What does every sporting event have in common? Music! In the world of college sports, we are lucky enough to experience live music first-hand as we root for our teams. Here at The University of Texas, we love hearing “The Eyes of Texas” and “Texas Fight” from none other than the Longhorn Band. Did you know there are actually two bands? They are the Longhorn Band and the Longhorn Pep Band. For the past three years, the Longhorn Pep Band has been under the direction of Anthony Marinello, who is also the assistant director for the Longhorn Band. Read our interview with Anthony below!
Please explain the difference between the Longhorn Band and the Longhorn Pep Band.
The Longhorn Band attends all football games, and the Longhorn Pep Band attends all home basketball and volleyball games and post-season basketball and volleyball games. The Longhorn Band will travel to bowl games and the Pep Band will travel to volleyball and basketball tournaments. Right now, volleyball is in the middle of the NCAA tournament, so we’ll have a group traveling with them, and a group staying behind in Austin for the basketball games.The main difference between the two is the Longhorn Band requires a lot more time commitment than Longhorn Pep Band. With the Longhorn Pep Band, we try to make it as easy as possible for people to participate. My goal is to try and make this a diverse population and right now about 50 percent of the Pep Band members are not currently in the Longhorn Band. We’re continuing to recruit kids across campus that may not have a lot of time, but want to be involved. The Pep Band is actually a gateway into the Longhorn Band.
How does a student join the Longhorn Band or Longhorn Pep Band?
Interested students sign up for the class in either the spring or fall semesters. There is an audition on the first day, and students have to prove that they have the requisite skills to keep up.
What are some band traditions we may not know about?
We have an awards banquet for the Longhorn Band, and we have a barbecue in the spring for Pep Band. We also have a few songs that are a tradition for the Pep Band. One song in particular is, “I Can’t Turn You Loose” which is an old Blues Brothers tune. It’s also tradition for our students to alter certain songs and/or have a solo performance. Last year we started using an electric guitar player, and a few Erwin Center staff members came up to me and said it was “amazing.” We are always looking for fun ways to be different and to try new things. We want to attract new students. My hope has always been that students can share their ideas with me. All the great ideas stem from the students. Because the Pep Band is smaller, we can do that and have a more open forum.
What is the difference between playing at a basketball game versus a volleyball game?
For basketball games, we have about 65 band members and have to be at the Erwin Center 45 minutes prior to tip to warm up. Basketball games are scripted, so we know when there will be a media break. The Erwin Center is huge, so we have to use microphones. If we didn’t use microphones, then we would need twice as much band. We’re always trying to stay on top of that and educate our students about the microphone.
For volleyball games, we have a smaller group (about 35 students) and a smaller seating section. We usually arrive 30 minutes prior to the start of the game to warm up. With volleyball, we are completely dependent upon when a coach calls a timeout. There is a media break, but it rarely occurs.
How often does the Longhorn Pep Band rehearse?
We rehearse once a week from 3:30 p.m. – 5 p.m. During rehearsal, we get everything ready for the upcoming games. We try to do a hefty rotation with our tunes. Most collegiate bands play 30 tunes for the whole season. We have up to 100 tunes but we usually are in a rotation of 50-60 throughout the year. We have a really good relationship with Cheer and Pom. We don’t rehearse with them, but if there is something new we want to try and do, we’ll send them a sound file and work hand in hand with them.
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