Pair dedicates half their lives to pumping up Ravens fans
BALTIMORE (AP) — Getting the crowd fired up to watch the Baltimore Ravens is a big part of the job for Baltimore’s Marching Ravens. It’s a passion that requires long hours to get things just right on game day. For two of the band members, it’s something they’ve been doing for almost half their lives.
From half-time performances to pregame concerts, they play in every type of weather. The men and women come from every walk of life.
“We have a lot of music teachers, teachers teaching other subjects, engineers, people that work retail, security,” said Kristin Monroe, a full-time teacher and the band’s assistant music director.
Monroe’s been with the Marching Ravens since she was 15 and saxophonist Richard Hewitt has been with them since he was 13. One of his first big performances as an eighth-grader was with the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.
“You could see the blimps being blown up, and it was just one of the coolest things,” Hewitt said.
“We have so many cool experiences like going to London and going to Canton (Ohio) for the Ray Lewis induction,” Monroe said.
Baltimore has one of only two full marching bands in the NFL. Previously all volunteer, in recent years it’s become a paid position. But members, even those who live out of state, have to commit to practicing once a week in Owings Mills and be at every home game.
“It’s definitely worth it,” Hewitt said.
“This is the coolest thing I do,” Monroe said.
Tryouts are in April and you must be 18 years old to join. If think you have what it takes to be a Marching Raven, they’ll put you through the paces.
“You’ll come out, play some prepared music. You’ll sight read. You’ll march for us. You’ll be contacted the next week finding out whether you got in,” Monroe said.
After being a member for almost half his life, Richard said he still gets a rush.
“It’s the pregame, being able to go on the field and perform and in some cases perform your heart out, that way you get the fans excited. Pregame, halftime or even the march in,” Hewitt said.
“The experience of having a family in a band, performing on game day and concerts and for the community, it’s just — I wouldn’t trade it for anything,” Monroe said.
Information from: WBAL-TV, http://www.wbaltv.com