Auditions open for chance to become the "Voice of the Laker Marching Band"

Photo of Laker Marching Band during home football game in Lubbers Stadium
Image Credit: Shea Sarns
Photo of Laker Marching Band during home football game in Lubbers Stadium
Image Credit: Shea Sarns

“Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome the Pride of the Midwest — the Laker Marching Band!”

This statement enthusiastically proclaimed by the “Voice of the Laker Marching Band” can be commonly heard bellowing throughout Lubbers Stadium during home football games at Grand Valley to energize the crowd for performances by the 200-member ensemble.

For more than two decades, the man behind the voice has been Tom Yackish, a former professor of engineering who retired from Grand Valley in 2003.

Yackish has officially retired from his role as the “Voice of the Laker Marching Band,” and auditions are currently open in the search for the next announcer.

“There are not enough words to express my gratitude and adequately describe the enormous impact Tom has made on the Laker Marching Band in his role as the ‘Voice,’ as well as a benefactor and friend to all of us,” said John Martin, director of Athletic Bands. “For the past 23 years, Tom has provided support, unconditionally, to the program and is and will remain a vital part of the Laker Marching Band family. He was awarded the first ‘Lifetime Service to the LMB Award’ in 2017 by the Laker Alumni Marching Band that demonstrates his impact on, not only current members, but our alumni as well.”

Martin said that the “Voice of the Laker Marching Band” is a crucial position that communicates to the audience the excitement and energy of the ensemble.

“It is vital that the ‘Voice’ interacts and leads the audience through our shows — from leading cheers during the pregame show to introducing show selections during halftime,” Martin explained. “The ‘Voice’ is the driving force that initiates audience participation and inclusion with the marching band.”

Martin said that the ideal candidate will be dedicated to the university, Grand Valley athletics and the Laker Marching Band.

“We are looking for a person who can communicate the excitement and energy of the LMB through their voice. Someone who can add their unique touch, such as a vocal moniker that is unique and identifiable to the ‘Voice.' A person who has great interpersonal relationship skills and can immediately adapt to any new changes that may occur before a performance," said Martin.

Responsibilities for this volunteer position include announcing for the marching band at all home football games during the pregame and halftime shows, exhibition shows scheduled for the fall season and the annual Laker Marching Band Bandorama concert. Additionally, the “Voice” will be required to attend Saturday rehearsals before home games and may be asked to announce at select away games.

Auditions are open to anyone and applications are due by Monday, July 30. For more information, contact Martin at marjohnt@gvsu.edu.