Draylen Mason had already played his way into a selective Texas music school before he was killed by a package bomb left outside of his Austin home two weeks ago. Now comes the heartbreaking news that he had also been accepted into another one.
Mason, a talented 17-year-old bass player, was accepted into the Oberlin Conservatory of Music earlier this month, before he was killed on March 12.
Michael Manderen, the Ohio school’s admissions director, said Mason was offered one of 130 spots available at the school this fall, out of a total of 1,500 applicants.
“It is tragic that he could very well have been one of those select incoming students,” Manderen says. “This is so sad, and our hearts go out to the family and community.”
Mason did not know about his acceptance into the program prior to his death, but would have received notice of his admission late last week, Manderen says.
The conservatory has been in communication with Mason’s bass teacher in Austin, Manderen said, and is planning a memorial of some type for Mason and his family at a later date.
Mason had already been accepted into the selective Butler School of Music at the University of Texas at Austin, CNN affiliate KXAN reported.
He was the “most remarkable talent in a most remarkable youth orchestra program called Austin Sound Waves,” said Doug Dempster, dean of the College of Fine Arts at UT Austin.
The Austin Sound Waves program offers free music instruction to artistically under-served children.
“At Sound Waves performances one could often see him leaning in to lead and coach younger and more tentative players,” Dempster told KXAN. “His gentle confidence seemed to come from a conviction that hard work and talent was going to work for him. It did.”
Panic and mayhem
Mason was one of two people killed this month in a wave of package bombings that terrified Austin.
Anthony Stephan House, a senior project manager at a Texas limestone supplier, also died in the explosions.
After nearly three weeks of panic and mayhem, police last week cornered the man they described as the serial bomber — 23-year-old Mark Anthony Conditt. When SWAT officers approached his SUV, Conditt blew himself up in a ditch outside Austin.