Imagine being an 8-year-old marching at a professional football stadium. This remarkable experience came true for the Maple Elementary Marching Lions, which performed in front of thousands of people during a Baltimore Ravens game on Dec. 23, 2017.
The Marching Lions from Cambridge, Maryland, combined with Baltimore’s Marching Ravens to play “Jingle Bells” during the pregame show. The group also performed between the third and fourth quarters.
Band director Ray Washington Jr. says the experience was “jaw-dropping” for his approximately 50 band members who range from 8 to 11 years old.
“Most kids around here just watch NFL stuff on TV, so they don’t really know how big the game and stadium are in person,” says Washington, who is a Maple Elementary School alumnus. “When we got to the stadium, and they saw how big the stadium and crowd actually was, it really hit them how big this thing was. They were in shock; you could tell.”
The Baltimore Ravens invited the band on the all-expenses-paid trip after “Good Morning America” and The Baltimore Sun featured the small-town band last fall.
Washington says he was proud the students were not scared by the large crowd and kept their focus during the performance.
The Marching Lions is in its second year, and Washington says he is still amazed by how much the band has prospered this year.
“It’s amazing because this time last year, I was still trying to get the drums because we didn’t have a drumline,” he says. “It’s been crazy, but I want to keep going and for things to be twice as big next year.”