Last year it was legendary linebacker Ray Lewis who announced in December that he would be retiring after 17 years with the Baltimore Ravens. This year the Ravens will lose another life-long member of the organization.
Mishael Miller has sung the National Anthem for just about every Ravens’ home game since the team was founded in 1996. His classical singing style has become a signature at all home contests, and fans expect to hear his voice just as much as they once expected to see Ray Lewis’ famous squirrel dance during the intros of each home game.
But Miller told the AFRO that he will be singing before Baltimore’s home crowd for the last time during the Ravens’ last home game of the season on Dec. 22.
Miller said the only reason he is leaving after 18 years of singing for the Ravens is to fulfill his dream career of serving as the new pastor of the St. Luke AME Zion Church in Birmingham, Ala. He will start in January 2014.
“A lot of people may only know me for singing but my life is the ministry,” said Miller, who has served years as the assistant pastor for Pennsylvania Ave. AME Zion Church in Baltimore. “So this is a great opportunity for me to accomplish a life goal and build my tenure as a pastor.”
A native of Philadelphia, Pa., Miller first moved to Baltimore in 1989 to attend Morgan State University and pursue his goal of singing for the famous Morgan State University choir under the direction of Dr. Nathan Carter, the late and great director of the choir.
Miller still remembers how it was his ties with the university that landed him the opportunity to become the long-term “Star Spangle Banner” singer for the Ravens.
He said Morgan State’s marching band was performing at the game, and Morgan’s band director, Melvin Miles, had recommended him to the Ravens’ event staff as a potential singer for the National Anthem.
“So I met [late former Ravens owner] Art Modell and his staff and he told me that they had more than 200 audition tapes from singers who wanted to sing the National Anthem and they honestly just didn’t have the time to listen to them so I had the job for the day,” Miller said. After the game, Modell and his staff told Miller he had done such a great job that they wanted him to have the job permanently.
“They told me they had a permanent singer when the franchise was still the Browns back in Cleveland and that worked out best for them, so they wanted to keep a permanent singer in Baltimore too and I was the right man for the job,” Miller said.
“I really just want to thank all of the city of Baltimore and the Ravens fans for supporting me all these years,” Miller told the AFRO. “It’s been exciting to be a part of a winning franchise like this. I love Baltimore and look forward to moving to Birmingham.
“They have already Googled … their new pastor, so they know they’re getting a Baltimore Raven in town. I’m just honored, man, to have this opportunity to serve the community for so long.”
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