UT Wordmark Primary UT Wordmark Formal Shield Texas UT News Camera Chevron Close Search Copy Link Download File Hamburger Menu Time Stamp Open in browser Load More Pull quote Cloudy and windy Cloudy Partly Cloudy Rain and snow Rain Showers Snow Sunny Thunderstorms Wind and Rain Windy Facebook Instagram LinkedIn Twitter email alert map calendar bullhorn

UT News

Longhorn Band for Life

Two color orange horizontal divider
IMG_1299 (1)

Meet Paula Boothman,
Bachelor of Music ’24

On game day, Paula Boothman’s entire being reverberates with Longhorn spirit. As the drum major for the Longhorn Band for the past two seasons, she has led 400 band members down the field to the swells of a cheering crowd. Now Paula readies for a different march — one that crosses the stage at commencement and into a future in music education.

Music has always been important to Paula’s family. Her mother was an elementary school music teacher, and her father enjoyed his time as a drum major in college. Like countless other sixth-graders, Paula was introduced to band in middle school, where she chose the clarinet. She later joined her high school band and embraced her first experience as a drum major.

Paula initially planned to attend the U.S. Air Force Academy to become a pilot, but after visiting the Forty Acres, she fell in love with the UT campus and Austin. As a freshman clarinetist in the Longhorn Band, she soon realized she wanted to make music more than a hobby. A few years later, she was honored to be chosen as the drum major for the Showband of the Southwest and credits the experience for teaching her great lessons in leadership and communication.

“It was a huge responsibility,” says Paula. “I taught all marching fundamentals in fall band camp and during the beginning of the semester. More than 400 people looked to me for that instruction. I conducted in the stands at football games, led the band out pre-game, conducted halftime shows and served as middle manager between students and leaders.”

She is grateful for the band directors, who created a great experience for students, the numerous scholarships she received and the donors who made them possible, including Ernest and Sarah Butler, namesakes of the Butler School of Music.

“My scholarship donors changed my life,” Paula shares. “Because of them, I was able to fully invest in my studies, the Longhorn Band and my future as an educator. I can’t thank them enough.”

In May, she graduates with a degree in instrumental music studies. After teaching middle- or high-school band for a few years, she hopes to attend graduate school for wind conducting. Voted by her peers as “most likely to be the director of the Longhorn Band,” Paula would embrace the opportunity. “UT Austin is the best place to be, and everyone knows it,” she says.

“People outside of band may view participation as a sacrifice, but I can say confidently that most of us would not want to be anywhere else. We love UT sports, we love the friendships and we love being in the front row supporting the team and blasting the music. The best part of music is sharing it with other people,” says Paula.

Back the Band
This year the Longhorn Band celebrates its 125th season of ringing the cowbells, shaking the fringe and raising the spirits of Longhorn Nation. The band, alongside Texas Athletics, will also move to the Southeastern Conference and compete on collegiate sports’ biggest stage. With your help, we can send the Showband of the Southwest into the SEC as the country’s best — and best-supported — band. Learn more.