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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If the idea of the metaverse makes you feel more scared than excited, you’re not alone.
In a recent poll on the metaverse, a third of respondents leaned toward feeling more scared about it. It’s a response fitting for a tool that’s in its infancy stages, where it’s not uncommon for some to find it elusive or irrelevant, or require a virtual reality headset.
Amber Allen, founder of metaverse company Double A, has noticed these concerns. Now with the Austin-based company, she’s working on advancements in the metaverse, which may see progress in business use before it becomes mainstream in the general public. But getting to that point involves demystifying misconceptions over it, like that we’ll all put a headset on and avoid real life.
“A lot of people are talking about the metaverse and like what it could be in 10 or 30 years. And they're not talking a lot about what it is right now. And I think that's what scares people and confuses them,” Allen told Austonia. “I'm just very passionate about what is the metaverse now. It's the next wave of the internet. No, you don't need to wear a VR headset.”
She broke this down last week in Forbes, writing about what is hype versus what’s actually happening with this phase of the internet.
Allen sees how eventually, the metaverse could become a part of how we play and interact. But before the Metaverse extends to the average consumer, many predict that it will be popular in business first.
It’s why some think Microsoft may have an edge over Facebook turned Meta in the industry. And why Allen has designed for work that’s 3D, interactive and business to business, garnering interest from companies like General Mills, Dell and Chanel.
She points to how many workers now prefer a hybrid work environment, but says the business tools are not there right now. It’s not just within the workplace, however. Double A also offers tools for boosting sales and generating brand engagement through activities like watch parties and meet and greets.
With companies like Allen’s, corporate metaverse use could see wider adoption. Double A has hired 13 people this year, adding to the ranks of nearly 30 employees plus dozens of contractors. Some are remote workers outside of Texas while others use the office in East Austin with graffiti art that includes popular gaming figures like Zelda and the Mario Brothers.
Allen takes great pride in working in her home state, saying that she’d like to be a great ambassador for Austin. She said she wants people new to the city to feel welcome. She has meet ups from time to time so that new people who have moved in can get face time with others who have been in Austin for a while.
Still, her work is bound to extend outside of Austin as she aims to create products that will have global reach.
“I want to change the world,” Allen said. “You got to think localized. If I'm creating something, how does this work for Europe? How would this work for Asia? How can they build on things?”
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The record-breaking heat seen last week is officially coming to a halt as some much-needed rain is expected in Austin from Monday through Wednesday.
The National Weather Service has issued a Hazardous Weather Outlook for Central Texas as thunderstorms headed this way could be strong to severe.
Thunderstorms are forecast to begin in the west around 6 p.m. Monday, bringing about a half-inch of rain through the night. Then Tuesday, thunderstorms will likely begin after 1 p.m. lasting through the night. Temperatures on Monday and Tuesday will be in the mid-80s before dropping to the mid-70s on Wednesday. Wednesday will also bring rain and thunderstorms in the morning before clearing out.
Rainfall chances will increase today beginning in the west before spreading east. Rain chances remain elevated through tonight and then again tomorrow and tomorrow night. Strong to severe storms and locally heavy rain will be possible from the stronger activity. pic.twitter.com/f8OpN50dkX
— NWS Austin/San Antonio (@NWSSanAntonio) May 23, 2022
The rain comes after a dry spring that has pushed drought conditions from moderate to severe, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. Lake Travis has dropped to its lowest level in almost 4 years as a result.