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The Longhorn Band will be required to perform "The Eyes of Texas" at University of Texas sporting events, the Butler School of Music wrote in a press release Wednesday.
In part due to controversy over the alma mater's connection to minstrel shows, the university has announced its future plans include "increased performance options and reduced financial burden for students." To make concessions with the UT students who have refused to play "The Eyes of Texas," the university will begin funding for a separate band, set to start in fall 2022, that will not force students to play the song.
Leaders from the College of Fine Arts, Butler School of Music and University Bands will bring more funding to the bands and students themselves. In addition to the creation of the yet-to-be-named band, students in both the Longhorn Band and new ensemble will receive $1,000 scholarships, and merit-based scholarships will be given out just as before. Section leaders will be awarded at least $2,500 in scholarships.
To avoid forcing students who disagree with the alma mater's storied past, those who opt out of the Longhorn Band next fall to await the new band will still receive merit-based scholarships.
UT President Jay Hartzell endorsed the plan and said that the new funding will take the university's legendary bands to the next level.
"We need to celebrate and nurture what makes UT special, and the Longhorn Band is one of those great organizations that shape our campus culture, elevate school spirit and provide amazing opportunities for our students," Hartzell said in the press release. "Our multi-million-dollar commitment over the next five years will support the Longhorn Band in restoring–and even going beyond–its former glory, while also providing strong support for our entire portfolio of university bands."
With the new band in the works, here's what the university's collection of bands will look like, per the press release:
- The Longhorn Band will be the most high-profile of the university's bands and will perform at university events, sporting events, graduation and alumni ceremonies. This band will be required to play the alma mater.
- The Longhorn Pep Band will perform at sporting events such as basketball and volleyball games. This band will also be required to play the alma mater.
- Existing University Bands include four University Concert Bands, University Jazz Ensemble, University Percussion Ensemble and the University Color Guard.
- The University Mariachi Paredes is continuing to grow as a unique musical group for the program. While the band won't be required to play the alma mater or other traditional university songs, they will have the option to in certain circumstances.
- Finally, the new University Band will follow a marching band format "with a focus on leading/directing bands and community engagement." The band will not play the alma mater.
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A week after Texas added two congressional seats and California lost one, state officials reported a population decline in 2020 for the first time in the Golden State's history.
California fell by over 182,000 people from January 2020 to January 2021, dropping almost 0.5% to cap out at around 39.5 million people. It is still the nation's most populous state.
For over thirty years, California has seen more people leave than move in from other states, state officials said, with 6.1 million people moving out and 4.9 million coming in last year. Immigration and births kept California growing, but the state saw a shrink in international migration in 2020 due to COVID and the White House's hold on visas.
Of the steady flow of ex-Californians moving to other states, more are moving to Texas than any other state. Many are relocating to Austin, which has been labeled a "little California" by billionaire resident Elon Musk and continues to grow astronomically.
Meanwhile, California cities including Los Angeles, San Diego, San Jose and San Francisco saw a population decline.
With immigration and state migration on the decline, the Golden State was also hit with a spike in deaths- 51,000 people died from COVID in 2020, and all but seven of the state's counties saw death rates higher than the three-year average.
Still, the California Department of Finance said a "slightly positive annual growth" can be expected next year as the state recovers from COVID deaths and political repercussions.
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