Laker Marching Band drumline auditions to kick off this month

GVL - Courtesy of Shea Sarns

Shealyn McGee

GVL – Courtesy of Shea Sarns

Sidney Selvig

The Grand Valley State University Laker Marching Band (LMB) is one of the largest and most visible NCAA Division II marching bands in the country and has provided music and entertainment for football fans since 1977. As one of the most diversified and visible organizations on campus, the 220-member LMB is composed of students who represent more than 50 different degree plans. The ensemble offers, to both music and non-music majors, an opportunity to continue music at the collegiate level.

This year’s auditions for the LMB drumline will begin Saturday, May 20, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and continue Sunday, May 21, from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. in Room 1515 of the Performing Arts Center on the Allendale Campus. All auditionees will have to attend both days. 

The auditions will begin with all students meeting in the band room at the start of each day and checking in. Students can then socialize with each other before splitting up into the snare room, tenor room, cymbal room or bass room.

“My favorite part of auditions is the time before the auditions start because we all get to talk to each other,” said drumline section leader Andrew Grossenbacher.

During students’ auditions in these rooms, LMB staff and drumline leadership walk around critiquing and assisting as needed. These auditions consist of a group of students playing several reps and then switching to the next group until everyone in the room has auditioned. Students can also be moved around between rooms so that if a student is a good player, but not completely suited for the instrument they choose, they may be moved to a different room. This allows everybody to have a fair chance of getting in.

“For the auditions, students will need to bring the music that is posted on the marching band’s website, their chops and a great attitude,” Grossenbacher said.

All drums, stands, sticks for quints and basses will be provided, but if a student is trying out for snare, they will need to bring their own sticks with them. Students are not required to memorize the music for auditions.

All accepted members must register for Music 107, a one-credit class, and are required to attend the summer drumline camp Saturday, July 15, and Sunday, July 16.

John Martin, professor of athletic bands at GVSU and founder of the GVSU LMB color guard and drumline summer camp, loves to watch the section’s accomplishments. 

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

Grossenbacher said he loved the passion for drumline that the students share.

“It’s a great feeling to be surrounded by people who are just as passionate about the activity as I am,” Grossenbacher said. “Students aren’t there because they have to be—they are there because they want to be, and that’s a great feeling.”

Although the main goal of the event is to set the upcoming 2017 drumline, LMB facilitates the connection between students and their instructors, encouraging them to get acquainted with each other and to foster relationships that can be cultivated in future performances.

For more information about the drumline auditions, visit