Contrary to what the movies would tell you, the marching band at Ravenna High School is highly respected. This year’s homecoming king and queen were both members. “It definitely helps that we have a small school, because we’ve all known each other our whole lives,” said Trinity Dinch, 17, who plays trombone. “Everybody knows everybody. With somebody you grew up with, you don’t really choose it.
But there are many other things to worry about. Ravenna, Ohio, is not a place anyone wants to make movies about, said Emanuel Miller, 17, a senior tuba and sousaphone player. It’s where you leave — its next-door neighbor, Kent, is home to Kent State University, which has more undergraduates (more than 20,000) than Ravenna (just over 11,000).
When Ashley Markle returned to her alma mater to photograph the band’s students, the most striking difference in her hometown was how anxious everyone seemed: exams and extracurriculars, dates, college. Preparation, figuring out what’s next. (Ashley, who graduated in 2013, was also in Ravenna’s band; she played the flute.)
One thing that hasn’t changed: the escape that a band room can offer.
When she was a student at Ravenna, “to be honest, band didn’t even feel like a part of school,” she said. Ashley. “It felt like I was a part of something special and important. I felt like I could make a difference in a big team of people all striving for something we care about.