KMFA, Austin’s classical music radio station, will name the 135-seat music studio in its new building for Draylen Mason, the 17-year-old instrumentalist and composer who was a victim of the 2018 package bombings in Austin.
KMFA president and general manager Ann Hume Wilson made the announcement Oct. 28 at an event announcing the organization’s $13.5 million “Dear Music” capital campaign to fund the construction of its new 20,000-square-foot building, already under construction.
“KMFA watched (Mason) grow musically, and we all recognized his shining potential,” said Wilson.
A bassist, Mason played in the Austin Soundwaves youth music program which performed for an on-air program at KMFA. At the time of his death, Mason was involved with the Austin Youth Orchestra, Austin Chamber Music Center, the UT String Project and Golden Hornet’s Young Composers program. He had been accepted by music programs at the University of Texas, University of North Texas and the Oberlin Conservatory of Music.
“KMFA being able to honor Draylen Mason says that classic music really is a universal language,” she explained. “And our mission is to make it as accessible as possible.”
Draylen’s mother, Shamika Wilson, who was also injured in the March 2018 bombing, was at the event and recalled her son as someone with a passion to inspire others to discover music. “He always took his energy and channeled it into something positive,” Wilson said.
More than 150 donors contributed to the Draylen Mason Music Studio including Lynne Dobson and Greg Wooldridge, the McCormick Family, Margaret and Michael Miller, Nancy Wilson Scanlan, Eva and Marvin Womack and grants from the Georgia B. Lucas Foundation Fund at Austin Community Foundation, The Joe B. and Louise P. Cook Foundation, The EGF Charitable Fund, The Link Foundation and the Still Water Foundation.
The Draylen Mason Music Studio, which will host public concerts, is the centerpiece of KMFA’s stand-alone building, the first permanent home for the 52-year-old classic music station. Once built, it will arguably be the only of its kind in the United States for any non-profit radio station.
Related read: KMFA 89.5 to build new permanent home
To date KMFA has raised $7.3 million or 53% of its $13.5 million goal. The “Dear Music” campaign covers $10 million for building construction, long-term maintenance of the new facility as well as monies for the KMFA Permanent Endowment Fund.
KMFA’s new free-standing building is already under construction at the corner of Haskell and Comal streets, part of The Hatchery, a mixed-use development surrounding the RBJ Center senior housing tower on Lady Bird Lake.
Newly released interior renderings show street-level windows that will allow public views of the broadcasting studio. The station’s features such as its library and its massive server will be revealed through interior windows.
Related: KMFA commissions a sound garden from artist Steve Parker