A school’s band is an important aspect of the college experience. The band’s musical performances can give support to sports teams and bring pride to the students of a particular institution. In 1929, the Texas College of Mines (now UTEP) Band had their picture shown in the College’s yearly Flowsheet for the first time in the school’s history. Underneath the band’s picture in the 1929 Flowsheet, it said: “Although the band has been in existence for two years, it was during the past year that it really earned for itself the honor of bearing the name.” That year, the Texas College of Mines Band was under the direction of musical leader Mr. Rayo Reyes. According to the El Paso Herald Post, Reyes was “prominent in El Paso musical circles” until Pancho Villa’s revolution began in 1910, where Reyes would later return to Mexico and was eventually made a General in charge of General Villa’s musical bands. The development of the Texas College of Mines Band was aided by the College Women’s Association who helped in gathering and securing instruments. Through the musical guidance of Rayo Reyes and the support of the College Women’s Association, the 1929 Flowsheet claimed that “the band has grown and improved,” and “is equal to any college band of its size in the southwest.”
Over time, the band here at the University of Texas at El Paso had grown considerably. It had transformed from one band in 1929 to an array of specialized musical groups including the UTEP Symphony Orchestra, Choir, and Mariachi band among others. In May of 2010, T. Andre Feagin joined the Department of Music faculty as an assistant professor of music, as well as taking over the direction of the UTEP Marching Miners, Pep Band, and Symphonic Band. “I want the school to know that this band is here, and that it’s alive and it’s growing” stated Feagin in 2010. The “Sound of the Southwest” Marching Miner Band performs a musical show before and during halftime of every UTEP football game playing traditional university songs as well as newer arrangments. During basketball games at the Don Haskins Center, the Pep Band is in charge of the musical entertainment which Feagin energetically conducts.
For a closer look regarding the assortment of musical ensembles at the University of Texas at El Paso, see here http://academics.utep.edu/Default.aspx?tabid=21746, as well as the Department of Music’s upcoming calendar of events, http://academics.utep.edu/Default.aspx?alias=academics.utep.edu/musicevents.
[Sources: The Flowsheet, 1929; “UTEP Welcomes New Marching Band Director,” News @ UTEP, June 14, 2010, by Chris Lechuga.]
Bryan Winter is an assistant in the C.L. Sonnichsen Special Collections Department of the UTEP Library. He earned a BS in Geography from New Mexico State University, and is currently in his final year as an MA student in History at UTEP.