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We had both scored high on the ASVAB (Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery) test so it was only logical that we both become engineers.
In the spring of a€™69 I was in Austin for the State Solo & Ensemble competition and auditioned for The Longhorn Band with an assistant band director. At the UT freshman orientation week, we were told that over half of us would change majors at least once during our time at UT.
DiNino came to UT from Minnesota in 1955 as the first faculty status Longhorn Band director.
The win at Arkansas earned the Longhorns another trip to the Cotton Bowl as undefeated champions of the Southwest Conference where their surprise opponent was none other than legendary Notre Dame, who had a history of shunning all bowl games.
Besides the rehearsals, the bus trips, and the parties, there were also performances for concerts, basketball games, baseball games, and other special events. Directly or indirectly, everything we enjoyed about Longhorn Band we owed to Vincent DiNino.
Fall 1968 was the beginning of our senior year.A  John and I visited Austin that summer and selected our dormitory for the next year.
At the UT freshman orientation week, we were told that over half of us would change majors at least once during our time at UT.A  I was astounded by that statistic, consoled only by the fact that at least I would not be one of them! DiNino came to UT from Minnesota in 1955 as the first faculty status Longhorn Band director.A  He built the band from a 70-member all male musical ensemble into a 300+ member show band with swagger and pride. 1969 was the 100th anniversary of organized college football.A  Ohio State was the defending National Champs and expected to repeat, but when upset by bitter rival Michigan, UT took over #1.
The win at Arkansas earned the Longhorns another trip to the Cotton Bowl as undefeated champions of the Southwest Conference where their surprise opponent was none other than legendary Notre Dame, who had a history of shunning all bowl games.A  This was Notre Damea€™s first bowl appearance since 1924.
Directly or indirectly, everything we enjoyed about Longhorn Band we owed to Vincent DiNino.A  Mr.
Consequently, I can only name one person in my life today, other than family, which I have known for nearly five decades.
I was accepted, an impressive accomplishment except for the fact that back then they pretty much took anyone who tried out. In my third year I realized that I was majoring more in Longhorn Band than electrical engineering, so I changed my major to Mus. A special bond forms between the members of any group or team that has to work together to achieve a common goal, but each group experience is unique. I sometimes wonder how different my life would have been had John Tilly not gotten me to UT where I became part of Mr. This engineering student ended up in education for 32 years teaching band, math, and computers.
I knew UT was a big school, so I assumed that they had a football team and a band.A  I would probably want to be in that band. Someone told us that they had high hopes for the UT football team that year, but after they went 0-1-1 in their first two games, we forgot about them and concentrated on our own Andrews Mustangs. I was accepted, an impressive accomplishment except for the fact that back then they pretty much took anyone who tried out.A  That soon changed.


The other interesting memory from that week was the two girls from Houston who met for the first time at orientation then discovered that they had just graduated from the same high school! In yet another exciting come-from-behind win, Texas finished the season undefeated and the unanimous choice for National Champions. As an honor student and first chair trombone in the band, I figured I was pretty well set for life.
Since we graduated in a€™69, we may have been part of the first administration of the test.
I played my trombone next to people who grew up in the Austin area dreaming of the day when they would take their places in the ranks of burnt orange bandsmen. This country boy from the anthills of West Texas stumbled into, and became part of, an historic college football season with more than enough memories to last a lifetime.
I tried to provide my students with some of the positive experiences I enjoyed as a student. Then on New Years Day 1969 I was watching TV and stumbled onto a game called the Cotton Bowl and there was the UT band! As the banda€™s numbers began to exceed 400, the selection process became much more competitive. However, after a flu epidemic the week before an OU game thinned the ranks of the LHB, the ladies came to the rescue and have marched ever since. In 1970 I met Beverly Green, a freshman saxophone player from Austin who was the daughter of a Baptist minister.A  Beverly had made a last minute switch from enrolling in her parentsa€™ alma mater, Baylor, to attend UT.
He died this September (2014) at the age of 95.A  Just last year he was still directing the Longhorn Band in The Eyes of Texas at a football game.
While I expected to discover new and exciting things about the wide world beyond west Texas, I had no idea how small the sliver of my experience thus far had been. In a university of 30,000+ students, a tight-knit group of 300 band members became my family. John graduated with a degree in journalism in four years (one of those anomalies) and went on to become a lawyer in Dallas. John was a fellow honor student so we had a lot of the same classes and even double-dated in our later HS years. Actually, there were two UT bands, because Texas was playing Tennessee, but I was more interested in the burnt orange group. From the marching flags to the fringed uniforms to the beaver Stetson hats, DiNino infused the Longhorn Band experience with personality and pride. In a university of 30,000+ students, a tight-knit group of 300 band members became my family.A  The Longhorn Band was a fine musical organization, but most of the band members were not music majors. She only tried out for LHB because of the insistence of her high school best friend, Brenda Dees.
My freshman band was the first group to rehearse in the new, state-of-the-art band hall.A  In the summer of a€™69 the LHB had moved out of the converted barracks building (outgrown years before) that served as the banda€™s a€?temporarya€? quarters for 20 years. The man had an incredible memory, super human energy, and a larger-than-life personality that inspired the creation of The Showband of the Southwest over half a century ago.


Back then most people were white, different sexual orientations did not exist, you were lucky to get three channels on your TV, and except for going to church on Sundays, nothing was more important than high school football.
Beverly ended up with degrees from UT, A&M, and SMU, or as we like to say, almost half of the old Southwest Conference! Fortunately for me, John decided that he and I would make great college roommates, and by our junior year we had a plan.
It did not matter if one was a business, education, or humanities major, or even an engineer or pre-med student. My only college experience was the Tech-Arkansas football game that another frienda€™s family took me to in Lubbock. To complete the last year of her seminary studies at SMU, Beverly lived with John and his wife Wanda in Irving during the week, making the three-hour journey home each weekend. Texas won the game, consecutive win #9 in what would eventually become a school-record 30 game win streak.
In an on-again, off-again relationship over the next few years, we finally got married in 1976 and ita€™s been on-again ever since! He had studied our profiles (with pictures attached) and knew virtually everyonea€™s name on the first day a€“ thata€™s over 100 freshmen band members. One advantage of staying in band an extra year was the fifth-year lettering award a€“ a set of Longhorns.
Ia€™ve learned a lot over the years, and Ia€™m grateful to all those who have helped direct my life. One of my treasured possessions is a copy of Terry Freia€™s book, Horns, Hogs, & Nixon Coming. He had an incredible knack for remembering names, even names of former band members from years past. In fact, by the time my tenure on campus was complete, I viewed four-year graduates as the anomalies. They were huge and created a wall of sound like I had never heard.A  College band looked way cool. John gave me my copy a€“ autographed by the late James Street, quarterback of the a€™68 & a€™69 teams. An occasional a€?professional studenta€? would test the limits of this opportunity.A  I think Chuck set the record at 12 years in LHB.
Of our 300+ band, only about 200 got to travel to away games.A  The travel band was heavy on brass because we could make more noise, so I was fortunate to be a trombone player. The only game I missed that year was at UCLA, and finances prevented the band from making the trip to California.



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