Remembering Gary Johnson

Gary Owen Johnson, 62, of Lincoln, passed away on May 13, 2021, in Lincoln. Born on December 17, 1958, in Butte, Nebraska to Owen and Lavaun (Parks) Johnson. 

Gary Johnson

Gary graduated from Butte High School in 1977. After high school, Gary attended the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s College of Journalism and Mass Communications, where he played trumpet in the Cornhusker Marching Band. After college, Gary went on to have a 30-year career as a revered broadcast journalist for KOLN in Lincoln and WOWT in Omaha. He was a member of Cathedral of the Risen Christ of Lincoln, where he proudly volunteered his time as a CCD teacher. Gary enjoyed being outside and active, often enjoying biking, swimming, and playing golf. 

Rosary will be Wednesday, May 19, 2021 at 7:30pm at Butherus Maser & Love Funeral Home. Mass of Christian Burial will be Thursday, May 20, 2021 @ 10:30am at the Cathedral of The Risen Christ, 3500 Sheridan Blvd. burial will follow at Calvary Cemetery. Memorials to the Family for later designation.

Read the full obituary from Butherus, Maser & Love Funeral Home.

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Remembering our Charter Member, Bob Maag

Bob Maag

October 31, 1935 – May 11, 2021
Robert G. “Bob” Maag was born on October 31, 1935, in Denver, Colorado, to Arthur and Edna (Willis) Maag. Bob graduated from McCook high school in 1953. He attended Colorado A&M (now CSU) and McCook Junior College before enrolling in the University of Nebraska—Lincoln where he was a member of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, Gamma Lambda Band fraternity and Theta Xi. He received his Bachelor of Music Education degree in 1958 and the Master of Music in 1962. Bob was a charter member of the UNL Band Alumni Association.

On July 19,1958, in Lincoln, he married Joy Ann Schmidt of Red Oak, lowa. That same year he was hired by Waverly Public Schools to teach K-12 vocal and instrumental music. Bob taught in Waverly for 33 years where he developed an instrumental music program recognized statewide for its excellence. After retiring from Waverly, he taught elementary school band in Lincoln Public schools from 1991-1995. He then worked part-time for 18 years in the sheet music department at the downtown Dietze Music store. In 2008 he founded the Waverly Area Community Band which he conducted for 8 years.

Bob was a charter member and past president of Nebraska State Bandmasters Association where the Varsity Band was invited to perform at the state convention in 1983 and 1990. He co-authored a book entitled “History of the Band Movement in Nebraska”, published in 2006 which earned him NSBA’s Distinguished Service Award. ln 1988 he received the NSBA’s highest honor, the Donald A. Lentz outstanding Bandmaster Award and also the National Band Association Citation of Excellence.

He was a member of the National Association for Music Education and a lifetime member of the Nebraska Music Educators Association. He served as the NMEA Band Chairman from t977-I979 and was inducted into the NMEA Hall of Fame in 2013. He was a lifetime member of the NEA and the NSEA.

Bob played tuba in the Lincoln Symphony Orchestra for 18 years, the Lincoln Municipal Band for 24 years, and the Lincoln Community Concert Band for 19 years.

Memorial Service: 10:30 am Wednesday (5-19-21) Waverly United Methodist Church with Pastor Jacob Cloud officiating followed by a reception at the Waverly Community Center. Livestream at

Memorials to First United Methodist Church of Waverly or School District #145 Foundation for Education.

Read the full obituary.

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Proud to Be a Member of the Newly Organized National Association of Alumni Bands

Alumni organizations from college bands across the nation have formed a National Association of Alumni Bands to share best practices and provide leadership and coordination for such programs.  Leaders from alumni band groups announced the formation of the NAOAB with a mission “to serve as the indispensable advocate and resource for alumni bands across the U.S.”  By serving as the flagship association of the highest caliber, the association’s goal is to develop and enhance peer connections to solve issues, develop strategies and provide a conduit for alumni band leaders to learn how to better serve their constituency and members.

Alumni of America’s leading college and university marching bands carry on their premiere collegiate experience in marching band through such alumni associations.  The groups not only engender financial support for the current band but also provide an outlet for ongoing performances by alumni musicians.

UNL Band Alumni Association, Inc. is proud to be a member of the new national organization.

“Our vision with NAoAB is to help the leaders in collegiate alumni band programs grow and better understand best practices from other organizations and to help those who want to start their alumni bands, from the ground-level” said Geof Sloan, President and chair of the organizing committee.  The organizing committee was formed at the Alumni Band Symposium hosted by the University of Washington Husky Alumni Band in May 2019.  During the past year the committee followed a rigorous process of writing the governing documents and bylaws that formally created NAoAB.

Positive Impact

Many alumni bands have already benefited from three national symposia, where 24 Charter Member organizations have shared their successes and experiences.

“The excitement generated from the symposium presentations and roundtables enabled representatives from every attending alumni band organization to return home with energizing ideas to make game-changing contributions to their alumni bands.”

Lee Butts, President Elect of NAoAB

“Thanks to the stories shared at the symposium, we had the most successful Homecoming event in our very young history.  We used many of the ideas that you all brought to the symposium and came away with a balance that I then believed we could turn around this year and use to support our student band, the #1 reason for the existence of our band alumni organizations!”

Sarah Eishen, San Diego State University Marching Aztecs Alumni Band

“This organization was there to advise me as I assumed the role of new President of the Clemson University Tiger Band Association. That advice helped me avoid possible missteps as we rapidly grew with our goals.”

Tom Waldrop, newly elected Vice President of NAoAB

“After attending the first symposium in 2015 in Seattle, I couldn’t wait to get back to my next Gator Band Alumni Association Board meeting to relay ideas and stories.  Now, I am in a position to share our successes with others.”

Robin Oegerle, newly elected Treasurer of NAoAB

Photos and Biographies of the NAoAB national officers:

To see a complete list of the 24 Charter Members:  NAoAB Website–Charter Members

To learn more about the National Association of Alumni Bands:

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Tyler Butterfield Memorial Scholarship

The Epsilon Omega chapter of Kappa Kappa Psi at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln is proud to announce the creation of the Tyler Butterfield Memorial Scholarship. This scholarship was made in memory of Tyler Butterfield, a brother, trumpet player, musician, and friend who passed away on October 26, 2018. Tyler was a beloved member of the KKΨ and UNL band family and is missed dearly. This scholarship is meant to honor band members at UNL who embody the same characteristics as Tyler, including demonstrating dedication, loyalty, supportiveness, and encouragement of others in their time at UNL. 

Tyler Butterfield
Tyler Butterfield

The first annual Tyler Butterfield Memorial Scholarship recipient will be named this spring. In order for this scholarship to continue for years to come, we are asking for donations to help honor future students and remember Tyler. You can give directly to this fund with 100% of the proceeds going towards future recipients of this scholarship. Please consider donating to this meaningful remembrance of our brother.

Thank you.

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2020 Russ Swanson Outstanding Band Members Announced

On Saturday, February 20, 2021, the Cornhusker Marching Band held their Band Awards Ceremony online instead of their usual banquet. During that time, the UNL Band Alumni Association was pleased to award the 2020 Russ Swanson Outstanding Band Member Awards to Jacob Coughlin and Sydney McGahan.

Sydney McGahan

Sydney McGahan
Sydney McGahan

Sydney McGahan, from North Platte, Nebraska, has been a member of the Cornhusker Marching Band for five years as a member of the trombone section and as drum major this past year. She graduated December 2020 with a major in Music Education and a minor in Leadership and Communications. Sydney’s older brother, Nathan, played sousaphone in the band. She is currently applying for teaching jobs, with the hopes of teaching K-5 General Music.

Why did you choose to attend UNL?
Both of my parents attended UNL, and I was pretty excited to do the same! I’ve wanted to be a member of the CMB since I was little. You can’t really do that while attending a different college!

What is the first impression you had of the UNL Band/Game?
My very first husker game, I was 8 or 9 I think, I was sitting in North Stadium with my mom. During pregame, there was a flyover (I couldn’t see it coming because we were in North Stadium) and it was so loud that I managed to drop my root beer, let go of my balloon, and cry at the same time. Once I was calmed down, my mom offered to get me another drink around halftime. I, rather forcefully, told her that I was there to watch the band and that we could get a new drink “while the football was happening.” 🙂

What is a memorable moment with the CMB you’d like to share?
I feel like I’m expected to say something along the lines of my first pregame, but I definitely blacked out for that and don’t remember it. I made it out okay on the other side, but the details are fuzzy 🙂 So instead: During the away trip to Wisconsin, a few band members and I went under the stands to buy some of the infamous cheese curds. There was a Wisconsin fan in front of us that INSISTED we needed to be treated to the best part of Wisconsin football and bought an order of curds for each of us. There’s also the Michigan State game that the only points were from field goals. After the game, it had started snowing, and a few of the trombones started making snow angels on the field. I have so many memories that are worthy of being shared, but that would take entirely too long. My favorite part of being a member of the CMB is all of the people I’ve met. I gained numerous lifelong friends, and I owe that to this ensemble. 

How may the scholarship help you?
Since I’ve already graduated, the money will be going toward supplies for my future classroom!

“I’m incredibly honored to be chosen for this award! I’ve done nothing short of pouring my heart into the CMB, and I wouldn’t change it for the world!”

Sydney McGahan

Jacob Coughlin

Jacob Coughlin
Jacob Coughlin

Jacob Coughlin, from Millard North HS in Omaha, Nebraska, has been a member of the Cornhusker Marching Band playing Baritone/Euphonium and also served as Drum Major. He is a 5th year Senior with a Business Management major with a minor in music (Euphonium emphasis). After graduation, Jacob plans to pursue the field of public service in the role of firefighter and/or paramedic.

If the name sounds familiar, Jacob’s older sister, Meghan, was in the CMB from 2013 to 2017. She marched clarinet, then a Drum Major for the 2016 and 2017 seasons. Meghan and Jacob were Drum Majors together during the 2017 season (Jacob’s Sophomore year and her second Senior Year).

Why did you choose to attend UNL?
My decision to come to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln was quite simple. At the time, I was interested in pursuing a music education degree and UNL was both finically responsible while still boasting an incredible music education program. While at UNL, my dreams and ambitions have changed, but the music and band programs here continue to be one of the primary reasons I love this University.

What is the first impression you had of the UNL Band/Game?
My first impression of the UNL band was while I was in high school and I attended one of the exhibition nights to watch my sister. I was blown away by the level of professionalism they were able to show while having so much fun. It was such a fun and engaging experience that ignited my interest in being in the ensemble.

What is a memorable moment with the CMB you’d like to share?
My most memorable times with UNL Bands would be when the Cornhusker Marching Band travels. During my time in the band, I have had the opportunity to go to Northwestern University (2016 season), the Music City Bowl in Nashville, TN (2016 season), University of Wisconsin-Madison (2018 season), and University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (2019 season). CMB trips always bring fun stories, whether it’s going out at midnight to get pizza in the middle Springfield, Illinois or marching an entire halftime show at a Madison, WI high school in torrential downpour, CMB always makes the most out of every situation.

How may the scholarship help you?
I plan to use this scholarship towards a Life-membership in Kappa Kappa Psi once I graduate. While here at Nebraska, I have had the opportunity to serve the UNL band program alongside my brothers, and I hope to be able to continue that service as a life member of Kappa Kappa Psi for many years to come.

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