Texas A&M University broke ground on the new $40 million John D. White ’70 – Robert L. Walker ’58 Music Activities Center on Friday, Sept. 8, at 2:30 p.m., at the corner of George Bush Drive and Coke Street in College Station.

“The 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 Texas A&M Director of Bands and Music Activities Timothy Rhea. “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.”

Performances by the Fightin’ Texas Aggie Band and Singing Cadets kicked off the event, and special guests, including The Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp ’72 and Regent Charles Schwartz, and Texas A&M’s President Michael K. Young and Vice President for Student Affairs Daniel J. Pugh, offered remarks about the construction project.

“Music is so fundamental to much of what we do—it is pervasive and woven throughout the life of this institution, and is in so many ways the highest expression of what we are, how we come together and how we understand the world,” said Young in his remarks at the event. “To continue weaving that tradition through this entire institution is an important goal of this new building.”

The new 70,000-square-foot center will accommodate more than 1,300 student musicians who participate in a total of 14 orchestras, choral groups and bands, including the nationally acclaimed Fightin’ Texas Aggie Band.

Most notably, four rehearsal halls with state-of-the-art acoustics will allow various musical groups to rehearse simultaneously; the Aggie Band will rehearse outdoors on a 100-yard artificial turf practice field as well as indoors for the first time in more than six years; the student musicians will have unprecedented access to individual soundproof practice rooms during and after school hours; and the students will have the convenience of ample storage and locker space for their instruments and other necessities. The resource-efficient, silver-certified LEED design, which Brown Reynolds Watford Architects, and Hammel, Green and Abrahamson Inc. collaborated to create, also will provide plenty of room for future growth.

The new music center replaces the E.V. Adams Band Hall, built in 1970, that ceased to adequately house and efficiently service all members of the university’s various musical groups long ago. Construction, conducted by SpawGlass, is expected to wrap up near the end of the summer 2019 semester so that students can begin using the facility in the fall.

“I am excited about the capital projects that are being constructed on the campus,” Sharp said. “This band hall will be worthy of Texas A&M’s choirs, orchestras and bands, including the one band that has never lost a halftime.”

Texas A&M University is funding half of the $40 million project, and the Texas A&M Foundation is funding the other half. The Foundation has already secured more than $19.4 million, including a $10 million naming gift from the Ed Rachal Foundation in Corpus Christi.
 

“Our team is thrilled that after years of planning and creative fundraising, a new John D. White ’70 – Robert L. Walker ’58 Music Activities Center is going to become a reality for Texas A&M University students,” said Pugh. “This groundbreaking is further proof of the incredible loyalty and generosity of our former students and organizations such as the Ed Rachal Foundation. It’s also indicative of the commitment of The Texas A&M University System and university leadership to our student musical groups, which deserve such a state-of-the-art facility in which to rehearse and perform.”

David ’83 and Anne Dunlap of The Woodlands received special recognition at the ceremony as generous donors. Both David Dunlap, CEO of Superior Energy Services, and his father played the trombone in the Aggie Band, and he credited their experiences, at least in part, to their successes later in life.

“When people not familiar with Texas A&M see and hear the Aggie Band, they are amazed and they always remember them,” said Dunlap. “As great ambassadors of Texas A&M, the Aggie Band deserves the new drill field, and we are proud to participate.”

Paul Haskell ’52 and Elizabeth Motheral of Spicewood also were honored at the event for their generous financial contributions to the center.

“I played the clarinet and the saxophone in all the musical groups when I was in school at Texas A&M, and nurturing both my creative and analytical sides greatly helped me build my career as a civil engineer,” said Haskell, retired chairman of Valley Caliche Products Inc. “For many decades, my wife and I have been promoting the combination of the performing arts with science and engineering, the right and left sides of the brain, through scholarships for musicians to study engineering and engineers to exercise and expand their musical skills.”

Marching Onward

An additional $515,000 is still needed to meet the project’s $20 million fundraising goal through the Texas A&M Foundation. An additional $2.5 million will also be needed for project overages and maintenance. Your support can help us construct this grand facility and transform music education at Texas A&M.

Naming opportunities are available for you or your loved ones to fund a space, room or pillar inside or outside the building. Matching gifts from your employer could double, triple or quadruple the size of your gift.

To contribute a major gift of $25,000 or more to the Music Activities Center, contact Cindy Munson ’99, senior director of major gifts, at cmunson@txamfoundation.com or 979-845-7558. Give online at give.am/SupportAggieMusic.

  • Striking Successful Chords

    Resource-efficient and state-of-the-art, the Music Activities Center is a groundbreaking facility to foster artistic excellence at Texas A&M University.
  • Practice Makes Perfect

    Four rehearsal halls with state-of-the-art acoustics will allow various musical groups to rehearse simultaneously.
  • Refined and Rehearsed

    Student musicians will have unprecedented access to soundproof practice rooms during and after school hours with plenty of room to refine their craft.
  • A New Home

    A total of 14 orchestras, choral groups and bands, including the nationally acclaimed Fightin’ Texas Aggie Band, will be housed in the center.
  • First Class Sound

    The facility hopes to provide a transformational music education experience for all students who visit the center.
  • Room for Creativity

    The new 70,000-square-foot center will accommodate more than 1,300 student musicians.
  • Noble Men of Kyle

    The Fightin' Aggie Band will rehearse outdoors on a 100-yard artificial turf practice field as well as indoors for the first time in more than six years.
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