Well, I did change my name (and on Facebook first, the real authority, or maybe just the one that didn't require a 2 hour wait). I got to thinking about why I wasn’t feeling that bad and why it seemed so easy to take on this new identity. My first thought is, although I do love my former last name and the family I came from, my immediate family members all have different names.
I am a humble man of humble means, but I have been fortunate enough to play a small part in some historical events. With a last name of a€?Tune,a€? it is appropriate that music has always been a large part of my life.
The ASVAB test told me I could be an engineer, so when it came time to pick a college, my future roommate John, also an aspiring engineer, decided that UT Austin would be the best place for us.
On New Year's Day, 1969, I was flipping channels on the TV and happened onto the Cotton Bowl in Dallas where UT was playing UT! As arrogant over-zealous college kids, we took great joy in chanting, a€?We're Number One!a€? - especially when by all measures it was literally true!
As a lowly freshman, I had little knowledge of the plans and preparation for taking a 200-piece band to a game in a€?enemya€? territory. As I recall, we left Austin Friday on a fleet of charter buses and headed for a hotel in a city in eastern Oklahoma, not far from Fayetteville, AK where the game was to be played.
When we got to the stadium we were surprised at how small it was - about half the size of the Memorial Stadium in Austin. We had just won what would soon be called a€?The Game of the Century,a€? but the band's jubilation quickly turned to confusion and concern. Lest you be overly impressed with my memory for details of the game, I must confess to having help.
We had no idea at the time that one of our junior safeties was playing through the pain of bone cancer. It was also a topic that my friends and I discussed together as each of us transformed from a bride to a wife. Whether by accident or destiny, to this day it continues to shape many of my most meaningful experiences.
I was a total band geek and, due to a close association between band and FOOTBALL, a huge football fan. The University of Texas beat The University of Tennessee for its 9th straight win, and I got my first glimpse of the University of Texas Longhorn Band! In addition to broadening my horizons, meeting my future wife, and an amazing trip to Peru, LHB was also following and supporting a pretty amazing football team. Darrell Royal and Emory Bellard had installed a new-fangled offense called the a€?wishbonea€? in '68 and after a couple of stumbles in September, James Street took over as quarterback and with a bevy of running backs, UT rattled off nine consecutive wins including the Southwest Conference championship and a Cotton Bowl victory over Tennessee. When a rivalry reaches this level of competition between flagship schools of two states, battle lines are clearly drawn. On Saturday we crossed the Arkansas border and drove to the UA campus and unloaded our equipment. As was (and still is) our tradition, we began playing a€?The Eyesa€? at the end of the game, but instead of a smiling and jubilant Vincent R.
One of the books written about this event is entitled, a€?Horns, Hogs, & Nixon Cominga€? by i??Terry Frei.


The '69 team went on to beat Notre Dame in the Cotton Bowl to claim an undisputed National Championship and extend their winning streak to 20 games. One of the books written about this event is entitled, a€?Horns, Hogs, & Nixon Cominga€? by Terry Frei.
My mom has the same last name as her parents and one brother, but my other two uncles have a separate last name.
I enthusiastically cheered the Mustangs on to a four-year record of 20-20, with trombone in hand. As seniors in high school, John and I thought we should start following UT's football team, but in the Fall of 1968 after a loss and a tie in September we lost interest and started focusing on the Mustang's eventual 5-5 season. TV executives decided before the season began to move the UT-Arkansas game to the first week in December thinking that it might be a significant matchup at the end of the season.
While I know most people from Arkansas are generous, hospitable people, the a€?football fana€? mindset can make people do crazy things. Once in formation we marched to the stadium to drum cadence chanting, a€?We're Number One, You're Number Two, We're gonna beat the Whoopie Outta You!a€? (or something equally clever). The game proved to be a defensive struggle, as is often the case when two great teams meet. My former roommate John was able to acquire a copy for me AND have James Street autograph it! They won all 10 regular season games of 1970 to extend the streak to 30, but then lost to Notre Dame in a Cotton Bowl rematch. In fact, the piano I still play daily is the one my Dad purchased in 1955 (I think) for our family. Arkansas began as the #2 team; defending National Champion (and pre-season #1) Ohio State was the overwhelming favorite to repeat.
The band back then had nearly 400 members, but due to expenses only about 200 people got to travel to out-of-town games.
I heard stories of people who had difficulty getting gasoline (and other services) if their cars bore Texas plates.
As he started pointing to the stands behind us we realized that projectiles were being hurled at the band from the angry crowd. If I remember correctly, the Longhorn Band was invited to the UT Football Banquet as special guests a few weeks later. We've had our ups and downs since then, but lately we've become one of those a€?wait until next yeara€? teams. If I remember correctly, the Longhorn Band was invited to the UT Football Banquet as special guests a few weeks later.A  Freddie desperately wanted to be there in spite of his recent surgery, and sure enough, when he made his way across the stage on his crutches and single leg, there was not a dry eye in the house. One of my friends had a sister attending Texas Tech, and his family took me to a Tech-Arkansas game in Lubbock. To add to this excitement, College Football was celebrating the 100th year of its existence.
Fortunately for me, brass players got priority when the numbers were cut, so as a freshman, I marched in every game except for the game at UCLA which was the only game the band did not attend. Thanks to a late season upset of Michigan over Ohio State, UT was #1 in the polls and Arkansas was #2. UT got off to a shaky start with multiple turnovers and by the end of the 3rd quarter we were staring at an inconceivable 14-0 deficit.


As more and more of us turned to dodge bottles and cups filled with questionable liquids, fewer and fewer continued playing until the song faded to a whimper at the end. Also, one of my Facebook friends, and former coworker at Caldwell ISD, is also a big fan of the game.
I'm still waiting, but that waiting is made much easier with the wonderful memories I have of those years. I am still sobered by the thought that the family piano that graced my parents' homes for 22 years has now been a part of my household for 38+ years.
The misery of our plight was captured on camera in the downcast face of one of our clarinets, Marilyn Edwards. On the first play of the 4th quarter, quarterback James Street ran 42 yards on a broken pass play to score UT's first points. Fortunately, no one in our band suffered injury but I was told later that a bottle intended for our group over shot and hit a girl in the Arkansas band. He alerted me to the fact that the game was being rebroadcast on LHN (the 46th anniversary of the game) so I taped it. I have not seen the movie yet.A  I don't even know who they got to play me - maybe Zac Ephron?
Coach Royal opted to go for two points and Street scored again on a keeper to close the score to 14-8. We quietly and inconspicuously lined up on the track to leave - as inconspicuous as 200 people dressed in orange and wearing cowboy hats can, that is.
Watching the game still evokes a lot of emotion, especially recognizing people I know in the shots of the band.
Coach Royal opted to go for two points and Street scored again on a keeper to close the score to 14-8.A  Our defense continued to keep the Arkansas offense in check and with just over 3 minutes left in the game, Texas was faced with a 4th down and 3 yards to go near mid-field. A line of official looking people temporarily blocked our exit and that's when I saw it: the top of Richard Nixon's head!! I don't know why the trombones were split up, but one group was on the front row and my group was up several rows from the bottom. He was on his way to the winning locker room to congratulate Royal and the team on their amazing come-from-behind victory. Randy Peschel was covered by two Arkansas defenders but still managed to catch Street's long pass at the 13 yard line to set up the eventual tying touchdown by Jim Bertlesen.A  Happy Feller kicked the extra point to give the Longhorns the lead. Arkansas moved the ball to within field goal range, but an interception by Tom Campbell sealed the win for UT.
Tom's twin brother Mike also played for the Longhorns and their Dad was one of Royal's top assistants.
Safely back at the hotel, we were finally able to relax, celebrate, and savor the highlights of the amazing game we had witnessed. They were still cleaning up Guadalupe street by the campus when we returned home on Sunday.



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