Back the Band

Gifts from two members of the Longhorn Alumni Band are helping the band march toward special milestones.
Band Header

Photo: Dave Wilson

Since 1900, the Longhorn Band has played an enormous role on the Forty Acres. With close to 400 members, the band is the largest student spirit organization and the heartbeat of every UT game day. The band has entertained audiences at home, away and at some of the nation’s biggest events, including the inaugural parades of six U.S. presidents and a Super Bowl.

The band has some big steps ahead of it in 2024. Texas Athletics is joining the Southeastern Conference — an opportunity for our student-athletes to compete on collegiate sports’ biggest stage and for the band to perform on the same field as some of the most well-funded bands in the country. The band will also celebrate its 125th season of ringing the cowbells, shaking the fringe and raising the spirits of Longhorn Nation. We’re marking these major milestones with a look at two donors who are helping the band keep marching forward.

Stepping Up for the Band

Growing up on a farm in Karnes City, Texas, Longhorn Band alumna Kathy Pustejovsky O’Connor immersed herself in reading to avoid doing chores. “If I was reading a book, Daddy never asked me to go help plant potatoes or shear sheep or whatever he was doing at the time,” Kathy laughs.

Perhaps it was her love of literature that gave her a desire to create “happily ever after” moments, which is her goal in establishing the Kathy Pustejovsky O’Connor Scholarship for the Longhorn Band. Kathy’s endowed scholarship will make significant awards to band members who have graduated from small public high schools, giving them opportunities to experience all the fun she enjoyed as a member of the Showband of the Southwest.

Kathy O’Connor doing the hook'em gesture

Kathy O’Connor’s Longhorn pride began with her involvement in the Longhorn Band, where she made many friends and memories.

Among Kathy’s favorite Longhorn Band stories are the trip to Washington, D.C. to perform at President Reagan’s inauguration and traveling to France with the Longhorn Alumni Band for the 75th anniversary of D-Day. “People were leaning out of their windows in Sainte-Mère-Église, cheering as the band marched by on winding cobblestone streets,” she recalls. She also remembers how the band helped her make the adjustment from a small town to the Forty Acres through the community and friendship it provided. “A lot of small-town kids are a little leery of UT because it’s so big,” says Kathy, who played piccolo. “Well, it’s not when you’re in the band!”

Kathy graduated from UT with a degree in pharmacy in 1981 and credits the band for helping her develop career skills. “Being in the band gave me so much confidence and pride,” she says, “and it helps you develop leadership skills. Every once in a while, we’d go to a game and things weren’t going right and yet somehow we always made it work. In my career, I approached problems the same way. Being in the band helps you become a problem-solver.”

Now retired after 30 years as a pharmacy manager in Dallas, Kathy plays flute in several church ensembles, assists high school students in the Dallas Winds Honor Band, and performs with both the Frisco Community Band and the Longhorn Alumni Band. Knowing her gift is giving students the chance to create memories of their own is just one more happy chapter of Kathy’s life. “Being able to help students out makes me feel wonderful,” she says.

UT Burnt Orange Fringe Button with Back the Band and Longhorns logo

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An Awestruck Feeling

For Austinite Randall J. Storm, BBA ’83, pride in the Longhorn Band began long before his freshman year. He had seen the band on television and decided he wanted to be part of it. Forty-four years after he first walked into the stadium as one of the band’s trombonists, he still remembers how it felt.

Randall J. Storm doing the hook'em gesture

In 2022-23, Randall J. Storm served as president of the Longhorn Alumni Band, keeping him connected to UT and the friends he made there. Photo: Ricky Clack

“You could barely get through the first song because you were just so awestruck with coming into the stadium,” he recalls. “You got to wear the uniform and the Stetson, and you spent all of halftime trying to make your fringe hit the person next to you when you turned.”
“My bequest is for sustaining the Longhorn Band so it continues to be the number one marching band in the United States, if not the world.”

Randall J. Storm
2022-23 President, Longhorn Alumni Band

Being in the Showband of the Southwest gave Randall many opportunities to create lifelong memories. As the band prepares for Texas Athletics’ move to the Southeastern Conference in 2024 and the celebration of its own 125th season, Randall wants the tradition and spectacle to continue. In addition to his annual gifts, he has written the Longhorn Band into his estate plan.

“My annual contribution goes toward scholarships for students with the greatest need,” says Randall. “If students march and play well enough to be in the band, I want to reduce some of their financial worries. My bequest is for sustaining the Longhorn Band so it continues to be the number one band in the United States, if not the world.”

Randall maintains his connection to UT as a member of the Longhorn Alumni Band. Since his college days, the band’s needs have grown, and so has Randall’s awestruck feeling.

“The current band’s drills are so much more intricate than ours ever were,” he says. “They play better, they march better, they have a whole different style than what we had. Watching them do halftime shows, I’m always amazed by what they can do on the field.”

Longhorn Band student Isaac Dominguez

“Being in the band is a privilege that requires dedication and lots of practice time beyond my academic pursuits. The scholarships that donors provide allow me to fully apply myself to my studies and focus on what’s most important.”

Isaac Dominguez
Pharm.D. ’26
Scholarship recipient

Longhorn Band student Isaac Dominguez
Thank you to the University Co-op for sponsoring course material scholarships for every member of the Longhorn Band. This extraordinary annual support will position band members for success across all their studies.
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Texas Leader Magazine

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