The Way Back: Texas Campeón

The Way Back: Texas Campeón

Unlocking the vault of UT history.

Texas football lost the 1972 Cotton Bowl to Penn State in Dallas. But within two days, the Longhorn Band was on to its next journey, boarding a plane to Lima, Peru for the band’s first-ever performance tour abroad. Their goodwill tour was an espectáculo success, with the trip raising more than $15,000 for victims of the 1970 Peruvian earthquake.

Over eight days, the 100-strong band played multiple gigs, from concerts at the municipal theater to impromptu jazz shows in local cafes. The highlight of the trip was their raucous reception at the national soccer stadium, where they spelled out “LIMA” in formation, and played “Peru Campeón,” the Peruvian equivalent of “The Eyes of Texas.”

Sponsored by the Texas-Peru Partners of the Americas, the excursion warranted notice in the Jan. 15, 1972 issue of Billboard magazine. After the band had returned home, provost Stanley Ross wrote a letter to UT-Austin president Stephen Spurr. “We may not have won the Cotton Bowl,” it read, “but our bellas waripoleras [beautiful baton-twirlers] wowed them in Peru!”

The Longhorn Band serenades Peru’s first lady, Consuelo de Velasco. Photo courtesy UT Longhorn Band Records, Briscoe Center for American History.

 

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