Texas president says ‘Eyes of Texas’ will continue to be played at games despite band members’ refusal

The Texas Longhorns won’t be backed by a band on Saturday. According to The Daily Texan, the Longhorn Band is not participating in the upcoming game against Baylor because multiple members don’t want to play “The Eyes of Texas.” So many members of the school’s band refused to play the song, in fact, that it now lacks “necessary instrumentation.”

University of Texas President Jay Hartzell confirmed the school will continue playing the song “at future games and events” but had “never planned for [the band] to perform live on Saturday.”

Hartzell continued in the statement, saying:

“We knew this summer that, as we make our campus a more welcoming place, we would face many hard conversations. I remain truly optimistic that we will find ways to join together around our song, which has been so positive for so many Longhorns over the past 120 years.”

Longhorn Band Director Scott Hanna told The Daily Texan, “Based on [survey responses], we do not have the necessary instrumentation, so we will not participate in Saturday’s game.”

Multiple members of the band confirmed that the survey asked if they’d be willing to play “The Eyes of Texas.” However, the survey results won’t affect the Longhorn Band playing at games in the future. Dean of the College of Fine Arts Douglas Dempster had previously maintained that the Longhorn Band was going to play “The Eyes of Texas” despite band members stating that they wouldn’t play the song due to its racist history.

Over the summer, students — including Longhorns players — campaigned for the school to stop playing “The Eyes of Texas” as the school’s alma mater. The opening verse of the song was reportedly inspired by Confederate general Robert E. Lee.

The band is reportedly “fairly evenly divided in opinion” when it comes to “The Eyes of Texas.” Without particular band members playing certain instruments though, the song can’t be performed.

“Moving toward resolution takes time and sustained effort,” Hanna added. “The conversations that have started are an important step toward that goal.”

Texas quarterback Sam Ehlinger made headlines Oct. 10 when he was one of the few Longhorns who sung “The Eyes of Texas” following their game against Oklahoma. In addition, there was a petition with more than 2,000 signatures that supported Ehlinger and the Longhorns for standing to sing the controversial song. 

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