Marching Ravens Take the Field
Taking the Field
Twelve years without a football team might deter some band members, but not those in Baltimore’s Marching Ravens. Between 1984, when the Colts, the city’s pro football team, left, and 1996, when Cleveland’s NFL team moved to Baltimore and changed its name to the Ravens, the band played on. The group’s president, John Ziemann, saw to that. “I wanted to show the nation and the NFL that Baltimore could support a team,” he says.
Not only does Baltimore support the team and its band, but so do some 400 members, including musicians, flag line, honor guard, equipment crew, staff, and medical crew from eight states, including North Carolina and West Virginia. Some drive more than two hours to perform during home games and to attend Wednesday night rehearsals. They range in age from 14 to over 60. All are volunteers. The Marching Ravens hold auditions every Wednesday night; visit www.ravensband.org, or call (410) 557-8335.
On game day, the Marching Ravens start at Oriole Park and parade along “Ravens Way” to the M&T Bank Stadium.
Keep on Playin'
Band president John Ziemann, who joined the Colts’ Band as a member of the percussion section in 1962, kept the 61-year-old band playing even when the city had no football team. He also serves as deputy director for the Sports Legends Museum at Camden Yards and the Babe Ruth Birthplace and Museum.
All Dressed Up
Band members wear their team colors with pride.
A Family Affair
Saxophone player Megan Furth and her two brothers, one on clarinet and the other on trombone, turn the Marching Ravens into a family affair.
Spell It Out
During the pregame show, the band forms the word “Ravens.” Jeff Davis leads the sousaphones in forming the letter “V.”
Like Mother, Like Daughter
Jill Rothhaupt, a member of the flag line for 10 years, volunteers with her daughter, Amber, who marches in the banner line.
Bringing Fans to Their Feet
Chief trumpet soloist Leroy Bamberger, who held the same position in the Indiana University of Pennsylvania Marching Band, brings Ravens fans to their feet when he hits E flat above double C during the halftime show.
Strike Up the Band
A band member for 11 years, trombone player Ruth Braden travels 90 miles one way for Wednesday night rehearsals and home games.
In The Zone
During all home games the Marching Ravens sit in the end zone of M&T Bank Stadium, nicknamed the “Band Zone” by Ravens players.
To A Different Beat
Drummers stay sharp with weekly practices.
A NOTE TO OUR READERS
"Marching Ravens Take the Field" is from the September 2008 issue of Maryland Living: People & Places, a special section of Southern Living for our subscribers in Maryland.