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The University of Texas marching band, long known as the “Showband of the Southwest,” may not perform again this season if band members can’t come to some agreement about playing “The Eyes of Texas.”
In late September, the university released a letter from the dean of the College of Fine Arts, Douglas Dempster. The band couldn’t play for the TCU game because of COVID-19. Beyond that, it was unclear.
However, Dempster wrote, “we clearly also need to have more reasoned and informed discussion about the ‘Eyes of Texas’ before the band can continue with its public performances.”
On Wednesday, The Daily Texan broke the news that the Longhorn Band would not play during Saturday’s game against Baylor. An internal memo from band director Scott Hanna said the band lacked the “necessary instrumentation” to perform, the school newspaper reported.
A person with knowledge of the situation told Hookem that the band would not play until “The Eyes” issue was resolved. The person requested anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly about the issue.
The century-old school song has become a flashpoint for its origins dating back to the early 1900s.
Texas athletic director Chris Del Conte is facing donor upheaval because football players have not stayed on the field for the postgame singing of “The Eyes” at home games. Football coach Tom Herman said Monday he has encouraged players to stay even though it’s not mandatory.
“I would definitely say it’s been more of a distraction,” defensive tackle Ta’Quon Graham said on Tuesday. “I thought we were past this point, past the issues surrounding the song. I thought we were just focusing on the season.”
Now, Longhorn Band members are divided on the issue.
“Moving toward resolution takes time and sustained effort,” Hanna said in the message obtained by The Daily Texan. “The conversations that have started are an important step toward that goal.”
Contact Brian Davis at 512-445-3957. Email [email protected]