The second way to contribute is through a planned gift, or estate gift. While Kostka has been active in the Alumni Band for decades, he recently became even more involved when he joined UT as a development officer for gift planning. When the Longhorn Band came to Texas Development for a fundraising effort, Kostka was a natural choice to help lead the campaign.
With Kostka’s help, the University recently launched the Back the Band campaign to raise awareness about the Longhorn Band’s needs and to ensure the Showband of the Southwest marches into the SEC in 2024 as the best-supported band.
Beyond his devotion to the band, Kostka has personal motivation to get people to act on their good intentions. His mother, Marilyn Kostka, B.M. 1964, was a music education professor at UT and had always hoped to set up a scholarship for a someone studying to be an elementary music teacher. Despite Kent and his wife both being attorneys, she never put those plans in writing or let UT know her intentions. Later, Kent and his sister set up a scholarship endowment in her name, but she never had the chance to see it or be recognized by UT for her gift. “A lot of people have these plans and say, ‘Oh, I’ll do that someday,’ but by the time they’re older or have an illness, that’s not the time to be doing planning.”
He adds, “People do planned giving for their families, and this is your family.”
The family nature of the band was driven home recently, when UT’s first Black drum major, John Fleming, B.M. 1992, died, just 55. At his funeral in the church where he was very active, Kostka recalls more than half of the attendees were Alumni Band members. After the service, the group decided to go for Mexican food, and 70 people took over a restaurant, happily remembering John and catching up with dear friends.
Kostka recalls, “I got home and my wife asked if I was okay, and I said, ‘I hate to say it, but this is one of the best days I’ve had in a long time.’ She said, ‘What are you talking about? You were just at the funeral of a dear friend!’ I said, ‘I know. Give credit to John — he brought all of us together.”
Strengthening support for the Longhorn Band ensures the future of the soundtrack of the UT experience, the future of teamwork and leadership that band teaches, and the structure that gives rise to this extraordinary extended family.
Back the Band
In 2024, the Longhorn Band will celebrate its 125th season of ringing the cowbells, shaking the fringe and raising the spirits of Longhorn Nation. The band, alongside Texas Athletics, will also make the move to collegiate sports’ biggest stage — the Southeastern Conference. With your help, the Showband of the Southwest can march into the SEC as the country’s best and best-supported marching band. Learn more.