WT Band Student Spotlight: Mason Lafferty


Mason Lafferty

What years were you in the WT Band? When did you graduate?

I was in the WT Band from 2018-2023. I am graduating May 2024

What was your degree in?

Music Education, EC-12 (Instrumental Emphasis) with an additional Emphasis in Composition

Tell us about your family.

My mom, Cendrine Lafferty, and my father, Gordon Lafferty, are caring parents who taught me the fundamentals of living. I also have two loving older sisters and many grandparents from whom I have heard many stories and life lessons from. I love my family for helping me grow an open mind, a hard working spirit, and a kind heart. They may not be musically inclined or necessarily knowledgeable in music, but they saw me becoming fascinated in music and supported my interests. Without their support and wisdom, I would not have made it to where I am today. I cherish all my family's time we have spent together.

What instrument did you play?


What ensembles and student groups were you involved in while you were at WT?

I have performed with the WTAMU Concert Band, WTAMU Symphonic Band, The Sound of West Texas Marching Band, both WT Jazz Bands, Brass Choir, Orchestra (only on holiday concerts), WTAMU Trumpet Ensemble, and numerous student lead brass quintets per semester. I was heavily involved with Mu Phi Epsilon. I have been Chorister, Treasurer, Vice President, and President throughout my years with the Alpha Nu Chapter. The second half of my Presidential term and the first half of my term as Treasurer, the Alpha Nu Chapter received the award for Chapter of the Year.

Tell us a favorite band memory that you have from your time at WT.

I have many favorite memories with the WTAMU Bands. Many of these memories are performances in which our ensembles worked diligently toward.

During our last School of Music Showcase at the Globe News Center in 2019, I was first chair trumpet (maybe second... who cares) in the Concert Band. We filed onto the stage behind a large, dropped curtain. The audience waited. We were ready to perform the fiery and intense Finale to Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 4. We gave some form of signal to say we were ready, and the stage crew began to work. The curtain was about to rise, the performers were raring to go, but before the curtain lifted, the stage lights suddenly turned off! No one could see, and we certainly could not miss the bold entrance to our first piece. This was my first major performance with WT, and this is where it turned pretty magical. From the darkness of a lightless stage, a stripe of golden light illuminated the base of the curtain as it lifted ever so slightly. The curtain rose slowly, revealing golden spotlights off the stage shimmering their beautiful light across the ensemble. Our instruments were ready as the shadowy curtain rose past Dr. Teweleit's head, and blinding spotlights just over his shoulders sparkled like stars in my view. At this moment, he readied his baton still. It went up sharply. I took my breath. The grand entrance of Tchaikovsky's Finale began. This was such a fun moment, and it will last with me forever.

The following year, 2020, the WTAMU Symphonic Band traveled to perform at TMEA. I had moved up the ranks of the WT Trumpet Studio... by about one chair but secured a spot in this outstanding ensemble. We were warming up in the Lila Cockrell Theatre when we were asked to do a mic check. You know the game. We pick the loudest and softest spots in our program, so our recording can be in good quality. At least, that's all I understand of the process. Many audience members were already in the theater and waiting for this show to start. We chose the loudest spot in our program to be the final chord of Puccini's Nessun Dorma. We had worked on tuning this final chord a large number of times, and it is quite a climactic finale to the piece. We played the chord, and we played it loud! It was a tasteful loud of course. We cut off the chord and let the sound ring throughout the space. Once the sound stopped ringing through the hall, I noticed the audience was now mostly quiet. Following this brief silence was a round of applause! The audience seemed to enjoy a single chord enough that we received applause before our band was even introduced.

The next two memories were in 2023. The WTAMU Symphonic Band's CBDNA performance was a blast to perform in, and we got to see numerous other colleges perform new music . It was simply a fun and novel experience for me. My final concert with the WTAMU Symphonic Band is also a personal favorite. I may have obtained a love/hate relationship with Maslanka's A Child's Garden of Dreams, but fortunately I ended with feelings of love for it. We had a visual presentation to go along with its performance, which we were not allowed to look at. I am not complaining about that. I was much too focused on the tasks of not getting lost and executing well on the piece of music to worry about what the screen displayed. I simply find it funny looking back on it. In the end, this was my bittersweet concert where I performed my tail off as second chair in the Symphonic Band.

Lastly, I have enjoyed the various gags and goofs in our marching band time, the mostly playful heckling at football games, and the excitement that goes into our marching band rehearsals and performances. The rehearsals are something that I cherished getting to experience during my undergrad with West Texas A&M University.

What did you learn from your time at WT?

I learned that talent does not grow on trees, but it does in fact grow in people. We are not born with talent and magical gifts. We are the result of our work and choices, the books we read and the people we meet, and the deeds we choose to accomplish. At some point we see the result of people's actions and deem it as "talent."

I learned that through hard work and dedication, small seemingly meaningless changes and habits, and goals with plans, you can accomplish most things you set out for. With a little heart, you can make the process enjoyable for you and bring some warmth to the lives of others.

Why did you come to WT?

With a supportive, smart, hardworking, thoughtful, caring, and all-around fantastic music faculty... why would I go somewhere else? I had the privilege to grow up down the street from these fine men and women. I had the opportunity to take lessons, attend a band camp, and expert clinicians teach. Add the fact that WT is affordable to these experiences, and my initial kind-hearted joke turns into a more serious question. I chose WT because of the amazing interactions, learning opportunities, and drive of the faculty I was fortunate to meet before college.

Do you have any advice for current WT students?

It's easy to be successful, but it's even easier to mess up. Remember that all you need for success is to be a hard worker who is kind and respectful.

Always be diligent in your work. C's may "get degrees," but they also reflect that you are not mastering a topic that thousands of dollars are paying for. Pay attention in classes and work not to simply pass tests but to KNOW the information. You will be responsible for the musical education of many people someday.

Perform with as many ensembles as you can! It's a great way to meet people, work with a different crowd, learn new rep., and work with a group that is typically a higher cut than most.

Use goals and plans to set up for success. "A goal without a plan is just a wish." - Antoine de Saint-Exupery
"Sometimes we set ourselves up for success, and other times we set ourselves up for... something else." - Dr. BJ Brooks

"You are what you choose to be. You choose." - Hogarth Hughes

What else would you like for us to know? (Career or family highlights, awesome memories, people who inspired you at WT etc.)

I am appreciative of all professors that I spent class time with. Dr. Brooks, Dr. Takacs, and Dr. Teweleit had a special impact during my time at university. I am thankful for all our interactions.

I highly enjoyed giving my Composition Recital, presenting a piece of music in the Honors Recital, and I enjoyed attending a performance of The Amarillo Symphony where they performed my piece of music "Night Flight."

I loved serving with the Alpha Nu Chapter of Mu Phi Epsilon. Whether we were completing community service projects or serving meatballs after a recital, I enjoyed every moment.

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