Colts' Band waits for chance to take stage for Ravens Modell says role of group undecided

April 06, 1996|By Jon Morgan | Jon Morgan,SUN STAFF

They kept the NFL fires burning in Baltimore through the long winters, and became a harmonious symbol of the city's football passion. But the Baltimore Colts' Band is still waiting to hear what, if any, role it will have when the Ravens begin play this year.

So far, team officials have said only that they will talk with the band, and hope some association can be arranged.

"I don't know what we are going to do about a band," said Ravens owner Art Modell. "We will have some kind of band. We will be talking to them. I want to give them the first chance at anything."

He said the team has been busy with other matters and has made no decisions about the band or whether to have cheerleaders. Modell's team had neither cheerleaders nor a band in Cleveland.

"We haven't gotten that far in our thinking," Modell said. "The Colts' Band will be given every opportunity."

Modell said they are considering hiring musicians and having a team-run band, similar to the Washington Redskins. Whatever band they use won't be called the Colts' Band, and a new song will have to be written for the Ravens.

"I don't want to be the Colts II or III or IV. We want to start our own era," Modell said.

The Colts' Band was team-run until the team moved to Indianapolis in 1984. The band decided to stay together as a nonprofit, volunteer group and demonstrate the city's interest in rejoining the league.

It now has more than 200 members -- more than it had when the Colts played here -- and performs 25 times a year.

Among the more hospitable teams over the years had been the Cleveland Browns, who invited the band to play at halftime.

"We're ready and willing to talk whenever they are ready," said band president John Ziemann.

Band members have been concerned that team officials are so noncommittal in public about the role of the band.

Ziemann spoke this week with a team official who assured him they will be getting together soon, after the draft and other matters are settled.

Ziemann told the team that the group is willing to change its name to the Ravens Band or do whatever else it takes to be a part of Baltimore's next chapter in the NFL.

The Colts' Band was formed for the All-America Football Conference Colts in 1947, and stuck with the team after the AAFC merger into the NFL and stayed in place after the first Colts franchise failed in 1951.

Another franchise moved to Baltimore in 1953 and adopted both the Colts name and band.

The group kept its name but marched at games of the Canadian Football League Stallions when they played in Baltimore.

This spring, members of the band appeared in Annapolis to testify in favor of approving the stadium deal that brought Modell's team here from Cleveland, where it was known as the Browns.

Pub Date: 4/06/96

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