Texas A&M Celebrates Opening Of Music Activities Center

Texas A&M University - Caitlin Clark

Stepping into the E.V. Adams Band Hall for the first time as a student nearly 45 years ago, Brig. Gen. Joe E. Ramirez said he remembers being amazed by the facility and the opportunities that would be available to him as a member of the Fightin’ Texas Aggie Band. Returning some 30 years later, he joked that not even a doorknob had been hung since he left.

Speaking Friday inside the John D. White ’70 – Robert L. Walker ’58 Music Activities Center on the Texas A&M University campus, Ramirez, who is now commandant of the Corps of Cadets, said the former band hall’s best days had come and gone, and the much-needed new building can now serve as a home for all students involved in Texas A&M’s bands, orchestras and choral groups.

Texas A&M Foundation President Tyson Voelkel — another former Aggie bandsman — noted during the building’s grand opening ceremony that music has the unique ability to bring together the past and the present. While the Elizabeth A. and Paul H. Motheral ’52 Rehearsal Hall can for the first time comfortably fit all 356 members of the Aggie Band, the room was packed with the hundreds of student musicians, former students, donors and community members who gathered for the ceremony. It would not have been possible without the cooperation of donors who raised more then $20 million through private philanthropy for the facility, Voelkel said.

“We are just thrilled to be able to formally cut the ribbon on a building like this,” said University President Michael K. Young.

The university broke ground on the project at George Bush Drive and Coke Street in September 2017. Texas A&M and the Division of Student Affairs contributed $10 million each for a total project cost of about $40 million. Young said the Music Activities Center is a reflection of how important music is to Texas A&M, both as part of the educational process and as a medium that creates lasting friendships between students.

Kayleigh Thomas, vice president of the Women’s Chorus, said the Music Activities Center most of all represents an opportunity for student musicians. And Andrew Lim, the combined artillery band commander, said bringing all students in Music Activities together under one roof will allow them to develop a community “that will change all our lives.”

The cornerstone $10 million gift came from the Ed Rachal Foundation. The building’s namesakes, John D. White ’70 and Robert L. Walker ’58, also attended the ceremony.

Timothy Rhea, director of bands and music activities, said 1,300 students will use the 70,000 square-foot facility, which features four soundproof rehearsal halls, 32 individual practice rooms, administrative offices, a student lounge and the Dunlap Drill Field, a 100-yard artificial turf field that replaces the Haney Drill Field.

Vice President for Student Affairs Daniel Pugh said it’s “the best in class music center in this country” that now matches the quality of the students it will serve. Elaine Mendoza, chairman of the Texas A&M University System Board of Regents, similarly said that “it’s about time,” with the university’s talented musicians being deserving of a state-of-the-art building.

“It demonstrates our commitment to student musicians and immense gratitude for the pride they give Aggies everywhere every day,” Mendoza said.

  • : Texas A&M University - Caitlin Clark