The University of Texas Longhorn Band

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Longhorn Band
Texas Longhorn logo.svg
School The University of Texas at Austin
Location Austin, Texas
Conference Big 12
Founded 1900
Director Dr. Robert Carnochan
Members 386
Fight song "Texas Fight"
Uniform "The Fringe" — burnt orange and white western-style jackets with Aztec-striped pants, white cowboy hats
The Longhorn Band on the field at a football game vs Baylor in 2006
The Longhorn Band's characteristic uniform
The Showband of the Southwest performs at Darrell K. Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium in 2007

The University of Texas Longhorn Band, also known as the Showband of the Southwest or LHB, is the marching band of The University of Texas at Austin. The Longhorn Band was founded in 1900 by a distinguished professor of chemistry, Dr. Eugene P. Schoch. The band is currently under the direction of Dr. Robert Carnochan and associate directors Dr. Scott S. Hanna and Mr. Anthony Marinello. The band performs at all in-state football games, for various Texas Longhorn Athletics teams, and at special pep rallies and parades throughout the year. The band includes about 350 students, all of whom must register for a year-round course offered by UT's School of Music.

On-Field Performances[edit]

The Longhorn Band performs a different show at each home football game throughout the year. These shows include 'Traditional Shows', which feature signature music and drill, and 'Non-Traditional Shows', which feature contemporary music and a modern marching style.

Curl-on entrance[edit]

The curl-on entrance is a traditional entrance in which the marchers enter from both east and west sidelines. To reach this position, the section is positioned on the field, divided in the center, and then the marcher closest to the sideline begins a spiral towards the nearest end zone until all marchers are in a tight spiral with the last marcher on the sideline. This entrance is utilized for Wall-to-Wall Band performances, as well as other special occasions. Marchers enter with a Taps 8 to 5 stride, but adjust to a 6 to 5 interval for downfield marching.

Execution

After 4 whistles, the percussion will play eight "dead beats," during which time the band remains at attention. The function of these 8 counts is to establish tempo in a noisy stadium. Following the 8 dead beats, the person on the sideline leads on the marchers to the field. Marchers kick off from the sideline every two steps. After a designated number of counts, a 9-count halt cadence will be played.

Traditional Shows[edit]

Script Texas[edit]

First performed in 1957, "Script Texas" is a traditional halftime show performed every year. The Drum Major leads the band onto the field in a single-file line, spelling "Texas" in script writing. The band is split into two blocks at the start of the performance and begins by playing "The Yellow Rose of Texas." The Drum Major marches over to the front of block one and block one begins spelling out the T-E-X of "Texas". They only spell out the bottom part of the T and the / of the X, though. While the first block follows the Drum Major out onto the field, the color guard who are in block one march in a large circle to the side of the band before putting the top on the T after block one has marched to their positions. At the end of "The Yellow Rose of Texas," the band goes straight into "March of the Longhorns" and the rest of "Texas" is spelled out. Once "March of the Longhorns" is over, "Calypso" starts and the Drum Major leads the Saxophones, who are by themselves, into an arc that comes down and below A and S. This concludes Script Texas, and "Texas Fight" is played while the band marches off of the field.

Wall-to-Wall Band/Shotgun Texas[edit]

The Longhorn Band performing Wall-to-Wall at the 2007 Red River Shootout

"Wall to Wall Band" is another traditional drill performed annually by Longhorn Band. The drum line starts in the end zone while the band is off on each of the sidelines curled into spirals. The drum line marches onto the field, playing a cadence while the band usually jumps up and down over on the sides. After the drum line reaches their starting position, the Drum Major calls the band to attention, followed by another cadence that brings the band onto the field. The spirals are unrolled and the band marches straight down the yard lines and form into fronts. A roll off ensues, and "March Grandioso" begins. Every six counts, parts of fronts step off, marching in a six-to-five step, and form less dense fronts that still span the width of the field. Half way through "March Grandioso," the band halts for 4 counts of silence, followed by a proclamation to beat the hell out of Texas' opponent. The band then continues down the field playing the rest of "March Grandioso" and transitioning straight into "March of the Longhorns." Once a front reaches the opposite end zone, a counter-march is performed to bring the band back the way it came. Before the counter-march, the Longhorn band covers the entire football field, putting meaning to the name Wall-to-Wall band. At the trio of "March of the Longhorns," the band contracts into larger fronts that span the width of the football field, then condense into smaller ones that span a little more than the distance between the hashes. At the end of "March of the Longhorns," Wall-to-Wall Band is officially finished, though it is typically followed by Shotgun Texas, in which several condensed fronts quickly shift to spell "TEXAS" in block letters. To start Shotgun Texas, another roll off starts and the band goes straight into "Texas Fight." After the Intro of "Texas Fight," the band spells out each letter of "TEXAS," leaving the fronts every 8 counts of "Texas Fight." In 2007, a twist was added to Shotgun Texas where, during the Interlude of "Texas Fight," the Longhorn band flipped the "Texas" from its traditionally facing west direction to spell it to the east side for the student section of the stadium. After the Interlude, the band marches off the field, concluding Shotgun Texas.

Pregame[edit]

The Longhorn Band performing their pregame show at the 2006 Texas A&M game

Prior to kickoff at all home football games, the band marches through the north tunnel and fills the north end-zone with fourteen fronts. Instruments are held above the heads of the band members while they march in before coming down to play the fight song. The fronts cross the field using a modified high-step, called Taps Stride. The fronts march through the duration of "Texas Fight" and 8 counts afterwards, then halt and perform "Eyes Fanfare" to the east, north, and finally west side. Afterwards, the band begins "Texas Fight" again and marches the rest of the way down the field, turning once each front hits the 15 yard line and performing a counter-march toward the opposite end zone until stopping at the end of "Texas Fight." The band turns to face the west stands and performs an up-tempo arrangement of "Texas our Texas", the official state song, and the fronts then adjust to form an interlocking UT. The band stays at this position for announcements, the opponent's school song, and finally "The Star Spangled Banner" is played. Since some opponents travel long distances, they can't bring their band. If this is the case, the Longhorn band plays the opponents school song. After "The Star Spangled Banner" and the presentation of the colors, the band starts "Deep in the Heart of Texas" and marches to form a block T. After "Deep in the Heart of Texas," the sideways block T is then floated toward the south end zone while the band plays "Calypso." About a third of the way through "Calypso," the band halts and faces toward the 25 or 35 yard line. Normally, the top of the T stops at the back of the south end zone. However, due to stadium construction, for the 2007 season, the visiting team uses a locker room at the south end of the stadium, so the band stops at the front of the end zone to give the visiting team room to run to their side line. Once stopped, there are a few more announcements that take place, followed by the possible performance of "March Grandioso." "March Grandioso" is only played if enough time is left before the football team comes out. If not, the band goes straight into "The Eyes of Texas." Right after this, a short video is shown, followed by the entrance of the football team, accompanied by "Texas Fight." After this, the band marches through the south end zone before entering the stand for the game.

Non-traditional shows[edit]

The Longhorn Band performs four non-traditional shows each year. The band typically selects music that highlights a wide variety of musical artists and thematic ideas. The music and drill for these performances are arranged by current and former staff of the University of Texas School of Music. Thanks to the high general level of musical talent in the Longhorn Band, complex arrangements of popular tunes appear many times every year.

Selected recent non-traditional shows

Traditional songs[edit]

In attendance at all home and away football games, the band performs signature songs. Many have been rooted in the band for many years.

Traditionals as played by the Longhorn Band.

Features[edit]

Big Bertha[edit]

Big Bertha sitting at the north end zone.

The band features Big Bertha, which is considered to be the world's largest bass drum. The drum is managed by the Bertha Crew, sometimes called "drum wranglers". The crew moves the drum around the field during performances, and twirls it when the team scores. Big Bertha was nicknamed the "Sweetheart of the Longhorn Band" when it arrived at The University of Texas campus in 1955. In 1955, the director of the Longhorn Band was Colonel D. Harold Byrd who purchased "Big" Bertha from the University of Chicago, then for only one dollar. Big Bertha performs in the traditional Longhorn Band pregame show performed before kickoff at every home game. She also performs in 'Script Texas', another LHB traditional show. She makes appearances at other events, such as appearing outside Gregory Gymnasium before volleyball games.

Cowbells[edit]

During football games, members of the Longhorn Band shake cowbells to create noise in the stadium while the opposing team has the ball. The bells are rung only after the opposing team snaps the ball or in conjunction with drum cadences. When the opposing team is in the "red zone", the drumline will, at times, call a cadence that simply calls for the band to create as much noise as possible with the cowbells.

Pep band[edit]

While the entire band traditionally travels to all in-state football games and bowl games, a smaller pep band composed mainly of section leaders is taken to out-of-state games.

Longhorn Pep Band (Formerly: Basketball/Volleyball Band)[edit]

The Longhorn Pep Band is technically a separate ensemble from the Longhorn Band, but falls under the same umbrella of leadership and shares many members with the Longhorn Band.

Supporting organizations[edit]

The band is supported by a service fraternity and sorority, Kappa Kappa Psi and Tau Beta Sigma, respectively.

Instruments[edit]

Rather than mellophones, baritones, and tubas, LHB has Mellos, SOB's (Society of Baritones), and TUBA!s. Also, the band does not march flutes, only piccolos or Piccs.

The Longhorn Band Student Association[edit]

The Longhorn Band Student Association (LHBSA) is the group responsible for organizing student activities within the Longhorn Band. Its main purpose is to serve the Longhorn Band by helping members become acquainted and accustomed to working with one another. The LHBSA - is a registered student organization with the U.T. Dean of Students office. Membership is open to any Longhorn Band member, and the active fees are determined by the members each year. The LHBSA sponsors social events throughout the year and the annual Longhorn Band Awards Banquet in the spring.

The officers of LHBSA are collectively termed the Band Council. Election of officers is held during the spring semester at a general meeting of the members of the LHBSA. The Freshman Advisors are elected by the LHBSA members during a general meeting in the fall. The Presidents of Kappa Kappa Psi and Tau Beta Sigma are elected by their respective organizations and the Drum Major is determined by audition. Freshman Representatives are elected by the first year members of Longhorn Band at a special meeting following the posting of the final Longhorn Band audition results. The Parliamentarian, if deemed beneficial, is appointed by the President.

Kappa Kappa Psi[edit]

Kappa Kappa Psi is a National Honorary Band Fraternity dedicated to serving the needs of the university and college bands. In May 1940, thirty members of the University of Texas Longhorn Band, under the direction of Colonel George E. Hurt, petitioned the national office of Kappa Kappa Psi Fraternity for a chapter. The charter was granted, and the local chapter was given the name Alpha Tau Nu. Later, this was changed to Alpha Tau.

Alpha Tau has remained consistent over the past 51 years and has on average 40 members. Over the years, Alpha Tau has also been recognized as one of the top chapters in the nation, having been selected third in the nation at the 1969 National Convention. The 1970 and 1989 District Conventions and in part the 2001 National Convention were hosted by Alpha Tau.

The chapter serves the band through various means: setting up and tearing down all equipment during practice, moving equipment to and from the stadium on game days, serving water during practice, service projects, and community projects.

Kappa Kappa Psi hosts The Longhorn Band Golf Classic in May with help from LHBSA (Longhorn Band Student Association). The tournament has been held at the UT Golf Club and River Place Country Club in the past and will be held at Shadow Glen Golf Club, Sunday May 2, 2010. The event raises money for KKY and LHBSA. These are non-profit organizations and all proceeds go toward funding the activities of The Longhorn Band. Past participants have included Mack Brown and Colt McCoy.

Tau Beta Sigma[edit]

Tau Beta Sigma is the National Service Sorority for College Bandswomen. On March 8, 1957, the Beta Gamma Chapter of Tau Beta Sigma was founded at the University of Texas at Austin under director Vincent R. DiNino and his wife Jane DiNino. The members of Tau Beta Sigma are dedicated to serving the Longhorn Band and can be found repairing uniforms, serving water at football games, and carrying a sewing/medical kit during games and rehearsals.

The Beta Gamma chapter is also very active in the Austin community. Each year, the chapter adopts a local high school band with a small program in need of encouragement. TBS and other band members attend multiple home games each year. They perform in the stands with the high school band. Each year before the high school competes in UIL Marching competition, the Beta Gamma chapter decorates their band hall to show encouragement. Along those same lines they attend the high school's concerts to promote growth in the band program and encourage students to stick with music.

The chapter has also participated in marathons each year, runs drives to collect items for the Peace Corps, works with Habitat for Humanity, the Women's Shelter, the Humane Society, Girl Scouts, and has also been involved with UT's Relay for Life.

As their main form of fundraising, the Beta Gamma chapter is in charge of creating and selling Longhorn Band merchandise. These sales are known as "hall sales" in which LHB Shirts, CDs, picture frames, cowbells, and more are sold in the hall of the Music Building outside of the band hall by the treasurer and her committee. These "hall sales" take place on game days, as well as at Texas State Solo and Ensemble Contest in the spring.

Traditions[edit]

"The Newman Beanie"[edit]

After audition results are posted, the new members are presented with the traditional Longhorn Band Newmember Beanie. There is then a contest held to see which of the new members can consecutively wear the beanie to practices the longest. The male and female new members who wear their beanie the longest are traditionally rewarded with a steak dinner.

"Shake the Fringe"[edit]

Performed in conjunction with certain drum cadences, "Shake the Fringe" refers to the effect that results from a Longhorn Band member moving their shoulders back and forth in quick, violent motions. The "Fringe" of the uniform then flails wildly in the air.

"Home on the Range"[edit]

Sung during the last two minutes of every home football game, the members of the Longhorn Band place their arms around each other, begin swaying from side to side and then jump up-and-down as they sing their own colorful take on a traditional state song:

Home, home on the range,
where the deer and the antelope play with themselves.
Where seldom is heeeeeeeaaaaard,
a discouraging woooooooooooord,
and the skies are not cloudy all day. [Hey, hey, hey]

The tradition started in the 1970s when the band would often sing dirty songs in the stands. The director at the time yelled at the band to sing something nice like "Home on the Range", and so the version now sung was created.

"Hup...hup...hup"[edit]

Innocent and unsuspecting pedestrians may find themselves as objects of entertainment for the Longhorn Band members. After targeting an individual, LHB members will yell "hup" every time the target takes a step. Once the individual realizes what is happening they typically adjust their strides in an effort to confuse, trick, evade, or hoodwink the band. The "hups" continue until the individual stands still, at which point the band lets out a long sigh, or if the individual trips and falls down.

In The Stands[edit]

The Longhorn Band follows many traditions while in the stands for Longhorn football games. Most of all, all members stand for the entire game and yell before every play in conjunction with ringing their cowbells. Numerous times throughout the game, the "Texas! . . . Fight!" chant is yelled by the entire stadium. Also, the drumline plays cadences between almost every play, all of which are accompanied by dancing or chanting, such as "Go, Horns, Go", "Where my horns at?", "Defense!", and "Texas, Texas, yeehaw!"

Spring Banquet[edit]

Each spring, usually the first weekend in May, the Longhorn Band Spring Awards Banquet takes place. This event is not only a celebration for a great year but it also serves as the event that passes the torch to the next generation of LHB by the presentation of scholarships and traditional honors such as:

  • Scholarships awarded by the Alumni Band
  • Lettering awards are for LHB's First and Veteran Members
  • Passing of the President's Ring to the new council president
  • Passing of the Freshman Advisor Beanies to the new Advisors
  • The Drum Major for the next year is announced and presented with the Drum Major Buckle
  • Various other awards are presented.
  • And the next MC class for Kappa Kappa Psi performs a skit.

President's Ring[edit]

One tradition of LHB is the "Passing of the President's Ring." During this ceremony, which takes place at the annual Spring Banquet, the former Band President presents the ring to the new President. The tradition began at the close of World War II when the parents of Curtis Popham, Longhorn Band Drum Major, who was killed in the war, gave Curtis' University ring to the Band for this purpose.

Drum Major's belt buckle[edit]

The Drum Major's belt buckle is passed on to the new Drum Major at the annual Spring Banquet. Engraved on the back are the names of past Longhorn Band Drum Majors beginning in 1969.

Longhorn Alumni Band[edit]

The Longhorn Alumni Band, or LHAB, is composed of former members of the Longhorn Band. The Longhorn Alumni Band plays at many services and dinners in the Austin area as well as Alumni Band Day. On Alumni Band Day, many of the former band members come together for a special halftime performance during one of the football games. During Alumni Band Day, LHB and LHAB share the field, numbering over 1,000 members for their performance. The Alumni Band Association is the largest in the world, with 2,600 members among its ranks, scattered across seven countries.

Awards and honors[edit]

In 1974, the Longhorn Band was selected to perform at Super Bowl VIII in Houston, Texas.

In 1986, the Longhorn Band was awarded the prestigious Louis Sudler Intercollegiate Marching Band Trophy.

The Longhorn Band was selected and performed for inaugurations of Presidents Theodore Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush and the two inaugurations of George W. Bush.

Honorary members[edit]

On May 7, 2007, the Longhorn Band presented Coach Mack Brown and Athletic Director DeLoss Dodds with Honorary Membership for their outstanding spirit, pride, and leadership. The Honorary Membership award was established by past KKY President Eddie Lopez.

References[edit]

External links[edit]