Knowing little more than that video right there, it seems like a complicated process to join the band. You have 2 separate auditions. Marching and playing. And they have them in like 4 separate Texas cities. Its like the NFL Combine for marching bands. "What's the wingspan of that flute player over that?" "That drummer got a 4.3 40."
My audition for the Cal marching band seemed like me wandering aimlessly into BRH, playing a song or two, and being told I'm in. I had had two wisdom teeth removed a day or so prior and couldn't really play anything. Nobody cared.
So, off the bat, I'm concerned about this marching band. They seem really serious. Like they care. I hate it when people care. Caring is the worst. I hate caring SO much right now.
I wanted to take a ponder at the Texas Longhorn Marching Band. They have been around for over 100 years and have a remarkable amount of tradition.History (i.e. origins)
Like most marching bands, the UT Longhorn band was started by a chemistry professor:
The Longhorn Band was founded in 1900 by a distinguished professor of chemistry, Dr. Eugene P. Schoch.
One of their big fight songs is "Texas Fight." Like most things surrounding UT, they did it to try to copy Texas A & M. Texas has a long and proud history of just flat out copying Texas A & M. Most of their traditions relate solely to Texas A & M and illustrate a remarkable insecurity about their "bigger brother." OK, that's actually the exact opposite of reality, but they still did copy TAMU in this instance. From the composer:
"Long before I entered The University of Texas in 1909 and until about the year 1928 the Aggies had one of the most effective and awe inspiring songs used by any student body any where any time. 'Farmers Fight' at that time was their sacred College song. ... It was to them what 'The Eyes of Texas' had always been to us. The song was a repetition of the words 'Farmers Fight' sung to the well known bugle call 'Taps' in the same slow tempo as the bugle call is used by the army for lights out at night.
"Returning to Marlin, TX after World War One I resumed my practice of attending most of the Texas foot-ball games, especially those with A. & M. It occurred to me that an effective way to strike back at the Aggies was to write a 'Texas Fight' song in answer to their 'Farmers Fight' using the same bugle call 'Taps' changed to lively march time and having 'Texas' throughout the song instead of 'Farmers'. 'Texas Fight' (Texas Taps) is the result."
Traditions (if known/any)
I like to make fun of other people, concepts, and inanimate objects as much as the next guy. But I gotta give it up for Big Bertha, the world's largest bass drum. No trolling!
Bertha was created by C.G.Conn, Ltd., for the University of Chicago, and began her long and famous career at the Princeton - Chicago football game on October 23, 1922. When the University of Chicago dropped varsity football, the band was also disbanded and Bertha went into seclusion for a number of years. It was when a movie about the life of the great John Philip Sousa was to be made that Bertha made her comeback. She was offered a role in the film, "Stars and Stripes." Then, in 1955, Colonel D. Harold Byrd, a long-time benefactor of the Longhorn Band, purchased Bertha from the University of Chicago and gave her a new and glorious home in the heart of Texas. Mr. Moton Crockett, former Director of the Longhorn Band, constructed a special trailer for her storage and transportation. Life for Bertha since she has joined us has been luxurious and exciting. Her permanent dwelling is in the comfort of our large Band Hall. For her performances at football games, she is graciously escorted by a group known as the "Bertha Crew".
This is a large bass drum:
They have cowbells!
No University of Texas game is complete without the Longhorn Band's deadly weapons - cowbells. These sonorous instruments are passed out to each band member at the start of a game. When rung, they produce a deafening sound, symbolic of our PRIDE and SPIRIT. Past experience (Texas vs. Arkansas, 1977) has proven that cowbells, rung by three hundred plus Longhorn Band members, can make more noise than an opposing team's fans.
I always felt Longhorn marching bandos and Tampa Bay Rays fans were the same. The only difference is that I think there are more people in the Longhorn band than at a Rays game. Happy they cited a source there on their Texas v. Arkansas 1977 matchup claim. Now, we can just ask people who were at that game to confirm their claim.
So, if anybody reading this was at the Texas v. Arkansas 1977 game, can you tell us if the cowbells are more annoying than Arkansas fans. And remember, this is Arkansas fans we are talking about here. Just leave your confirmation in the comments!
Can I note that the Pac-10 has kept us from providing noise makers to fans at home games. There's no way we get cowbells to the band. And if Tedford thought we were too loud on offense, he would NOT like the cowbell cadence.
Also, they appear to do many of things the Cal Marching Band does:
First performed in 1957, "Script Texas" was charted by then Longhorn Band Assistant Director, Richard Blair. The form consists of the entire band, led by the Drum Major, spelling 'Texas' in a continuous script writing. Some variation of the formation is performed every year, and sometimes featured in a joint show with the Longhorn Alumni Band.
Wall to Wall Band
"Wall to Wall Band" is another traditional drill annually performed by Longhorn Band. The band starts in one end-zone and expands to the other while playing "March Grandioso". Before performing a counter-march in the opposite end-zone, Longhorn band covers the entire football field.
Originating in the 1920s, the Block 'T' is now performed during the pre-game show at all Unversity of Texas home football games. After forming the giant 'T', the band marches it to the end-zone for the Longhorn Football Team to run through as they enter the field. Variations of the formation can also be found during various Longhorn Band half-time performances.
Script Texas=Script Cal
Wall To Wall Band=National Anthem
Block "T"=Big "C," except they move their T.
Even though I have absolutely, positively no evidence on this (and I'm 100% certain we stole it from tOSU), I'm going to assume Cal was the first to invent all of these and Texas just copied it from us. THOSE MCCONAAUGHEY LOVING BASTARDS!Size/Composition/Marching Style
Interestingly, it looks as if for most of their history, they had drum majors for 3-4 years at a time. Starting in the late 70s, it became the standardized one year terms. I wonder what the thought process there was.
"Joe Drum Major has been our drum major for 14 years. He's 34 years old and still going to frat parties. Can nobody stop him??"
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 demanding movie soundtrack scores by John Williams regularly appear in any given season, past shows include Star Wars, Jurassic Park, Far and Away andRaiders of the Lost Ark.
That amused me. They only do 4 non-traditional shows each year, furthering illustrating their focus on caring. But it is interesting that they brag about playing John Williams songs. Wow, congrats, you play music from Star Wars! I bet you have a Michael Jackson show, too.
Bragging about playing John Williams scores in the marching band is like me bragging about using correct spelling and grammar when blogging. Everybody else is doing it already!
Well, OK, bad example. But my point still stands. If you aren't playing John Williams, then, let's talk.
They actually have an entire series of YouTube videos designed to teach people how to march. I'm not making this up. Check it out. Here is the video on how to raise one's hands and then lower them:
I love the drum major, by the way. He seems to embody every stereotype about drum majors (and considering I know like 11 of them, you'd think I'd drop all these stereotypes). He appears to be 35. Tucks his polo shirt into his pants. And those may or may not be BLACK jean shorts!
Here are a few more videos randomly selected that I look forward to seeing on "Oh Those Awkward Two Thousand And Teens" in 20 years:
I like this one, because it is teaching them how to stand still:
They actually have no videos up showing, yknow, actual band shows. It is just all of these videos teaching people how to prepare for their marching band audition.
Why The Cal Band Is Superior
Johnson contacted alumni known to have literary talent, hoping one would volunteer to write a UT song, but received only polite refusals. Not one to give up easily, Johnson turned to his fellow students, particularly band member John Lang Sinclair. Sinclair was an editor of the Cactus yearbook, a regular contributor to the University Literary Magazine, and was widely known as the "campus poet." Sinclair resisted at first, but Johnson continued to ask.
How awkward! "Please write me a fight song! PLEASE WRITE ME A FIGHT SONG! Why won't anybody write Texas a fight song?? PLEASE! PLEASE!"
Don't worry, Texas. I'll write you a fight song. I call it "Fight For California." You're welcome.
None. I've never seen them perform. I bet they are a bit stiff, though.