Longhorn Band members must play ‘The Eyes of Texas’

Skye Seipp

The Longhorn Band will continue to be required to play “The Eyes of Texas,” according to a Butler School of Music news release. Another, currently unnamed band that will not play the alma mater or the fight song will be formed in fall 2022.

Fees to be in the all Longhorn and University performance bands — including the newly formed unnamed band — will be waived, members will be given a $1,000 scholarship and section leaders will be given a minimum of $2,500. 

The Longhorn Band consists of two different bands, the main marching band which plays at football games, graduation and other high profile events, and the Longhorn Pep Band that plays at other sports games, like basketball and volleyball. 

Since “The Eyes of Texas” History Committee released its report on March 9, some Longhorn Band members said they were left in the dark about whether they would have to play the song. 

Last fall, some band members refused to play the song because of its racist history. The addition of the new band was “prompted in part by concerns about ‘The Eyes of Texas,’” according to the news release. 

The band lacked the “necessary instrumentation” to play the song at a football game last fall, according to an internal survey last October that came after Douglas Dempster, former dean of the College of Fine Arts, said band members were “expected” to play the alma mater at performances. Mary Ellen Poole, director of the Butler School of Music, said in a July letter members would not be penalized for not playing the song. 

Editor’s Note: This story is breaking and will be updated with more information as it becomes available. This story has been corrected to reflect that Douglas Dempster’s statement did not contradict Mary Ellen Poole’s. Dempster’s statement said  band members would be expected to play “The Eyes of Texas” but not that they would be penalized for not doing so.