Laker Marching Band Staff


John Martin - Director of Athletic Bands

Office Address: 1211 Haas Center for Performing Arts
Phone: (616) 331-2942
Email: [email protected]

D.M.A., University of Southern Mississippi
M.M., University of Tennessee, Knoxville
B.M.E, University of Tennessee, Knoxville

John Martin serves as Associate Professor/Director of Athletic Bands. His duties include teaching music education courses, conducting the Concert Band, University Band, Laker Marching Band and coordinating the athletic band program. Prior to his appointment at Grand Valley, Martin served as Assistant Director of Bands at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. He assisted the nationally acclaimed “Pride of the Southland” Marching Band as instructor, drill designer, and arranger. Martin’s other responsibilities included conducting the University Concert Band, administering and conducting all pep band activities, and teaching undergraduate courses in brass methods and marching band techniques. He began his music education career at Vance Middle School in Memphis where he served as band director.

John Martin received his DMA degree in wind conducting from the University of Southern Mississippi where he studied conducting with Dr. Thomas V. Fraschillo and Dr. Steven R. Moser. He received his Bachelor of Music Education and Master of Music degrees from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville where he studied conducting with Dr. Gary Sousa, Dr. WJ Julian, and Dr. Gary Schallert. Among Martin’s other conducting activities, he served as conductor of the Babahatchie Community Band in Harriman, Tennessee and guest conductor of the East Tennessee Concert Band in Knoxville. He has presented sessions at state and national conferences. Martin continues to actively serve as a clinician, adjudicator, and guest conductor throughout the nation. He has numerous tuba/euphonium arrangements published through TUBA Press.

He holds membership in many professional organizations including the College Band Directors National Association, National Band Association, and Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia. In 2001, he was awarded Phi Mu Alpha’s Orpheus Award. His dissertation focused on the career of his college band director, Dr. WJ Julian that is titled, WJ Julian: His life and career with emphasis on his tenure as Director of Bands at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville (1961-1993).

Loren Koella

Loren Koella - Assistant Director

Office Address: 1300 Haas Center for Performing Arts

B.M.E., Grand Valley State University
M.Ed., Grand Rapids Community College

Loren Koella serves as the Assistant Director of the Laker Marching Band. In addition, she is the band director at Riley Street Middle School in Hudsonville. Previously she has taught band and instrumental music in Grand Rapids, Cedar Springs and Denver, Colorado and assisted with numerous marching bands around West Michigan.



Jaden McCallum

Jaden McCallum - Drumline Coordinator

Office Address: 1300 Haas Center for Performing Arts
Email: [email protected]
Phone: (517) 489-8068

B.M.E. (in progress), Grand Valley State University

Jaden McCallum is serving the Laker Marching Band as our Drumline Coordinator! A LMB vet of five years, Jaden has marched for various groups such as Motor City Percussion, Genesis Percussion, and the Phantom Regiment Drum and Bugle Corps, and gained experience while being on staff for many West Michigan high school bands, and most recently for Legends Drum and Bugle Corps. Jaden is excited to be on the other side of the drumline and in a position to give back to his Alma Mater!


Becky Sikkema

Becky Sikkema - Color Guard Coordinator

Office Address: 1300 Haas Center for Performing Arts
Email:  [email protected]   

B.S., Grand Valley State University

Becky Sikkema serves as the Laker Marching Band Color Guard Instructor. She has been a color guard instructor in West Michigan for the past eight years.  She was the instructor at Martin High School from 2004-2011.  She has been the instructor at Wayland Union High School since 2007. In 2010 she founded the Wayland Winter Guard, which competes in the Michigan Color Guard Circuit. 

Becky is a graduate of Grand Valley State University and Wayland Union High School.  While at Grand Valley, she studied Classics and was a member of the Laker Marching Band.  She served as section leader in the color guard for four seasons.  She is very excited to be instructing at both her former high school and Alma Mater.

Lindsey Willett lifting two dumbbells

Lindsey Willett - Health and Wellness Advisor

Office Address: 1300 Haas Center for Performing Arts
Email: [email protected]

B.A., Grand Valley State University
CPT., National Academy of Sports Medicine

Lindsey Willett graduated from Grand Valley State University in 2021 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Advertising and Public Relations, emphasis in Public Relations. During her time at GVSU, Lindsey was heavily involved with the Laker Marching Band, serving as President of the council, Vice President of the Grand Valley Winter Guard, section leader for the color guard, and member of the color guard social media committee. After graduation, Lindsey went on to continue her education through the National Academy of Sports Medicine where she obtained her certification in personal training. Lindsey now serves as a personal trainer/group fitness instructor in Grand Rapids, MI as well as Color Guard Director for Lakewood High School Bands, Assistant Coach for Davenport University Athletic Bands, and Health and Wellness Advisor for GVSU’s Laker Marching Band.

Joel Paauwe

Joel Paauwe - Announcer

B.S., Grand Valley State University

Mr. Joel Paauwe begins his role as the “Voice of the Laker marching Band.” In April of 2015, Joel received his Bachelor of Arts Degree in Broadcasting from Grand Valley State University. Since then, he has embarked on a career that has allowed him to explore his passion for voiceover. 

While he was a student at GVSU, Joel enjoyed his involvement with the campus radio station (WCKS The Whale) that he credits for helping him find his “voice.” Now, it is with this same voice that Joel hopes to leave an impact on Laker Nation the same way it has left an impact on him. He is overjoyed to be carrying on such a legacy and is thrilled to be a part of Laker Marching Band history.


Tom Yackish

Tom Yackish - Honorary Lifetime Member

Email: [email protected]

B.S., Purdue University

Retired announcer for the Marching Band is Professor Emeritus of Engineering, Tom Yackish. Prof. Yackish graduated from Purdue University and played in the “Purdue All-American Marching Band” his entire four years at Purdue. He also participated on the “Purdue band staff” as the marching and symphonic band librarian. Professor Yackish came to Grand Valley in the fall of 1985 after teaching engineering for sixteen years in the Purdue system to start the engineering program at Grand Valley. He quickly became associated with the Music Department by recording ensembles and playing trombone in the Grand Valley State University Jazz Band. With the arrival of Prof. Barry Martin as Director of Bands, Prof. Yackish shifted from recording to the band’s announcer. With the completion of the fall 2017 season, Prof. Yackish will have been the “Voice of the Laker Marching Band” for the past twenty three years. Prof. Yackish is an active supporter of Grand Valley’s band program and looks forward every year to meeting and participating with every band member.

Page last modified September 12, 2022