms, choir offices, administrative office wings for both the bands and choral staff, a reception area and a student lounge. Custom wall graphics pay tribute to the history and traditions of Texas A&M musical groups, including:
- Fightin’ Texas Aggie Band
- Texas A&M Wind Symphony
- Texas A&M Jazz Ensembles
- Symphonic Winds, Symphonic Concert Band and Concert Band
- University Orchestras
- Aggieland Orchestra
- Singing Cadets
- Century Singers
- Women’s Chorus
Additionally, crews built a perfect replica of Kyle Field made out of turf meant to last much longer than the Fightin’ Texas Aggie Band’s previous drill field, which did not fare well under the precision turns of bandsmen and women.
“Everything in the building is state of the art, from the soundproof rehearsal environments, to the audio visual package, to the turf drill field,” Dr. Tim Rhea, director of Music Activities and Bands, said. “All safety, storage, and acoustical issues of our former facilities have been solved with the construction of this center.”
The new center will replace the 50-year-old E.V. Adams Band Hall and the Choral Activities Suite located in the Memorial Student Center, which these performing groups have outgrown. Due to safety concerns, the 300-plus member Fightin’ Texas Aggie Band has not been able to rehearse in the Adams Band Hall for several years. Additionally, the building lacks adequate performing and storage space for musical groups that are growing in popularity on campus.
“We now have great spaces to hang out before and after rehearsals,” said Rachel Hampi ’20, a senior in the Symphonic Winds and a student employee for Music Activities. “This space is a great way for students from our different ensembles to meet and talk about school and music. It means a lot to me, and I know it will make my work for the department more efficient.”
Texas A&M students from all majors and disciplines may participate and perform in musical groups.
“This new building is an adventure as the choir moves into a new space, learns to adapt to changes, and gains the opportunity to rehearse in a more comfortable space,” said Robby Reyes ‘20, president of the Century Singers. “The ensemble and practice rooms will allow more students to practice their craft without interruption. I’m excited that the Century Singers will have our own storage closet, and a larger rehearsal room gives us the chance to expand the choir due to the previous lack of space.”
An investment in the future
Numerous individuals and groups, headlined by the Corpus Christi-based Ed Rachal Foundation, which provided the $10 million cornerstone gift to the project, joined forces with Texas A&M to make the center a reality.
In recognition of two dedicated Aggies’ years of service to Texas A&M and the Rachal Foundation, the new facility will bear the names of John D. White ’70 and Robert L. Walker ’58.
Naming rights provided in recognition of other key leadership gifts include:
- Dunlap Drill Field in honor of Anne and Dave Dunlap ’83
- The Elizabeth A. and Paul H. Motheral ’52 Rehearsal Hall made possible by Elizabeth and Haskell Motheral ’52
- The Patricia C. and Weldon D. Kruger ’53 Plaza recognizing Patricia and Weldon Kruger ’53
- The Dorothy and Artie McFerrin ’65 Heritage Hall, made possible by Dorothy McFerrin
Additionally, nearly 50 other naming gifts, ranging between $25,000-$250,000, were provided by individuals, families, groups and affiliate organizations.
Many gifts that support the center pay tribute to family members, friends, classmates and Music Activities staff. The names of those who funded gifts and those they honor are engraved on structural pillars around the building, fence pillars surrounding the drill field and on custom-designed plaques on interior and exterior spaces, such as practice rooms, throughout the building.
Those who are interested in creating their own gift in support of Texas A&M music activities, naming opportunities including rehearsal spaces, student and staff offices and suites, and building and drill field pillars still remain.
For more information about how to support future generations of Aggie musicians and secure naming rights for one or more areas of the facility, contact Senior Director of Development Matt Jennings by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 979-845-7604. Give online at give.am/SupportAggieMusic.