Meet a Student: Liam Beck
Freshman Liam Beck is hardly the only person around town who suits up in purple for the next big game, but he’s one of only 170 people who don the Baltimore Marching Ravens uniform whenever the Ravens play on their home turf at M&T Bank Stadium. The native Marylander and second-generation UB student lends his snare-drum skills to a storied band that dates back to 1947.
During the May auditions for the 2014 squad, equipment manager Donna Hill, B.A. ’81, spotted Beck wearing a UB T-shirt and brought him to the attention of the University of Baltimore Magazine. Here, Beck shares what it’s like to help get—and keep—roughly 71,000 fans pumped up for every play.
Q: What sparked your interest in music?
A: I originally played the violin in elementary school. When I was going into middle school, I signed up for band just to see what it was like. I really dove into it and loved music from there on out. I was in the percussion section in my middle school band and then went on to do it in high school.
Q: Were you nervous for the audition last spring?
A: I was mostly nervous about trying out a new method of holding the drumsticks. When you’re holding snare drumsticks, there are several different kinds of grips, and I was learning a new one for the audition called the “traditional” grip. Most marching bands use it, but my high school didn’t.
Q: Describe the experience of being a Marching Raven.
A: We have practice for three hours every Wednesday, and on game days we have practice before the game. It’s not a demanding schedule at all. We don’t play for away games. ... [We] travel to home games by coach bus—separate from the players—[and] leave from the [team’s] practice center in Owings Mills [Maryland] to go to the stadium. ... Even before we go out onto the field, we do a parade into the stadium.
Q: How does it feel to perform in front of that many people?
A: My favorite part of the game-day experience is the third-quarter break. The drum line goes down into the end zone and plays a solo, and they [put] us up on the Jumbotron. During our parade into the stadium we follow Ravens Walk, which is a path from [Oriole Park at] Camden Yards to M&T Bank Stadium. ... [and] we stop and play “Seven Nation Army” for people on their way into the stadium.
Kathryn Montgomery is a graduate student in the Publications Design program and a graduate assistant in the Office of University Relations.