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Former Longhorn Band Director Vincent DiNino Dies at 95

Vincent R. DiNinoAUSTIN, Texas The University of Texas at Austin mourns the passing of Vincent R. DiNino, director of bands emeritus. He was 95 years old.

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Vincent R. DiNino

The University of Texas Longhorn Marching Band with Flag Brigade in the Cotton Bowl Parade in Dallas on January 1,1973. 

AUSTIN, Texas The University of Texas at Austin mourns the passing of Vincent R. DiNino, director of bands emeritus. He was 95 years old.

Known affectionately by his students as “Mr. D.,” DiNino served as director of the Longhorn Band from 1955 to 1975 and as the university’s director of bands from 1975 to 1985.

DiNino touched the lives of thousands of Longhorn Band members during his tenure and remained a fixture at campus football and basketball games, concerts, rehearsals, workshops and weekly band staff meetings for the nearly 30 years after his retirement. His leadership was integral in establishing the reputation of the Longhorn Band as “The Showband of the Southwest.”

“Vincent R. DiNino is to the Longhorn Band what Darrell K Royal is to UT football,” said Robert Carnochan, current director of the Longhorn Band. “Through his charm, wit, dedication, passion, talent and desire, he built our program to what it is today. He had the unbelievable gift to recall the most minute details about nearly all of the thousands of members of the band who came through the doors of UT.”

DiNino graduated in 1941 with a B.S. in music education from the University of Minnesota, where he met his wife, Jane Dahlgren, who died in 2008.

Vincent R. DiNino

The University of Texas Longhorn Marching Band with Flag Brigade in the Cotton Bowl Parade in Dallas on January 1,1973. 

He went on to a 30-year career in UT Austin’s School of Music, serving as the first full-time director of the Longhorn Band. Under his leadership, the band acquired Big Bertha, the world’s largest bass drum; adopted its now well-known western-style burnt orange uniforms, complete with faux Stetsons; marched in the inaugural parades of Presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson; and opened itself up to women and minorities in 1955.

Jane and Vincent DiNino also served on the board of directors of the Longhorn Alumni Band, which established the Jane and Vincent R. DiNino Honorary Scholarship and the Jane Dahlgren DiNino Scholarship for Longhorn Band members. In 2000, the couple donated $500,000, half the funds for establishing the Vincent R. and Jane DiNino Chair in Music, to benefit students of the Longhorn Band.

Having recently returned to his home in Bay City, Texas, after an extensive stay at St. Luke’s Medical Center in Houston, Mr. DiNino was surrounded by family at the time of his passing in the late evening of Sept. 9.

He is survived by his second wife, Timothy Ann Hardy Sloan.

“All of us are the inheritors and beneficiaries of his energy, his integrity and his standards. We will always be grateful, and we’ll do our best,” said Mary Ellen Poole, director of the Butler School of Music, which is home to the Longhorn Band.

Audio files of DiNino conducting the Longhorn Band in 1963, courtesy of the Dolph Briscoe Center for American History: The Eyes of Texas” and “Texas Fight.”

The official memorial service for DiNino will be held on Sunday, Oct. 19 at 10 a.m. in the Bass Concert Hall on UT Austin campus. The University of Texas Longhorn Band, members of The University of Texas Longhorn Alumni Band and The University of Texas Wind Ensemble will be featured.

The Annual Alumni Band Day will be held on Saturday, Oct. 18 at which the halftime performance will be dedicated to DiNino and feature the iconic shows and music made famous during his tenure.