After the Colts left Baltimore on a snowy night in 1984, the city was without an NFL team for more than a decade. That fact, however, failed to deter members of the Baltimore Colts Marching Band. The band played on!
The Ravens arrived, and after they moved into their new stadium in 1998, the band became the Marching Ravens. By then, the band had celebrated more than fifty years as a Baltimore institution.
“They were truly the group that wouldn’t let the football fire die in Baltimore” is how Tom Matte put it in Tales from the Baltimore Ravens Sideline. Writer, director, and Baltimore native Barry Levinson wrote, “No one outside Baltimore cared whether or not the city got a new football team…no one. The city stood alone against the football world, and its defiance was defined by the Baltimore Colts Marching Band.”
Jennifer Bours Clontz ’95 was drum major of the Marching Ravens before assuming her current role of assistant to the director. [credit: J. Patrick Kelly]
Although band membership dropped below two hundred during some of the years without a team, it is now back up to twice that. And Band President John Ziemann is looking for a few good IUP alumni—to go with the few that are already leading his organization.
“Many of our best band members throughout the years were IUP alumni, and we are always recruiting,” Ziemann said. “We would like to extend an offer to all IUP Music Department graduates and ‘Legend’ alumni that may be in our area to become part of the largest NFL band in the world.”
Todd Clontz ’92 is the band’s director, while Dan Fake ’03 is drill instructor, and former drum major Jennifer Bours Clontz ’95 serves as director’s assistant. Full details on membership are available on the web at www.ravensband.org or from Ziemann at 410-557-8335.