Novoselich still remembers the amazing atmosphere of that contest, and more than anything else, the way the Buccaneers’ pep band helped enhance that environment.
Now in his first year as the director of bands at Grand Haven High School, Novoselich has the Bucs’ pep band rocking once more.
“When I was a sixth-grader, I came down in 1996-97, and it really had an impression on me, like, ‘Wow, this is overwhelming,’” Novoselich recalled. “Interacting with the students is a huge part of it.”
Novoselich was the middle school band director at Grand Haven last year, then over the summer, was re-assigned to the high school level.
In addition, he and his new wife, Erika, were married last summer.
“It made for a very interesting summer,” he said with a laugh.
Novoselich is a Michigan State University graduate. He played in MSU’s pep band, Spartan Brass, during basketball games at the Breslin Center.
When he took over the high school marching and pep bands, he wanted to put what he learned at MSU into play at Grand Haven.
“Surrounded by 4,000 kids — the ‘Izzone’ in the lower bowl — it was a real tough place for other teams to play,” Novoselich said. “I talked to a lot of people to find out what’s near and dear to their hearts.”
Novoselich’s influences on the Bucs’ band first became apparent to Grand Haven fans during football season. After its half-time show, the band would line up in front of the student section and play a handful of songs, stirring the home crowd into a frenzy.
Katie Kowalczyk-Fulmer, who coaches the Buccaneers’ No. 1-ranked girls basketball team, has also noticed the difference in the band’s involvement during her team’s games.
“It’s a nice addition,” she said. “It seems like there’s more band members there — a lot of kids — and they bring a lot of energy. They’re doing a great job. Ian’s doing a great job getting into it.”
The pep band will be on display tonight as the Buccaneers’ girls basketball team plays its final home game of the season against rival Rockford, beginning around 7 p.m. The final boys home game is Feb. 21 against Grandville.
To read more of this story, see today’s print or e-edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.