Lakers leading lakers in the band


GVL \ Alexis Velazquez

Mary Racette, Arts Editor

Rounding off another year of Homecoming traditions at Grand Valley State University, the drum majors of the Laker Marching Band (LMB) led the performance of the band’s most intricate halftime show at Saturday night’s football game.

Each year for Homecoming, LMB alumni join forces with the current LMB students to spread school spirit throughout the stands. The current LMB played the first two songs and then the LMB alumni joined in playing the last two songs.

With the standards of the LMB raising annually, Color Guard Section Leader and LMB President Lindsey Willett said “(The alumni) always come in with very open minds and they are ready to learn.”

The current LMB is led on the field and in rehearsal by drum majors Hana Smith, Sean Miller and Alyssa Hawker.

With three drum majors this year, it allows each of them to share and distribute their leadership responsibilities. While one drum major will run the field, the other two will be around checking to make sure everyone is in position.

“The three of us all bring a different aspect to the marching band and we all click very well,” Miller said.

Drum majors hold multiple responsibilities in the band including conducting, leading, developing and carrying out the instructions of the director.

Preparation is a major part for the leadership of the LMB. For each show, in order for them to conduct the band, drum majors must understand and know all of the drill instructions. Smith said she dedicates an hour each night to prepare for the current and future shows. With seven shows during the season, drum majors have to memorize 28 scores.

In addition to preparation, Smith said much of her job consists of maintaining the morale of the band.

“I like to think about how my conducting is going to impact how we are playing and how my attitude during rehearsal impacts everyone,” Smith said.

LMB performed circle drill, a drill from the the University of Tennessee Marching Band, at the Homecoming game. The harder drill and music makes for the most difficult, stressful show of the season. However, Miller said it was a “good stressful.”

GVL \ Katherine Vasile

Between the difficulty of circle drill and the prospect of a small, but enthusiastic crowd during the rainy football game, Willett described the rush of excitement spread throughout the band during Homecoming week. Willett said performing circle drill during Homecoming gives students the “true collegiate marching experience.”

When things get stressful, Miller said everyone steps back and takes a breath as they resituate themselves in the situation that they are in.

Leading along seniors Hawker and Smith, Miller is only a sophomore. He said this dynamic helps him push himself to be a better leader.

When asked about the most difficult part of being drum major, Miller was unable to come up with anything. He said he sees the experience as rewarding, especially when he sees the band play.

“There is no greater feeling than standing on a podium and getting to see the band put in all this hard work and be successful on the field,” Smith said.