The Mason sisters of Merrick cannot wait to make music in their new music room.
The room that was once a cluttered one-car garage is now a state-of-the-art space, complete with drums, keyboard, guitar, mic, amps, lighting and an acoustic sound system that is so sophisticated that even Rachel and Maya’s musical icons — Ariana Grande, Katy Perry and Shawn Mendes — would approve.
The room renovation was courtesy of the NBC home makeover show “George to the Rescue,” along with a team of contractors, designers and engineers. It is set to air at 9:30 a.m. Saturday.
Rachel, 13, was born with congenital scoliosis. Five of her ribs are fused together. Rachel also suffers from Thoracic Insufficiency Syndrome, which is the inability of the thorax (chest) to support normal breathing and lung growth. Her condition, explains mom, Beth, 40, is that her daughter’s chest wall is unable to support full-length growth. Since age 3, Rachel has had 17 surgeries.
Show host/general contractor George Oliphant works with The Garden of Dreams Foundation, a nonprofit that partners with The Madison Square Garden Company and MSG Networks, to bring positive experiences to children facing obstacles. The organization selected Rachel for the show because of her spirit, drive and determination.
For five weeks, the Masons moved out of their home and let Oliphant and the team complete their rescue mission. “We have done everything — basements, attics, bedrooms, kitchens, extensions. We have never done a music room. We always thought it was extra that wasn’t needed, but I believe this music room was something that was needed. Rachel has gone through so much, and music has helped her get through it,” says Oliphant.
Local businesses pitched in
Oliphant, along with general contractors Howie and Allison Gumpel, owners of Levittown-based Great Additions, helped with the transformation. SoundSense, an acoustical engineering firm in Wainscott, donated its services and soundproofed the space so the girls can get as loud as they want. It worked with Bellmore interior designer Marlaina Teich to incorporate some of the technology into the space. A decorative guitar — built by Jonathan Isbell of Metaevol Technology in Brooklyn — hangs on the wall to help diminish echoes. Massapequa mural artist Arlene McLoughlin created a graffiti-inspired painting.
Guitar Center in Times Square donated all the musical equipment; its Carle Place location gave both girls free lessons to start their musical journey.
When the room reveal took place in June, the Masons invited all their friends and family. “We had no clue what it would look like,” says Rachel. “Giving no input, they really got our personalities right. They were spot-on.”
Younger sister Maya, 12, adds, “We love it. It’s our favorite place to hang out with our friends. And, when we don’t have friends over, Rachel and I spend time here. It’s brought us even closer.”