GVSU color guard and drumline camp to kick off in July

By Sidney Selvig | 4/16/17 10:51pm

GVL/Kevin Sielaff - The GVSU marching band marches around the clock tower before kick-off. Grand Valley defeats Tiffin with a final score of 45-7 on Thursday, September 1, 2016 at Lubbers Stadium.
by Kevin Sielaff and Kevin Sielaff / The Lanthorn

The discipline of being a part of a team like a marching band or color guard is an experience that students will take with them through life. The Laker Marching Band (LMB) color guard and drumline summer camp at Grand Valley State University gives students an opportunity to fine-tune skills that reach far beyond musical notes, instruments and routines.

This year, camp will begin Sunday July 16, and continue Monday, July 17, on the field next to the Performing Arts Center on the Allendale Campus.

GVSU LMB color guard and drumline summer camp was designed for students who made the line after auditioning for color guard Saturday, May 6, and drumline Saturday, May 20, and Sunday, May 21.

John Martin, professor of athletic bands at GVSU is the founder of this summer camp, and has always been interested in music. His current roles at GVSU include: teaching music education courses, conducting the Concert Band, University Band, Laker Marching Band and coordinating the athletic band program. Martin started this camp a few years ago because he thought that the color guard and drumline needed more time to prepare before band camp in August.

Although Martin’s involvement is limited now because the camp is planned for the instructors and students, he visits camp on Sunday to watch the sections accomplishments.

“I’m here as much as I can be. I love watching their progress and seeing how far they have grown from auditions,” Martin said. “For any teacher, it’s always about growth.”

GVSU alumni, Becky Sikkema, Kyle Morse and Dion Otzman have been instructing this camp since the beginning.

Sikkema has constructed an agenda that allows color guard students to work on their matching fundamentals and begin preparing for the annual pregame show. Morse and Otzman plan to have the drumline continue working on past routines, as well as a routine for the first show of the season.

Both GVSU color guard and drumline perform a different routine for every football game, so their expectations for the shows will be held with the same standards or better as any other marching band. The most significant part of the camp is the collaboration between the two sections.

“The camp is for them to bond,” Martin said. “With any section, there is bound to be disagreements, just like in any family, but watching them gel as a group is so important.”

The summer camp is intended to facilitate the connection between students and their instructors, encouraging them to get acquainted with each other, and foster relationships that can be cultivated in future performances.

Every part of a team is important, and every part contributes. There is amazing satisfaction in coming together and working hard alongside a team to perform a show. The prominent teamwork aspect in color guard and marching band puts an emphasis on uniting individuals to form a group that improves together.

“With such a great amount of turnover, it is almost reinventing itself,” Martin said. “It’s a great group this year so I’m excited to see where it goes.” 

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