|The 1947 Baltimore Colts' Marching Band -
Direct Ancestors of the Marching Ravens
Every true Baltimore pro-football fan knows the traditions of our city's football heritage dating back to the post World War II days, including the forming of the Baltimore Colts' Band in 1947. What some may not know is that that organization stayed together when the city lost it's pro-football team not once, but twice (1951-1952 and 1984-1995) acting as musical ambassadors for the city keeping the torch alive until the NFL returned.
When the Modell family moved their team to Baltimore, they adopted the Colts' Band and in 1998, after 50 years of continuous service, the band was transformed into Baltimore's Marching Ravens, the largest musical entity in the NFL.
1947: The Baltimore Colts' Marching Band is founded on September 7th. The Miami Seahawks of the All-America Conference relocate to Baltimore to become the original Baltimore Colts. The team colors are silver and green.
1950: The All-America Conference Colts join the National Football League. Following the 1950 NFL season, the Colts football team folds.
1951-1952: The Baltimore Colts' Marching Band continues to operate without a football team promoting Baltimore back into the NFL.
1953: The NFL's Dallas Texans relocate to Baltimore and assume the name Baltimore Colts. The blue and white colors of the new colts are the former colors of the Texans. The band is adopted by the new team.
1953-1983: The Baltimore Colts' Marching Band represents the Baltimore Colts of the National Football League.
1984: The Colts franchise is relocated to Indianapolis.
1984-1995: The Baltimore Colts' Band, Inc. continues to operate without a football team. The band performs at 30 NFL football games, 23 CFL games and had the honor of performing at the 1991 Pro-Football Hall of Fame enshrinement, parade, pre-game and halftime and receives the first standing ovation for a halftime band in Pro-Football Hall of Fame history.
The Colts' Band joins forces with Maryland Governor William Donald Schaefer in fighting for two new stadiums for the Baltimore Orioles and an NFL franchise. The band made an appearance in March of 1987 on the steps of the Maryland State House to do a concert in promoting their belief and support in the stadium project. Governor Schaefer makes the statement, "The Colts' Band made the difference and turned the tide in winning the vote for the new stadium complex". The band becomes a major promotion tool for the stadium cause.
1996: Art Modell moves his NFL franchise from Cleveland to Baltimore. The team is renamed the Ravens. The new colors are purple and black.
1997: On September 7, the Baltimore Colts' Band celebrates its 50th anniversary at halftime of the Ravens-Bengals game.
1998: The Baltimore Colts' Band performs for the final time on July 11 in a parade marking the opening of the ESPN Zone at the Baltimore Inner Harbor.
Baltimore's Marching Ravens debuts on August 8th at the opening of the new football stadium at Camden Yards for the Ravens-Bears pre-game season.
2000-2001: An incredible season concludes for Baltimore's Marching Ravens. The season includes performances with the world reknown composer Marvin Hamlisch and the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, the Inauguration Parade for President George W. Bush and the victory parade for the Super Bowl Champion Baltimore Ravens.
2002: The Marching Ravens performed at the Navy / Notre Dame game at Ravens Stadium.
2005: Baltimore's Sports Legends at Camden Yards Museum opened housing the collections of the Baltimore Colts, Orioles, John Unitas, Baltimore Ravens and many other sports unique to the State of Maryland. One of the main features is a display dedicated to the Baltimore Colts Marching Band/Baltimore's Marching Ravens showcasing all seven original uniforms worn by the band from 1947 to the present with a history timeline.
2007: The Marching Ravens had the honor of performing in the world’s most famous parade, The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, performing for millions of spectators in New York City and a worldwide broadcast audience.
2009: The Marching Ravens were presented with the Special Olympics of Maryland's "Be A Fan" Award at the 2009 Summer Games at Towson University for demonstrating its committment to the athletics of Special Olympics through 25 years of dedicated service.
Famed Oscar winning movie director Barry Levinson produced and directed a one-hour documentary for the ESPN series “30 For 30” on the Baltimore Colts’ Marching Band. It focused on how the band continued to march throughout the NFL despite the loss of its football team and played a major part in bringing the NFL back to Baltimore. It also showed their transition into the Marching Ravens. Sports Illustrated voted “The Band That Wouldn’t Die” the best of the ESPN “30 For 30” series.
You can purchase "The Band That Wouldn't Die" DVD at Sports Legends Gift Shop or online.