AUSTIN, Texas (FOX 7 Austin) - In March of 2018, the City of Austin and surrounding areas were plagued by a series of bombings. Draylen Mason was one of those victims.
The 17-year-old was an avid cellist and had big dreams.
“Draylen wanted to be a musician, be a music major I know. He also was talking about majoring in neuroscience,” said Patrick Slevin, executive director, Austin Soundwaves.
In Draylen's honor, Austin Soundwaves, the group he was a part of, formed the Draylen Mason Fellows Program. “The Draylen Mason Fellows Program is our humble way to honor this student who was such an integral part of our program, someone we saw every day and worked with so closely," explains Oatrick Slevin. "We wanted to provide an opportunity for high school musicians, but we also wanted to provide a program that would instill a lot of values special to Draylen so being active in the community and fighting for social justice."
The fellows are selected through an application process, then they receive a stipend, meet once a month for workshops with local activists, poets and artists who help inspire their songwriting process.
Thursday night is the first ever performance for the program. “Even though we are all super different and come from different backgrounds and schools and things like that, we still related to one another as I've noticed, like during our songwriting,” said Sarah Chu. McNeil High School student.
The concert will feature some original songs written by the students, as well as a spoken word performance. Slevin says the goal is to build connections, bridge gaps, and address social injustice through music. All things Draylen would’ve done in his life if it were not for his untimely death.
“Draylen was someone very important to me and I think very important to our school and like the community. He did a lot and he was very caring,” said Barbara Reyes, East Austin College Prep.
The concert will be held at Creative Action at 7:30 Thursday, May 30.