“The Band That Wouldn’t Die”

Photo by Shawn Hubbard

The inspirational story of Baltimore’s Marching Ravens will be featured in a documentary, “The Band That Wouldn’t Die,” which will be aired on ESPN on Oct. 13, 2009.

Acclaimed director and producer Barry Levinson (“Rain Man,” “Bugsy,” “The Natural”) directed the documentary as part of ESPN’s “30 for 30” film series, celebrating its 30th anniversary and featuring sports-themed documentaries. The Marching Ravens, originally the Baltimore Colts’ Marching Band, were blindsided when the then-Baltimore Colts franchise quietly packed up and headed to Indianapolis.

“Here is a band without a football team,” says band president John Ziemann, who has been with the organization for more than 45 years. “No sponsorships, no money, no home, and we’re going to stay together and be a major promotional tool to bring the NFL back to Baltimore.”

Working with a famed director such as Levinson was a great privilege for Ziemann and the Marching Ravens. “It’s a documentary, but it has the Barry Levinson touch,” Ziemann says. “If you’ve seen any of his movies, you know he has a gift of pulling at your heartstrings. And we’re hoping that inspires all the people who ever marched in a band or drum corps; it’s their story too.”

“We’re hoping that this will show people around the nation and the world how important music is, that we keep it in our schools,” Ziemann adds. “Here’s a band that did not go out with a protest group but went out with their musical talent and ability, and they made a difference.”

About author

Elizabeth Geli

Elizabeth Geli is the assistant editor of Halftime Magazine and a journalist/communications professional in Southern California. Her 11 years at the University of Southern California (USC) Trojan Marching Band included time as a flute player, graduate teaching assistant, and student advocate. She holds a bachelor's degree in Print Journalism and master's degree in Specialized Journalism (The Arts) from USC.