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'The Voice' of the Fightin' Texas Aggie Band retires after 40 years, reflects on extraordinary career

Posted at 6:21 PM, Dec 18, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-18 19:21:09-05

COLLEGE STATION, TEXAS — After 40 years of serving as the voice of the Fightin' Texas Aggie Band, Colonel Jay Brewer '81, has signed off for the last time.

A former A&M bandsman himself, Col. Brewer calls the title, "The Voice" of the Fightin' Texas Aggie Band, humbling and quite the honor.

"I started announcing the band in the fall of 1981 when I went to work for Col. Joe T Haney, who was the director at the time. I have been doing that at all of the home games and away games ever sine. So... a long time," said Col. Brewer.

In that long time, Col. Brewer says he watched as students worked hard to bring the program success. It's success The Voice himself wouldn't have had without those thousands of band members.

"I tell people... that introduction... it's not about me... It's about those young men and women that stand in the north end zone, because I know first-hand what they go through to get to that point during the week," he added.

This voice calls himself just an average A&M student and an average bandsman. He says he never thought this opportunity would be his.

"I had a job with John Deere when I graduated. I never worked one day for John Deere. I went straight to work for Texas A&M. It's been a dream come true, mainly because of the people. Everything I do and everything I have to say about my experience with A&M has to do, number one with our students and the people and getting to work with them and help them grow up while they are here at A&M," Col. Brewer said.

The Aggie credits the students and the people through both the good and bad times. One of those not so good times? Trying to navigate a program through a pandemic.

"This year in particular under COVID-19, this year's Aggie Band, from the top leadership to the last freshman on the roster, these kids responded in a most professional way. They are very resilient," he added. "We were able, with the cooperation with Ross Bjork and Kevin Hurley with the athletic department and Andy Richardson, we were able to go over, and they opened up Kyle Field and they filmed the drills and I announced the drills on Wednesday mornings and we did that for all 5 games."

Of all the games in which he has introduced the band, he says he won't forget the November 28, 2020 game against LSU as long as he lives. At the half, Col. Brewer and his family were asked to join Aggie officials on the field as they presented him with the game ball.

In his eyes, it was a full-circle moment.

"...and I told Ross Bjork something that most people don't know. That that football was the very reason that I was there that day. My dad played football for Homer Norton in 1939 and 1940, and that's how my dad got to go to college and study mechanical engineering and chemistry," he said. "I am absolutely thrilled and so honored and so humbled by all of this pouring out after all these years that perhaps I was able to help change a few lives and give young people a very unique opportunity in the ranks of the Aggie Band to kind of help them find out who they are and what they are made of and what they are passionate about."

Precision military marching combined with bold, brassy-sounding music provided the recipe for success and fulfillment for this Aggie alum.

"It has been just a dream come true... kinda like, who would have ever thought a mediocre student from Channelview, Texas, would get to go to A&M, play in the Aggie Band and then out of the thousands of people... ee. I get to spend the rest of my life and professional career right here in Aggieland with our Aggie Band," he added.

Col. Brewer can't think about his legacy without thinking of the thousands of band members that, through their performance, helped him gain popularity as the band's popularity grew.

He says nobody with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity should pass up the chance to do something big.

"Always be yourself. Don't try to be someone or something you are not. Do what you do and do it to your best God-given abilities," he said. "I think there are thousands of young people that would attest that's exactly what I was able to accomplish, with their cooperation of course."

Lt. Russell Tipton will be promoted to take the place of Colonel Brewer as the band's Senior Associate Director, but as far as who is announcing the Aggie Band next year, that individual is still unknown.

Reflecting on his final game, Col. Brewer said, "I kind of did something a little bit different than I normally do. Something to the effect for the last 40 years, "This has been the voice of the Fightin' Texas Aggie Band. This is Colonel Jay O. Brewer, Class of '81 signing off.""

Col. Brewer said saying those words proved to be the most difficult while serving as the Voice of the Aggie Band over the years.

The Voice says he doesn't officially retire as the band's Senior Associate Director until May and is not sure what is next for him and his post-band retirement.

No-matter who is voicing over the Aggie Band next year, Col. Brewer says he believes the program has a bright future ahead.