1706458717 The Marching Band That Wouldn39t Be Silenced The Incredible Story

The Marching Band That Wouldn't Be Silenced: The Incredible Story of the Ravens Marching Band That Helped Bring the NFL Back to Baltimore

OWINGS MILLS, Maryland | The pain that comes from losing a professional sports team is a familiar feeling in Quebec, given the departures of the Expos and Nordiques. There was a time in Baltimore when the beloved football team was torn away from its fans. It is a fanfare that cannot be limited to silence and fights the gloom to successfully launch the flight of the Ravens after years of emptiness.

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That marching band was the Colts Marching Band, which started with the team in 1947 and has never stopped playing since. The orchestra is obviously part of the decorum in the American Conference final game against the Chiefs.

At the time, it was the Baltimore Colts who thrilled the city with two NFL championships in 1958 and 1959 and the Super Bowl in 1970. It was unthinkable that such a productive team would leave a market that adored him. And yet…

Today, it's hard to imagine a more gruesome scenario than what Baltimore experienced on March 29, 1984. In the middle of the night, moving trucks showed up to sneak away with all of the team's equipment. The Baltimore Colts became the Indianapolis Colts.

“It's ridiculous that your team would be stolen in the middle of the night. To me, this move left a huge dent in the NFL's balance sheet. When I think about it, I'm still upset. The team was stolen from us and the brass band became a means of resistance. It was our way of saying, 'How dare you do this to us?'” John Ziemann, president of the band, renamed Baltimore's Marching Ravens, told the Journal during a fascinating interview.

The ritual of the Ravens marching band musicians creates a collegial atmosphere that is not otherwise found in NFL stadiums.

John Ziemann, president of the Marching Ravens in Baltimore, has pursued his passion for 62 years. PHOTO PROVIDED BY BALTIMORE RAVENS

The pain is still sharp

As he looks back on the sad events, Mr. Ziemann's voice trembles. His gaze looks into our eyes and his teeth clench like fists.

After all, this fanfare is about 62 years of his life serving the fans who felt the pain just as he did.

“You know what it’s like to lose a team. Plus, I always thought the Expos should have stayed in Montreal. “They had no business being here near Washington,” he says casually.

“If you own a team that the community loves and you send that team somewhere else, there is nothing to justify. “You’re 100% wrong,” he says.

For an expansion team

The ritual of the Ravens marching band musicians creates a collegial atmosphere that is not otherwise found in NFL stadiums.

The marching band members put on a show during Ravens games in front of 71,000 fans. PHOTO PROVIDED BY BALTIMORE RAVENS

Luckily for Baltimore, the NFL returned after 12 years of hard work. However, it took a lot of persuasion to resist the urge to give up, and this is where the brass band played their part by never putting down their instruments.

“The anger was great and we could have organized protests. There could have been unrest. We could have burned things. We chose a different path, namely that of music. “We had to continue to entertain people,” reveals Mr. Ziemann.

In addition to playing at various events around the city, the marching band also performed at halftime at various NFL stadiums.

The indestructible group even took part in concerts in support of the construction of a new stadium in Baltimore in order to attract an expansion team.

In the early 1990s, the city suffered another blow when Carolina and Jacksonville were selected for league expansion.

“We deserved a team, but the league didn’t want to know. At this point I told my wife I had had enough. She told me that we didn't put our savings into maintaining this fanfare to stop everything,” he says, still emotional.

goal achieved

The ritual of the Ravens marching band musicians creates a collegial atmosphere that is not otherwise found in NFL stadiums.

The Ravens marching band marches through downtown toward M&T Stadium before every game. PHOTO PROVIDED BY BALTIMORE RAVENS

It wasn't until 1996 that Baltimore inherited the Ravens when the Cleveland Browns moved. Obviously, the return of football to the city is primarily due to political negotiations.

Somewhere, however, this “brass band,” which continued its campaign by playing without a team for twelve years, kept the flame burning.

“When then-owner Art Modell wanted to convince the league to return to Baltimore, the commissioner asked him if the city would support the team. He said, 'Sure, look at your band still playing all these years,'” John Ziemann recalls, amused by the anecdote.

“We could never have afforded a team, but the marching band was a catalyst for fan support,” he says.

It's no wonder that the energetic man of music wants to continue leading the fanfare even when he's no longer hitting the drums.

“We deserve this team so much! The city of Baltimore was patient. We did things our way and I'm proud of it. For me and my family, this brass band is the work of my life.”

Oh Canada! When the Gray Cup arrives in Baltimore…

The ritual of the Ravens marching band musicians creates a collegial atmosphere that is not otherwise found in NFL stadiums.

Head coach Don Matthews won the Gray Cup with the Baltimore Stallions before finding success with the Alouettes in Montreal a few years later. Portal

OWINGS MILLS, Maryland | Only the most learned will remember, but Baltimore is the only market in the United States that can boast of celebrating the capture of a Gray Cup while waiting for the NFL to return to the city.

“We played against O Canada. “I always thought it was the most beautiful national anthem in the world… after ours, of course,” jokes John Ziemann, who doesn’t want to forget these strange times.

To make a breakthrough in the United States, the Canadian League established a handful of teams on American soil in 1993. A year later, one of them closed the door and another moved out.

The Baltimore Stallions were born, with Jim Popp as general manager and Don Matthews as head coach.

A big success

It may not have been the NFL's long-awaited return, but Baltimore fans were hungry and the club became the only club south of the border that didn't lose money.

“The stadium was pretty full. We had our Canadian rule books. We remained the Baltimore Colts brass band, but now represented two major soccer nations.

“We really learned to appreciate Canadian football. We noticed that the game went faster. “It is a very nice memory for us,” assures the President of the Fanfare.

The success was so great that the Stallions became the first and last American team to win the Gray Cup in 1995.

“We didn’t know what the future held for us, so we decided to welcome this Canadian experience with open arms. We embraced Canada and found great friends to drink Molson with,” jokes John Ziemann.

The experiment was short-lived and when the Ravens arrived in 1996, the Stallions moved to Canada to become the current incarnation of the Alouettes in Montreal.