May 14, 2018

Construction on the John D. White ’70 – Robert L. Walker ’58 Music Activities Center, a new facility that will join the university bands and choral activities programs under one roof, is well underway on the south side of campus.

The campaign for the new building began in 2015 with Texas A&M University agreeing to split the center’s $40 million price tag with the Texas A&M Foundation. The project’s lead donor was the Corpus Christi-based Ed Rachal Foundation, which gave $10 million to name the building. Although the Foundation has successfully attained its goal of raising $20 million in commitments from former students and friends of Texas A&M, it is seeking an additional $2 million in commitments to address the rise in construction costs and fully meet the needs of student musicians for decades to come. If funding is not completed, a loan will need to be taken out, requiring annual payments and interest that will add to the project’s cost.

There are still naming opportunities available for individuals to fund a space, room or pillar inside or outside the building; matching gifts from employers can double, triple or even quadruple the size of commitments. With your help, music education at Texas A&M will be transformed.

The support of this project by everyone involved speaks volumes to the important role that our student musical groups provide to the university and our community,” said Dr. Timothy Rhea, director of bands and music activities. “The Music Activities Center will provide them a home for many years into the future.”

Take a Tour Through the New Facility

A Strong Musical Tradition

From football games to formal concerts, Texas A&M has a rich musical tradition, one that includes a wide variety of performances and covers a diverse set of genres. The orchestras, choirs and Fightin’ Texas Aggie Band keep the beat and pulse of Texas A&M alive.

“Most notably, the new center will allow us to bring together all the bands, choirs and orchestras under one roof to learn and grow musically, in addition to academically,” said Dr. Rhea.

The new Music Activities Center at Texas A&M University will join the university bands and choral activities programs under one roof.

Following many months of design, actual construction on the 70,000-square foot facility began on Sept. 8, 2017, and is expected to wrap up near the end of summer 2019 so that students can begin using the facility in fall 2019. The speed of construction is picking up tempo: Most underground utility work has been completed, and construction has progressed to the pouring of concrete slabs and steel assembly as of March.

Located on the corner of George Bush Drive and Coke Street, the resource-efficient, silver-certified LEED design will provide plenty of room for future growth, which is in step with Rhea’s vision of a new era of excellence for Aggie musicians.

Uniting the Sound of Aggieland

The Music Activities Center will house the following musical groups at Texas A&M:

  • The Fightin' Texas Aggie Band
  • Wind Symphony
  • Symphonic Winds
  • Symphonic Band
  • Concert Band
  • Sponsored Student Music Ensembles
  • Jazz Ensemble I
  • Jazz Ensemble II
  • Aggieland Orchestra
  • Singing Cadets
  • Century Singers
  • Women's Chorus
  • Chamber Orchestra
  • Philharmonic Orchestra

“Music is an important part of both our human and our university experiences, and the new center will be like everything Texas A&M does—first class,” he said. Rhea and the six other directors in the Department of Music Activities work to give students opportunities to experience music-making in a sophisticated environment, where skills like teamwork, dedication and accountability are stressed.

In addition to providing a centralized rehearsal space for Texas A&M’s more than 1,300 student musicians, the new center will be a safer place for students, faculty and their instruments. The most concerning deficiency with the E.V. Adams Band Hall, built in 1970, was its noncompliance with disability and fire safety standards.

The new facility will also feature four rehearsal halls with state-of-the-art acoustics and adequate space so that multiple groups can rehearse at once, eliminating scheduling conflicts. Forty soundproof practice rooms, available with after-hours keycard access, will further ensure that students can practice on their own schedule.

Addressing clutter and security issues, the new climate-controlled facility will also contain ample storage for sheet music libraries and instruments, which students will store in individually coded lockers. An instrument repair room is also included. Finally, a 100-yard artificial turf practice field for the Aggie Band will eliminate uneven and unsafe rehearsal conditions.

As a physical testament to the value of an arts education, the Music Activities Center will be a powerful symbol of the university’s musical heritage and will set the tone for the future of the arts program at Texas A&M.

Leave a Musical Legacy

While the Aggie spirit can never be told, it can be heard—through music. If this cause resonates with you, consider giving to the John D. White ’70 – Robert L. Walker ’58 Music Activities Center. Gifts will be recognized in an architectural display reflective of each donor’s commitment to Aggieland. Your support will strengthen the arts core at Texas A&M and ensure a strong Aggie voice for decades to come.