At 92, Vince DiNino Is Bandmaster Of The Year

The legendary director who made the Longhorn Band the Showband of the Southwest is still racking up honors in his 10th decade.

Vince DiNino, now director emeritus of the University of Texas Bands, has been named 2011 Bandmaster of the Year by the Texas Bandmasters Association.

The story of how DiNino transformed the band when he became its first full-time director in 1955 is the stuff of Texas lore.

When the Minnesota grad came on board, he told The Alcalde years ago, the group was disheartened. For the first five and a half decades since its founding in 1900, the band had been run by students and left to run without much supervision or support.

The all-male (and all-white) band was housed in old army barracks. They had switched from the cowboy-style uniforms to ones that looked more “high school.”

That first year, DiNino hoped 150 students would register for band. He got 70, and the first football game was just a week away.

He wanted to debut a new marching style, new musical arrangements, new Western uniforms, and a new sense of discipline.

In short order, DiNino folded in all the new elements — and integrated the band. And the reaction? 

“Fortunately, the alumni liked us, the student body liked us, Dean McCown and his committee liked us, and the student government who provided our funds through the blanket tax liked us,” DiNino said. “Hallelujah!”

Over the next few decades, the band grew to the high-stepping point of Texas pride it is today — complete with around 400 members, great diversity, five directors, numerous assistants, student section leaders, high-tech equipment, and snazzy uniforms.

Long live Vince DiNino!

Top: Vince DiNino directs in Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium. Left: Vince DiNino (second from left) and fellow band directors are commended by Jack Maguire, then-executive director of the Texas Exes. Photos from The Alcalde archives.



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