JOLIET, Ill. — When University of St. Francis freshman Tyon Mason stepped onto campus last month, the aspiring musician/producer never expected to hear himself on a major Chicago radio station just three weeks later.
Mason, of Chicago, wrote and performed the lyrics and helped produce a theme song for a segment on 101.9 WTMX-FM’s Eric & Kathy Show. The 30-second spot, which debuted Sept. 10, is used to introduce the show’s “Mannelly Mondays,” a recurring segment featuring Chicago Bears long snapper Patrick Mannelly.
To listen to the track, visit www.stfrancis.edu/MannellyMondays.
Mason, who is studying digital audio recording arts (DARA), was approached by DARA program director Jeff Jaskowiak to create the piece. A producer at the radio station had contacted USF for its student talent after students last year wrote and produced a spot for a similar segment.
“They asked us to give it a go again, so we did,” Jaskowiak said. “What I was impressed about with Tyon is how well he was able to explain what a long snapper was. He described what that person does in all of 30 seconds.”
Mason, a graduate of the Gwendolyn Brooks College Preparatory Academy, said while he’s not a big football fan, all it took was a little research and a couple hours of writing to come up with the lyrics for the rap. And, a couple hours was all he had.
In addition to a certain tempo, the station needed a quick turnaround.
“I was excited and it was late notice, but it didn’t really matter to me,” Mason said. “Music is my passion. It’s more than a hobby for me.”
Mason didn’t hear the song played live on the air, but listened to a podcast of the broadcast online. It was the first time he’s been on the radio.
“It actually felt great,” he said about hearing himself.
Mannelly, the subject of the song, liked it, too.
“That’s pretty sweet,” he said during the broadcast. “It’s a dream come true when you get your own theme song.”
Mason said he believes the opportunity to create, perform and have a major radio station air his work is an opportunity he could only have at USF. He decided to enroll at USF because of its small class sizes and individualized attention.
“The DARA program is really good,” he said. “It’s very one-on-one.”
Jaskowiak said he was pleased to give the freshman a chance at creating this piece. His level of confidence in Mason and this type of experiential learning are fundamental to of USF’s DARA program. To learn more about the program, visit www.stfrancis.edu/dara.
The University of St. Francis in Joliet serves 3,400 students nationwide, offering 44 undergraduate programs, four degree-completion programs and 15 graduate programs, including two doctoral programs. Programs are offered in arts and science, business, education, nursing and health care and social work. For information, call (800) 735-7500 or visit www.stfrancis.edu.