News From the Top

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At this time, Pioneer is sort of marking time - anxious to start recruiting, and rehearsing. However, the nationwide climate is sending us a strong signal to wait. The COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic continues to spread rapidly in our Wisconsin area. Politics, protests, and unrest may subside, but every activity/club/sports/etc. is feeling the impact of all the above.

It is my feeling that we should start seeking applicants for membership without a precise start-up date. Whatever that date is, we would begin training, rehearsing, and forming a nucleus of an available unit in some form for the summer of 2021. Many options then could be taken depending on the world around us. I do, however, believe that now is the time to enlist interested students to become part of our Pioneer as soon as we are able. Let’s take advantage as soon as possible of the of many restfulness youth who are anxious to get involved with a vibrant activity. More information will be coming soon!

We are informed that WGI will not have any in-person events this winter. Some virtual opportunities may be offered. DCI is considering a very short “Bridge Tour” in 2021, leading to a full season in 2022. Nothing has been announced by DCA.

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Pioneerland has lots of activities taking place at this time including Police Dog Training and parking spaces for the following individuals working on projects who are giving a small donation for its use:

  • Pioneer driver Kenya Lawrence, who parks her mobile nail and hair salon that she has purchased and outfitted
  • Charles Miericke (#1769) selling parted out parts via the internet of his 1979 Dodge van
  • Pioneer Booster Roberts Trucking who store their semi-trailers at the far North section of Pioneerland
  • KB Excursion Buses
  • Our Pioneer Coach buses that are resting as people are not traveling or taking group trips

There are no soccer teams rehearsing at this time.

RBJ (#701) and Mr. Khaled from the KB Excursion Bus Company have installed security video cameras in six locations around Pioneerland that record every activity taking place there day and night.

Murray Davis and RBJ (#701) have been keeping the rehearsal field grasses cut and trimmed on a regular basis throughout the spring, summer, and fall so they are ready at any time for future use.

All of our vehicles have been maintained, inspected, and ready to travel someday soon!

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Our Saturday evening sessions continue with the state’s mandate of only allowing 1/3 capacity. While it doesn’t make as much profit these days, it does pay for our office expenses, electricity, insurance, etc.

Our Lion’s Club bingo is shut down until maybe next March. The Lions are experiencing a shortage of volunteers to help at their hall and the customer attendance has been low.

Loyal customer for almost 20 years, Martha Cisler celebrated her 100th birthday! She was dressed up for her birthday along with her friends at our Pioneer Bingo. They attend regularly and during the summer they wear their Bingo Every Day t-shirts. They come early and play cards, enjoying the company of each other.

While now on a smaller scale of attendance and with a smaller profit, we are very thankful to have our bingo sessions to keep the corps financially balanced. Some of you might remember performing for the seniors outside the Senior Center. The people talked about that very often. Many were also proud to see you at the West Allis parades. As Pioneer Bingo players, they had a great loyalty to you and what you did!


This Saturday, July 25th will be our fourth Saturday of restarting our Bingo at the United Seniors 4515 W. Forest Home Ave.

Our Progressive game is at 58 numbers for $4,000.00 plus! You might like to try your luck! We will be open at 5:00 pm and the games will begin at 6:30 pm. You should arrive early, since attendance is limited to 125 people. Bring your mask and always be aware of social distancing. The Senior Center’s Staff is doing an excellent job of sanitizing the hall’s tables, chairs, and rest rooms. We appreciate their extra-ordinary efforts!

Tonight we will resume our Friday Bingo held at the St. Francis Lion’s Club in St. Francis. It will be on a limited basis, held only on Friday evenings. The normal Wednesday sessions are now on hold. Since we share these Friday night sessions with 3 other organizations, we will have only 6 dates until the end of this year.


This annual picnic, normally held in September, will not take place this year because a park permit for the event could not be given. As you know, the State of Illinois is seeing a huge risk with Covid Virus cases. This picnic has been held for the past 12 years and was a great time to socialize with corps’ alumni, as well as some great musical performances given by several different groups. This past year, Pioneer Corps served Pabst Beer and Coke products to all who attended for their appreciation of keeping the Corps Spirit alive.


Because of our changing and unpredictable times caused by the active Covid Virus, the original September 20th date has been postponed until hopefully the end of October. We still have some teaching staff openings, as well as opportunities to be involved in various capacities. If you are interested, please call our Office at: 414-327-2847

ALUMNI SUCCESS STORY - Jackie Bilder # 1787

Jackie, former Pioneer mellophone soloist, drum major, and instructor, has created an outstanding business in Blue Island, Illinois. Many of you will recall the St. Patrick’s party after the Chicago parade. But in spite of the Covid virus, the restaurant continues to do well. Carry-outs helped service, and the addition of a large outdoor patio that is exquisitely designed in addition to the front bar and restaurant makes for a great stop that you should come to whenever you are in the Chicago area. The cocktail bar is called, “NATURAL LAW.” It is located at 13404 Olde Western Avenue. Stop in and say hi to Jackie who continues to be, “Better Every Day!


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bingoBINGO IS BACK!....After canceling 18 bingo dates because of the Corona virus, we have re-started our SATURDAY Bingo games at the United Senior Center located at 4515 W. Forest Home Ave. in Milwaukee. The facility has been thoroughly cleaned and sanitized from top to bottom. Social distancing signage has been placed to remind the customers. While the wearing of face masks is an option, the tables and chairs have been spaced out. Customers do have the option to move the chairs to sit with their friends as many have done……If you would like to play or help us out, come down on Saturday night. To help out, come around 5:30 pm. The games begin at 6:30 pm,  and usually end about 9:30 pm……  Our FRIDAY  Bingo games, located at the St. Francis Lion’s Community Center, located at  3746 East Howard Avenue, are tentatively scheduled to resume on Friday, July 24th.  More information will be posted later.

 pioneerlandPIONEERLAND….is still quite quiet. There is no marching, no soccer, or no bus trips. The police dog training continues and our friend, Tim Roberts parks some of his trucking company empty trailers on the north end of our property……Murray Davis, Diana Kupinski(#214) , Charles Mierecke (1769) , Roman Jr.(#701) and I have all taken turns cutting and trimming the three football fields. Normally the soccer clubs have cut it, but they still are not active because of the pandemic. So….the riding lawnmower gives us the opportunity as it travels 3 miles per hour, to meditate on our lives, past and present. Doing the trimming also takes a lot of time. Also the birds are very appreciative while we are mowing because it gives them the task of getting worms a lot easier. If you would like to enjoy the opportunity of volunteering for this peaceful endeavor, please call the Office at: 414-327-2847. It is a rewarding experience!

wgi windsFALL WINDS CORPS… is tentatively planning on starting on Sunday, September 20th from 1:00 pm – 5:00 pm. It will take place at the Grand Ballroom located at 3677 East Pulaski Ave. in Cudahy, WI (about 4 minutes from Pioneerland.)……Dr. Cecil Austin will coordinate the staff and instructional program. The design will be created by Dave Campbell. Robert Newman (#385) will be the percussion caption head and Jesse Reyes (#2433) will be the visual caption head. We are still looking for additional staff. The big requirement will be the availability on Sunday afternoons. Re-booting as a community-based unit will require a lot of recruiting especially for beginning students, as well as students with experience. Would you like to be involved and help teach? If so, at your convenience, call the Office: (414) 327-2847 or send us an email at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it...... Depending on our recruitment success, drumline and indoor color guard lines are possibilities. This summer’s season will include parades, competitions, and some great travel social events….CALL NOW AND GET INVOLVED!

coronavirusNo one would have ever thought that the words above would be as relevant to our lives as they are today. My grandparents often spoke about the depression years of the 1930’s. My parents often mentioned the shortages and sacrifices of the World War II era. I recall my own childhood experiences of the Polio Outbreak years when we were confined to our homes. We, today, are now contending with a lot of unknowns while our lives are have come to an abrupt hold with no foreseeable date for positive changes, while we wait for anticipation of a concrete answer. What will the aftermath of recovery bring? Yes this is all very serious, but dwelling on the doom and gloom will hurt more than help. That is why we need to look at each day to find at least one thing positive to do or think about. Yes now more than ever we must put our Better Every Day way of life to the forefront. Being positive, being kind, being willing to help, etc. are all ways we can do this, not just for ourselves, but to be a positive influence on those around us.

challengeWell, all of this has made our wonderful Pioneer Corps activity come to a screeching halt. Granted with our personal health, families, careers, etc. being of top concern, and a lot of other activities stopped, Corps life has become a very low priority right now as we must be concerned with essentials. But being great at handling challenges as we are , we will eventually move ahead, stronger and more positive than ever!

changeI am certain that our activity will be changed, once we again resume. I’m not sure how, but I am sure it will not be the same as before.

wgiAs you know, our recruitment drive for a WGI Winds group has stopped. All of our Bingo sessions have stopped. There have been no bus trips. There are no soccer league practices at Pioneerland. There are no police dog trainings taking place at Pioneerland. All activities at Pioneerland have ceased.

whatSo what can we do? We can be in touch with each other. If help is needed we provide what we can. We can use this time to take care of other matters that might have been overlooked when time was not available before to take care of them. By all means take care of yourselves and put a strong emphasis on your personal health…. Pioneer people know how to keep going. I know it’s simpler said than done, but it is the right direction to take.

rebootWhen allowed, we will resume our REBOOT program. This will include WGI Winds group, early Parades, possible Band and/or Corps competitions, and of course some awesome Culture Days!

busSay GOOD BYE, PLAN B (bus 42)…..She has retired after 16 faithful years of service to Pioneer and helped out at least 5 other corps when they were in need. Plan B has been sold. This school bus hasn’t been needed for several years as our motor coaches have more space and comfort, as well as bays for luggage. Our Plan B gained notoriety as being used at the Drum Corps Midwest game days. She proudly became the focus point for the Bus-Pushing Contests which were always a big hit! We will miss you Plan B!

golden boyRemember….Mike Erickson #1134, a soprano player from the 1993 corps! The show was about the WW1 era “1917”. His nickname was Golden Boy and came to us from way up in Northern Wisconsin in a small city named Cable. Mike served 4 years in the U.S. Navy and now works for the Security Service in Chesapeake Virginia. He is married with 4 children and would look forward to hearing from fellow Pioneer members. His email address is: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

stpatsIt all started here in October, 1961. The equipment room was by the large round window upstairs. Originally it was built as a church for the “Irish Immigrants” and was later converted to a school once the church was built. The corps rehearsed in the lower hall (basement) and the color guard used the small gymnasium upstairs. The building operates today as a Jesuit school primarily for the Spanish population of Milwaukee’s Southside.

amazon smileAmazonSmile is a website operated by Amazon with the same products, prices, and shopping features as The difference is that when you shop on AmazonSmile, the AmazonSmile Foundation will donate 0.5% of the purchase price of eligible products to Pioneer, the charitable organization of your choice. Every item available for purchase on is also available on AmazonSmile ( at the same price.You will see eligible products marked "Eligible for AmazonSmile donation" on their product detail pages.


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paradeHAPPY ST. PATRICK’S DAY… the thousands of people who marched or have been a part of the Pioneer Corps! St. Patrick’s Day has a special meaning in their/our lives. It has been a first event of the new season, a first time playing outside and on the move, the first time putting on the uniform, and for many of us the first time realizing that there are so many Irish people and those who wish to be Irish in the U.S.A. The Milwaukee parades were modest, but the Chicago parades were a memory of crowds of people and dollars spent on celebrating the Irish. Every time that you see a shamrock, your head says, “Pioneer”, and your mind reminds you to be, “Better Every Day”.

freeFREE PRIZE….. Send to us via email (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) a nice St. Patrick’s Day greeting (be creative!) along with your current mailing address. Garry Owen will send you a Green Shamrock key fob! You will be able to rub it for good luck!

rebootRecruiting has begun for our new Pioneer Performance Corps program!

As the program is developed, it will have traits similar to Small Drum Corps (SDCA) and DCI Sound Sport, but will ultimately take us in the direction of WGI Winds. 

The WGI Winds circuit takes place in indoor venues during the winter & spring months, with contests taking place on weekends only.  Competing groups in WGI Winds can can have between 10 and 47 members, and the shows performed in competition are between 4-8 minutes long.  Instruments of any sorts are legal to use in WGI Winds, and the new Performance Corps program will have many of the elements that we are used to including Brass, Color Guard, Percussion, and Electronics.

Our intent is to have the new Performance Corps program be a year-round activity, with membership primarily based in South-Eastern Wisconsin. Membership will be open to students between the ages of 13 and 21 years.

Rehearsals will take place on Sunday afternoons at the Grand Ballroom in Cudahy, WI. It is 2 minutes East of Pioneerland at the crossroads of Pulaski and Kirkwood Ave. At this time the first rehearsal is slated for late April. The exact date will be announced at a later time as we continue to monitor the ongoing COVID-19 situation, and adhere to guidance from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and the Wisconsin Department of Health Services.

People with any instrumental experience are welcome, as well as those willing to learn as a beginner. Interested individuals can register online or call our office at 414-327-2847.

Watch for staff announcements and other activities in the near future!


Merry Christmas!
…to you all, especially to those who have been so helpful with Bingo, transportation, Pioneerland, and the Percussion Ensemble! We have much to be thankful for, and it couldn’t have been done without the time and effort given from the staff, members, alumni, and many others who have contributed their time, efforts, talents, and yes, generous financial donations.

We Have a New Rehearsal Site!
We are happy to announce that we have secured the use of an awesome indoor facility in Cudahy, WI called the GRAND BALLROOM located on the corner of Pulaski Ave. and Kirkwood. It’s is less than a 2 minute drive from Pioneerland and 1 block East of Cudahy’s main street, Packard Avenue. It is spacious with 2 floors of banquet halls, and individual rooms for individual lessons and sectional rehearsals.

Years ago it was called the Serenity Club and we used it on occasion for rehearsals (rain site) and Bingo. For the real old timers, it was called the Allied Veterans Post whom we ran several early May field contests at Cudahy High School.

Recently this building was purchased by Mr. Eugene Bonner who operates a school catering food service to 5 schools in Milwaukee. The gymnasium is now a beautiful ballroom with a dance floor. The bowling alley was removed and a now has been turned into a huge carpeted meeting room. The entire building has been made available to us for Sunday rehearsals!

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If that was not generous enough, Mr. Bonner has offered us the use of a 26’ box truck that has an electric lift on the back of it. This will be used for the WGI Season and will props, the floor, and equipment. This entire opportunity comes to the corps at NO COST! In turn we have offered them parking spaces at Pioneerland as well asland usage for summer activities with his food/catering business.

Besides the remodeled upstairs, the lower level still has a huge area with adjoining small rooms for sectionals, yes! This Christmas present will be put to use soon. Watch for upcoming times and rehearsal dates!



We regretfully announce the passing of Mrs. Carla Rubusch – Hohnstein who passed away on October 11th, 2019. She was a major force for Pioneer along with her sister, Patty Lonzaga , during the 1990’s. She worked in the kitchen, helped with bingo, and was a major contributor to the building of Pioneerland. Her son Jerry Hohnstein (#972) was a percussionist and drove both truck and our bus for 6 years. His sister, Nicole Hohnstein (#1186) was in the front ensemble for 3 years.

Carla can be remembered for her hard work for sure, but it was her wit and great sense of humor that just the mention of her name will put a big smile on all of the faces of those who knew her. In our corps’ prayer, the words, “The hard-working members of our corps” was definitely a true description of Carla. She definitely deserves a place in heaven’s St. Patrick Apartments.

Visitation: Saturday, October 26th from 11:00 am – 1:00 pm at the Hartson Funeral Home located at 1111 W. Janesville Road in Hales Corners.


“Thank You” to the alumni of many Midwestern Corps who attended the 10th annual fall picnic. Talent was displayed by two excellent brass ensemble performances, proving that their abilities were not lost because of age!

Ken Norman and Roman Blenski showed off their huge collection display of the corps world from its beginning to the present. It was a cool day, but the “free” cans of Coke a Cola products as well as Pabst Blue Ribbon beer donated by our Pioneer Corps, was greatly appreciated. Many wore their corps jackets and gave Pioneer a bug thank you for the refreshments. However, coffee and hot chocolate might have been more appropriate for the cool weather. Thank you alumnus Bill Nylund for taking on the role of being the day’s bartender!


shamrock invitationYOU ARE INVITED!
You are most welcome to join us in celebration of our 2019 Pioneer Percussion Performance Corps Ensemble’s membership this Sunday afternoon at 2:00 pm.

Let’s all meet at Pioneerland (2000 E. Birchwood Ave. Cudahy, WI 53110). This was originally scheduled for September 29th, but due to football and band required commitments that our members had for that date, our banquet has been rescheduled for this Sunday.

Yes, we realize that gives you short notice, but if you have the time, a surge of Pioneer Pride, and $20.00 for a lunch/supper, come to Pioneerland. We will start with a tour of our ever-growing facility, a buffet feast by Irene’s Catering (Chicken & Polish Sausage) as well as well-deserved awards to our hard-working membership. They will also receive their shamrock medals. We will have a guest speaker, a slide presentation, and a very enjoyable afternoon for all. (Sorry, no bonfire!)

It takes place beginning at 6:30 pm at The Senior Center on 45th & Forest Home Ave. The Progressive Game has a $2,400.00 prize at 57 numbers or less for a Full Card!

Please continue using We already have received a nice check from them and when you purchase any Amazon product on this website, you continue to help Pioneer to be the best it can be!

Better Every Day!

Roman Blenski

From the end of July through today have been busy for the Pioneer in many ways. It has been unusually different from past summers. However, our purpose of serving youth and adults involved in corps life is almost at a maximum level.

South Milwaukee Heritage Days Parade

The Pioneer Percussion ensemble, along with several alumni, marched in South Milwaukee’s annual Heritage Parade on Saturday, July 27th. It was not a long parade, and took place just minutes away from Pioneerland. After the parade, Shari Drake prepared a spaghetti dinner for all. It made for a comfortable day. Senior members Bob Grotz and Chris Smith played. Alumni Bill Nylund (#159), John Schoenknecht (#444), and Kurt Mueller (#1004) were also joined by Don Schofield (Gilligan), Shari Drake, and Roman Blenski.

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DrumLine Battle

In conjunction with DCI Championship week, the annual DrumLine Battle competition took place in Indianapolis on Saturday, August 10th.  The Pioneer Percussion Ensemble performed three times as part of the festivities.  They were also joined by several color guard members, as shown in the picture below.  While the the older-aged corps lines beat them in the competition, they looked great!  The bright green T-shirts donated by John Schoenknecht (#444) made no doubt that the ensemble was Pioneer.  After the performances, all of the members had tickets to watch the DCI Finals. It was a hot day in Indianapolis, but the members enjoyed nice cool A.C. supplied by Bus #68. It worked great throughout the entire day! 

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St. Patrick's Day Parade Patches Have Arrived!

The patches for all of those who participated in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Chicago have arrived. They are beautiful, as was the day of the parade. Those who participated please email (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) me your home Mailing Address so we can be sure that you get yours! It will look great on your corps jacket!


Mr. Bonslater is floating the idea for members and alumni to participate in this highly publicized and attended in this parade in Downtown Chicago. Spread the news!

Pioneer buses helped out Mr. Fugh’s River West Pizza & Tavern with a 3 day bus load of customers to the Alpine Valley outdoor concert. They heard the group, “PHISH”, a nationally known band…The concert drew between 15,000 -20,000 fans each day! We also drove a load from a wedding party in Madison to the concert.


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under the able direction of Mr. Bobby Bonslater, is doing very well. So far they have marched in The Harvard, IL Milk Days Parade, Three Oaks MI Parade, and the Libertyville, IL Parade. Crowds have been highly entertained by our fantastic percussion line. The color guard, being small right now is in need of many others to join. We appreciate the efforts towards that goal by Pioneer Veteran Megan Weaver #2527. Most of our members come to us from the area of Des Plaines, Illinois area along with about 5-7 students from Milwaukee. Mr. Andy Stawick has been teaching the percussion during rehearsals taking place mainly on parade weekends. With more upcoming weekend parades and performances, we sure would welcome more new members in the Drumline and especially in the Color Guard.