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About The Draylen Mason Fellowship

First and foremost, everyone at Austin Soundwaves and El Sistema USA would like to thank you – our community, family, and friends – for the incredible outpouring of support that you have shown to honor the memory of Draylen Mason.

Thanks to you, the Draylen Mason Memorial Fund has raised more than $140,000.

The Draylen Mason Fellows Program is a full-scholarship initiative of Austin Soundwaves designed to honor the legacy of Draylen Mason and help further the musical and personal development of high school musicians.  Up to five students per year will be chosen for the program, and they will receive intensive weekly private instruction as well as access to an international network of musicians, mentors, and past fellows. Fellows will also get to participate in two summer retreats and will receive up to $2,000 during the course of the fellowship to offset costs related to the development of their creative work.  Most notably, fellows will work together throughout the year on a capstone performance project that will use art as a means to bridge divides in their community and address a pressing social or political issue that is meaningful to the group.

“We want to make sure that we honor Draylen in the most meaningful way possible,” said Slevin. “Music changed Draylen’s life, and I think he would want to see us share that gift with as many students as possible.”

To make a donation in support of the Draylen Mason Fellows Program, or to be kept updated on the application process, please visit

Read the full Press Release from The Hispanic Alliance.


The Action for the Month is an action for all individuals in the U.S. El Sistema-inspired movement to take, together, to increase our collective impact and visibility. Please make a habit of taking every action, and urging those you work with to do so too. These monthly actions are dedicated to the students and communities we serve.

Please Honor Draylen Mason at Your Year-End Concert

We ask that all U.S. Sistema-inspired programs remember him by placing a high,  empty Bassist’s seat in the low string section at their year-end concerts.

This high, empty Bassist’s seat will remind all of us of Draylen, and of the senseless violence that our students worry about, and that we dedicate our programs to reducing. Draylen was an exemplary Sistema student and young leader, with a promising musical career ahead of him – he is an inspiration to all our students, and the sadness of his loss is a poignant note to add to year-end celebratory concerts. Our programs, and thus our concerts, are not just about musical accomplishment; they are about youth empowerment and social change, so it is right to recognize Draylen as part of a culminating community event.  Draylen’s family has expressed their appreciation of this nationwide gesture. Perhaps there could be a rose placed on that empty seat? And perhaps there could be a brief mention of what it represents in a printed program, or a memorial could be spoken aloud. Right now, assign a staff person to be responsible for remembering to do this. And for doing it thoughtfully and well, so that this heartbreaking loss can enrich our connectedness and our commitment to making a world less beset with violence.

Please take a photograph of “Draylen’s seat” at your concert and send it to Hermes Camacho, who is on the Soundwaves faculty—he will gather them and share them with Draylen’s family.  We are all part of Draylen’s extended family.  #DraylensSeat

Should you choose this or another way to honor Draylen’s memory – a performance, a prayer, a moment of silence – please send your photos and videos to and he will be sure to share them during the Soundwaves end of year concert on May 17th.


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