LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - While the Red Raider football team prepares for Saturday's game against the Rice owls. Another alumni group is also studying formations. This weekend marks the 22nd year of the Goin' Band Alumni Day and Friday night marchers of all ages gathered to celebrate a rich tradition.
The Red Raider football experience would not be complete without the players or the fans but it's the Goin' Band that brings everyone together on game days. For 22 years, thousands harmonized under Texas Tech's second band director, Dean Killion. Six decades of marchers gathered to honor the man whose legacy they say still lives on. Killion changed the ways of the band in 1959.
"He's considered by many to be the founder of many traditions of the Tech band," says Band Alumni Association President Brent Swink. That's why the association chose to honor Killion on the 50th anniversary of his first year at Texas Tech.
"When he arrived the band had 80 people now it's 400 and that's the way it's been ever since," says Swink. Killion's Millions as his marchers were referred to focused on precision, formations and drills all of which you still see on the field. His wife Pat says the band meant everything to her late husband. "After he came the band began to do things and they've been doing them ever since," she says.
"He really put a spark in it," says Phil Pearce who played trumpet for Killion in 1959. Pearce says Killion's legacy influenced his life. "He came my senior year so I only had one year with him but it totally changed my idea of being a band director and making it a full time career," adds Pearce. He and his wife drove 700 miles from Mesa, Arizona and still to this day remembers the one thing his former director stressed. "Being precise and being on time, and no excuses for missing rehearsal," reflects Pearce.
"It was the beginning of such a great era," says Killion, who adds that it was amazing to see some of the kids her husband directed.
Two hundred and twenty-five of the nearly 500 alumni marchers in town will join the current Tech Goin' Band on the field Saturday during half time. This is the largest alumni group to play at a game.
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