Meet the 2019 SMB

Meet the 2019 SMB

Meet the 2019 SMB: Peter Clay, Voice of the Band

by Veronica Klingel

From the electric energy of pregame, to the musicality and precision of the halftime show, the Spartan Marching Band strives to achieve the highest level of excellence. Every SMB performance is the culmination of hours of behind-the-scenes effort and planning, and often the individuals who put so much into the ensemble go unrecognized by the public. Today, we’d like to introduce you to one of these unsung heroes — Peter Clay, the Voice of the SMB.


Peter Clay, freshman SMB Tuba in 1995 (right)

Peter Clay first got involved with the SMB in 1995 when he was a freshman in college as a member of the Tuba section. His sophomore year, he discovered a passion for telecommunications through his experience working at the WTIL Radio Station, and over the coming years went on to work at multiple area radio stations as a DJ and promotional assistant. Naturally, his personal investment in the SMB and his experience in the communications field made him a natural fit to be the ensemble’s announcer. Clay lobbied former SMB Director John Madden for the chance at the role, and eventually, Madden said yes.

Clay served as the voice of the SMB in the fall of 1998, but upon graduation found himself relocating to North Carolina to pursue a career in radio with a country music station, thus leaving behind his announcing gig with the SMB. But in 2006, when Clay returned to Lansing with his wife, Christie, and two children, Logan and Addy, he knew he wanted to reconnect with the Spartan Marching Band. “The SMB represented such a huge part of my time at MSU. I still had so much of that passion for marching band, and I would have done anything to be able to be on staff in some way.”

Clay has been announcing for the SMB for a combined total of thirteen years, but the thrill he feels when performing with the ensemble hasn’t diminished. He particularly enjoys introducing the band during pregame, and says it is his favorite part of gamedays. “I know it’s the same every game,” says Clay, “but the energy in the stadium when the band comes out of the tunnel… and when it’s time for me to say “Michigan State University is Proud to Present, the Spartan Marching Band!!!” It’s just indescribable. Not unlike how it felt to be on the field for that same moment.”


Peter Clay, Spartan Stadium Press Box

For all of the excitement that Clay feels on Gamedays in East Lansing, his most memorable experience as the voice of the SMB took place far from the press box of Spartan Stadium. In 2014, Clay accompanied the SMB on their trip to Pasadena, California, to perform at the Rose Bowl. “It was a lifelong goal to see MSU play in [that] game. And it became the goal to announce in that iconic stadium. It did not disappoint.”

Peter Clay’s voice has gained notoriety far beyond his work with the SMB, and is well known around campus and the Lansing area. His recognizable tone can be heard announcing for MSU hockey games, doing professional voiceover and narration work, and even singing in a band. Despite the fact that Clay juggles a full plate as a husband, father, performer, and Sales Manager for a TV station, he is still happy to make time to work with the marching band. “Being a part of the [SMB] is important to me.”

When asked what it’s like to be “The Voice of the SMB”, Clay had this to say: “Announcing in Spartan Stadium always gives me a thrill. I get to be somewhat anonymous, but also am an integral part of the show, without taking anything away from the band,” he says. “It’s probably the coolest thing I do.”

Peter Clay has become an essential part of the SMB sound, and our organization is privileged to have him on board.

Meet the 2019 SMB: Lisa Lachowski

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After an extensive audition process, we are excited to have Lisa Lachowski join current Drum Major Jaren Scoggins as the newest Drum Major of the Spartan Marching Band. Previously she was an Alto Saxophone section leader in the SMB, and a high school Drum Major for two years. Being a Drum Major of the Spartan Marching Band has been a long dream for Lisa, and she is extremely excited to be dubbed as “F5”, the Fifth Female Drum Major in SMB History. “I am just so honored to follow the four amazing women that have led our band, and I hope to continue to positively impact other young women in and outside of the SMB.”

Her dream of being a college Drum Major, all started with her middle school band director…

“He was a Drum Major at Eastern Michigan back in the day, and would share stories with us. It was pretty early that the “dream” of becoming a Drum Major in college began. Granted, I didn’t know nearly enough about it! It continued through high school, learning invaluable amounts from fulfilling the role there.

The interest in SMB Drum Majors came alive when attending the MSU Performing Arts Camp, and meeting Rachel Linsmeier (“F2”). The DM staff gave us wide-eyed high school students a look into the SMB, as well as what it means to be a leader in it. Throughout that week and onward, Rachel set a strong example and was a constant inspiration. I couldn’t wait to learn more from her, and join the band she spoke so proudly of!

Flash forward to the last three years marching in the SMB, and I think I’m understanding what an SMB Drum Major is and can be! Spending the most recent season as an Alto Saxophone Section Leader humbled and taught me so much. . . having that chance to be part of our team that serves, gives back, and brings up the next generation of SMB members. Thinking back on the culture, work ethic, and musicality that our section improved together made me wonder what could be done on the full band level. Then, looking at the Drum Major position, I saw room to share these experiences and continue serving our band.”

Lisa is excited to find new and innovative ways to develop and expand the position of the SMB Drum Major. She says that “with changes in the visual staff, we’ll need to step into new teaching roles – with both fundamentals throughout Preseason, and drill on the field.”

Another goal of hers is to continue to find ways to bring sections closer together. “We can begin to inspire meetings and mutual support. We can engage in hornline and drumline sectionals, attend Color Guard rehearsals, and learn more from our Big Ten Flags.”

There is a delicate sense of care to everything she does. She pays attention to everyone, and is invested in everything you have to say. She says that she is determined to learn all 300+ names of the members of the SMB, and when it comes to Lisa, you know she will do more than just learn their names.

As someone who has known Lisa since Day One of Freshman year, I can honestly say that from the moment I met her, I knew she was destined to be an SMB Drum Major. You feel yourself smile whenever you’re around her, and she exudes kindness, optimism, and a passion for music wherever she goes. She is driven by helping others and her love for music education.

Lisa was originally adopted from Moscow, Russia, but grew up in Rochester Hills, Michigan. She is currently studying Music Education and Clarinet Performance in the MSU College of Music. After graduation, she hopes to experience living and teaching abroad. She says that South America is one of her favorite places, and would love to spend some long term time there. But after that, she hopes that her career will lead to teaching music at the high school and college levels. Outside of band, Lisa likes to cycle, run, and swim.