The Mighty Sound of Maryland marching band; Photo: Ken Rubin/Facebook


The University of Maryland is no longer allowing its marching band to play the state song, “Maryland, My Maryland,” because it includes pro-Confederate lyrics, reports The Washington Post.

The university’s director of athletic bands, Eli Osterloh, said the marching band, The Mighty Sound of Maryland, will hold off on playing the song before games.

He connected this decision directly to the recent events in Charlottsville, Va., when neo-Nazis and white supremacists marched through the streets chanting “Jews will not replace us” and other hateful and bigoted things.

“As a result of the turmoil we all witnessed in Charlottesville, myself, the Athletic Department, and President’s Office began a dialogue concerning our state song,” Osterloh said. “After much discussion, we agreed that based on the history and lyrics of the song, it should be removed from the repertoire.”

During the Civil War, Maryland was a bordering state, meaning it was neither fully with the Union or fully with the Confederacy. Men from the state enlisted for both sides.

The lyrics, spun from a nine-verse war poem and traditionally woven around the melody to “O Tannenbaum,” are all about fighting for and praising the state, with no clear mention of either side.

That is, until the last verse:

I hear the distant thunder-hum,

Maryland!

The Old Line’s bugle, fife, and drum,
Maryland!
She is not dead, nor deaf, nor dumb-
Huzza! she spurns the Northern scum!
She breathes! she burns! she’ll come! she’ll come!
Maryland! My Maryland!

Using the term “Northern scum,” I think, plants you firmly on the side of the Confederacy, which, less we not forget, cited slavery as a core reason for secession. And though it’s never been sung by the band/nor audience, the mere association is enough.

A UMD spokeswoman said the university will be assessing the song “as part of the university’s efforts to reaffirm our values as a campus community” and to see if the song “is consistent with the values of our institution at this time.”

“I think it’s incredible that we’ve been playing it for so long,” sophomore marching band member Ben Parrish told the Diamondback. “I can’t come up with a single reason for why the band should continue to play a song whose history is aligned with secession.”

Listen to the Might Sound of Maryland weave the melody of the tune around the University of Maryland’s “Fight Song,” followed by a folk version of the song with the lyrics sung in full.