The famous Texas Longhorn Band was founded at the University of Texas in 1900 by a chemistry professor, Dr. Eugene Schoch. With the aid of another professor, Dr. H. E. Baxter, they purchased about $150 of instruments from a local pawn shop. The first band was made up of eighteen students. Dr. Baxter was the director for the first five years until he was succeeded by Dr. Schoch. For a number of years, the band was led by students until Mr. Burnett Pharr became the director around 1917. The band continued to grow and evolve under various directors including Col. George E. Hurt (1936-1949), Moton Crockett (1949-1955), Dr. Vincent DiNino (1955-1975), Tom Rhodes, Glenn Richter, Paula Crider, Kevin Sedatole, Dr. Robert Carnochan and Dr. Scott Hanna (the current director).
Among the traditions of the band, which include their signature burnt orange uniforms, is “Big Bertha,” the massive bass drum that is called the “Sweetheart of the Longhorn Band.” Director Moton Crockett arranged for the purchase of the large instrument, built by the C. G. Conn company for another school, the University of Chicago, in 1922. When the University of Chicago discontinued playing varsity football in 1939, the eight foot high drum went into storage and was returned to the instrument manufacturer. The Longhorn Band became aware of its availability and set about to acquire it. As of this writing, the large bass drum is nearly 100 years old. Her dimensions are roughly eight feet by forty-one inches and she is elevated another two feet when on her carriage.
At last report, the Longhorn Band numbers about 375 students who register for a year round course in the Butler School of Music.
YouTube link to the Longhorn Band performing “March Grandioso” composed by Roland Forrest Seitz.