The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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New Music Activities Center to break ground Friday

Photo by Courtesy of Julie Anderson

The Music Activities Center will bring upgrades to the rehearsal halls, key access for extended hours, practice rooms and lockers.

This week, a long time dream for over 20 years will finally become reality for the Music Department at Texas A&M.
The Aggie band has practiced in the E.V. Adams Band Hall since 1970, but now they will have a space to practice inside with the new John D. White ’70 — Robert L. Walker ’58 Music Activities Center. The major improvement will not only affect the Aggie band, but the marching band, four concert bands, two orchestras, three jazz bands and choral groups including Singing Cadets, Century Singers and Women’s Chorus. With a total of $42.5 million, the university and the Texas A&M Foundation are both contributing to the cost. The groundbreaking ceremony will be held Friday.
Director of Bands and Head of Music Activities Timothy Rhea said this building will make history at the university.
“Right now, all of the instrumental groups are here in this building and the choral groups over in the basement of the MSC,” Rhea said. “So this will be the first time we’ve all come together.”
According to Rhea, Adams Band Hall became the practice space in 1970 and since that time, other instrumental and choral groups have developed along with the Aggie band increasing in number. Hindrances in the building such as the lack of a sprinkler system and handicap access have also contributed to the insufficiency.
Travis Almany, director of orchestras and associate director of bands, said the current building would violate fire code if the entire Aggie band practiced together inside and that when it is built, the new building will provide a plethora of opportunities.
“It’s a fantastic opportunity for the students of A&M,” Almany said. “[The band hall] was built for the Aggie band back in the 1970s when the Aggie band was about 250 people and there were no other groups here. And now the Aggie band is 450 people.”
Upgrades within the upcoming Music Activities Center include four soundproof rehearsal halls, key access for extended hours, and individual practice rooms and storage lockers. Rhea said only $3 million is left in funding.
“The university is furnishing $20 million dollars through the President’s Office and the Vice President for Student Affairs, and then the Foundation is raising the rest of the money,” Rhea said. “The last time that I heard, I think we’re about $3 million dollars short and the rest of it we have.”
Agriculture leadership and development junior Aggie band Amber Macha said she is looking forward to the bigger facility that will fit the entire band in one rehearsal hall. She hopes the Music Activities Center will act as a place of solace for students to escape daily pressure through music.
“At least for me, I know band and music has been like a safe haven away from academics and away from the stress of everything,” Macha said. “And so having a new, giant, big facility is a new place for people to congregate to destress from everything.”
Additionally, Rhea said the building will be acoustically designed to meet the needs of each respective musical group.
“It will be a home for all of our student groups, it will be a rehearsal home for them,” Rhea said. “Again, it will have all of the halls that we need for the large groups to practice. It will also have rooms for the small groups to practice and they will have accessibility to it, unlike this building … It really gives them the home they all deserve. That’s really what it is.”
The building will break ground this Friday at 2:30 p.m. on the corner of George Bush Drive and Coke Street and is expected to open fall 2019.

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