A season of change for the Laker Marching Band
The GV Marching Band prepares to entertain in the upcoming home football games
It’s a year full of changes for the Laker Marching Band. With more than 200 members, new uniforms and seven home games with halftime shows this year, the band is ready to bring all they’ve got.
As a whole, the Laker Marching Band’s three main goals are to support Grand Valley State University’s National Championship football team, entertain the crowd and give students studying music education an opportunity to march different styles. Drum Major Tim Priest said in order to accomplish these goals, the band follows the mantra “Own It.”
“We stress ‘owning yourself, owning your section and owning your Band,’” Priest said. “Putting the responsibility in the hands of everyone in the band to take ownership of everything they do has created amazing results.”
For Dr. John Martin, director of athletic bands at GVSU, the most important part of marching band is watching the students grow and come together from all different walks of life.
“I love watching 200-plus members from varying backgrounds (or) marching programs come together and within the span of a few days mold into a cohesive unit (or) team,” Martin said. “I especially enjoy seeing the students ‘own’ their GVSU Marching Band. They take great pride as a member and it shows through their rehearsal (or) preparation for the performances.”
The energy and excitement involved in performing on game day bonds the group and makes them feel like one big family, Drum Major Jenelle Buehner said. In particular, the thing she most looks forward to every season is the first game.
“The best part…is seeing the excitement and ‘deer-in-headlights’ look in all of our new members when we reach Lubbers Stadium and march our first pregame show,” Buehner said. “It is an experience that one can only understand once you have lived it. The lights, the fans, the electricity
of Lubbers Stadium…goodness, it is all so exciting.”
In honor of the first football game this year taking place Sept. 7, the band will be performing “Opening Night.” The set will include Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting by Elton John, Music of the Night by Andrew Lloyd Webber, Night Train by Jimmy Forrest, Summer Nights by Rascal Flatts and Some Nights by Fun.
“My favorite piece is Night Train. I am conducting this piece in the student endzone as the band charges toward it,” Priest said. “This piece has a handful of visual effects including an old fashioned swing step. This jazz piece has a lot of power and is sure to be a hit with the crowd.”
Apart from the half time show, the band also takes pride in performing its pregame show and getting the crowd pumped up for the game. This year, the band will be in the student section and encourage anyone in the stands to participate in singing the Alma Mater.
“There are plenty of opportunities for Laker Nation to join in our pregame show,” Buehner said. “We would absolutely love if they were to join in and cheer along.”
With the first game quickly approaching, the group’s energy and excitement continues to grow.
“The sound from the band this year is absolutely incredible,” Priest said. “The power and excitement behind the playing this year is something we are proud to bring to the performances this year.”
Other shows this season:
“Band Day at GVSU” – Sept. 14
“Celebration of OUR U.S. Military” – Sept. 21
“Pink Show” for Breast Cancer Awareness – Oct. 5
“There’s No Place Like the Valley” – Oct. 19
“A Disney Circle Drill Show” – Nov. 5
“The Best of the 2013 LMB Season” – Nov. 16