News From the Top

 Coming Soon

Gathering of the Clan - July 29, 30, 31

July 29-30-31

Are you going to bring your instrument? Play along with alumni of the Kilts, Pioneer, and other corps of old? Why not??? Drum equipment will be available and some horns to be used for the event. Music will be available.

It will be a great opportunity to visit with some old friends, catch up with the news… Remember you’re not getting any younger, so take this chance to stop in at Pioneerland and maybe play along “Garry Owen!” and “Auld Lang Syne” if your talent holds up 

We will have old uniforms on display, corps artifacts, and pictures (bring along your old photos). Nothing pleases the mind than to think and remanence about good times!

Saturday, July 30th Dinner will be from 4 – 5pm will be served having roast beef and genuine polish sausage! Bring along your favorite beverage. Parking will be good because the K/B Excursion buses will be parked on the far North end of our land where the Tim Roberts trucking trailers are parked. Put up a tent? Why not? The police dog training school will not meet on this weekend so lots of room will be available!

Pioneer will have a good selection of hooded sweatshirts available and for sale:
$30.00 for sizes (S – XL) or $40.00 for sizes (2X – 5X). Also we will have extra VHS and DVD copies from some years on hand.

If you are unable to attend, send us an email (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) with a line or two so that we can post it on the whiteboard for others to read. Those who will join us in playing instruments will be a hit and greatly appreciated!

Gathering of the Clan Schedule

Gathering of the Clan Detailed Schedule

Rev. Ronald Ruggles

Ron Ruggles served on the Pioneer Board of Directors as well as well as driving many hours from Paducah, Kentucky to bring his two daughters Tracy #1083 and Erin #1094 to march in the Pioneer. His son, Ron Jr., spent many summers with us as Equipment Manager and countless other tasks. It became a family activity who devoted themselves to the Corps’ young people. Ron’s wife, Jane traveled several seasons as our souvenir person, uniform maintenance, and many other tasks that touring demanded. His family continues to emulate Ron’s lifetime commitment by helping others. Ron was a kind and caring person that meant so much to so many Pioneer members, staff, and management. We miss him greatly. No doubt he was a person who not only helped others become Better Every Day, but also lived it himself! Thank you, Ron.

Noteworthy: At Ron’s burial site, the funeral director presented helium balloons to every person present, and as the final word of gratitude for Ron was given, the balloons were released as a gesture to the one who gave so much of himself.


It’s amazing. After many hours of weed trimming and preparation for resealing the asphalt areas, how stately the land looks. No marching on the field for 2 seasons, but because of a lot of donations from the MADD Police Dog Training School who uses our fields, the grass looks awesome on the main field (with the observation tower) and the second field which the turf is getting thicker. Of course, the Guard Field in front always looks great. Thanks to Murray, RBJ, and True Green Lawn Service, for keeping our field in top condition. We also thank the Merit Asphalt Company for repairing and resurfacing the whole area. New White parking lines makes a good impression also. It was one of the hottest days of the year (in the upper 90’s) so it took another day for properly set up as needed.


There is no news at this time. We are still in the planning stages.


After 25 years of fundraising with bingo at the United Seniors, the building has been sold. All bingo games will end on July 30th (Yes or Gathering of the Clan date), and United Seniors will be going inactive. So we are now moving to:

 Pioneer Bingo - The Choice Pub and Eatery

Formerly Crawdaddy’s Roadhouse and Shakey’s Pizza
9638 W. National Avenue

Our new bingo facility is located next to the Bike Shop and B/P Gas Station. It has been closed a while, but before COVID it was completely remodeled into a beautiful facility! We will continue to have bingo on both Wednesday and Saturday evenings. Since our last bingo at the Senior Center will be on July 30th (Gathering Night), our first bingo at the Choice Pub and Eatery will take place on the following Wednesday evening, August 3rd. We are grateful to the United Seniors people and its founder, Mrs. Dorothy Seeley for the many years we shared the building.


On the past 4th of July, a lot of thoughts of past 4th of July parades and events entered my mind. Our earlier parades in New Berlin, WI where the people watching were rowdy when drinks and objects were thrown at us as we marched along….or our 4 parades in one day that we did for 15 years 10-12-2-4 times. Sure we were tired, but we did it. It helped to keep the member fees reasonable.

Surprisingly we were able to make every one of them. Yes, we never missed a one, though at times it was close that we had to rush to be the last unit at the Hales Corner’s Parade.

Another memory was the Shorewood Parade where we marched for several blocks with hardly anyone watching!!! Our opportunity was to watch 5 municipal fireworks displays when we stayed in Cudahy. We saw theirs, St. Francis’, Milwaukee’s, South Milwaukee’s, and Oak Creek’s. They all took place at approximately the same time.

Time has not erased the memory of “Garry Owen” with parade watchers clapping their hands to the beat of the song.

We hope to see lots of Kiltie, Pioneer and many other Corps jackets in Attendance

 gathering group

Happy ♣ St. Patrick’s Day…We missed you!
Better Every Day!

As the Corps began its 61st year, we celebrated with a wonderful St. Patrick’s Day party. As we all repeated in the Corps Prayer, “The Togetherness and Friendship we share” was renewed by the 75 members of our Corps Family from many seasons. They shared memories, renewed friendships, and viewed displays of our Corps’ history. These included Corps jackets, horn displays, tour books, banquet books, VCR videos, DVDs from many past years, and even some 33 1/3rd record albums!

One of the highlights included a plentiful “Irish” meal consisting of corned beef, Polish sausage, roast beef, Irish mashed potatoes, and seasoned veggies. Sharon Drake, (Pioneer bus driver) provided us with cookies, peanut butter candies, etc. to sweeten us up! This all took place inside the United Seniors Bingo Hall where we have held our bingo session for years.

Tim Osterbeck, our Pioneer webmaster used his professional equipment to project many years of our Corps’ performances that many gathered around and fondly watched. This also stood out as a popular highlight to our get-together.

Another surprise that positively stood out was that several of our former leaders were in attendance:


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 There were lots of surprises seeing many of your friends that you have not seen for up to 40 years!

johnJOHN SCHOENKNECHT #444 had a great display of Thunderbolt memorabilia. If you remember, John marched in our Corps in 1973 and later became the Pioneer’s Assistant Director. He has also in recent years helped in so many ways including creating prop designs, helping with our cook truck, as well as other behind the scenes needs.

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jacketIt was interesting to see the small changes of our satin green Corps jackets throughout the years. While at one time all corps had a jacket. Many were satin with beautiful displays on the backs. Today, only the Troopers and Pioneer still have the satin ones, as corps jackets seem to be out of style as well as corps letter sweaters and overseas hats that once were worn to show corps spirit and pride in their corps. With 60 years on our Corps’ history, there must be at least 1200 of our jackets in someone’s closet or attic, maybe even forgotten in the back of the closet.

New Pioneer hoodie sweatshirts were available for sale, plus free green pens and New Orleans Mardi Gras necklaces were given to everyone.


 busAlso in attendance were Pioneer Drivers Randy Erickson, Bill Nylund (#159) Dave Jarigese, and Shari Drake.



Special thanks to our faithful volunteers who without even being asked, helped in the clean-up and reloading of all of our displays. Once a leader, they are always leaders by example! Not being expected to do this, you need to know that your efforts were very much appreciated!

Also a special Thank-You to those who left money for expenses. It was not asked for, but was certainly a thoughtful deed on your part

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Truly, the Hard-working members of the Corps!
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Jim Muchmore # 470
Pioneer with Humor
gathering 03Leon Gregory # 302
Tenor Drummer & RB
gathering 04
Tony Miller # 114
First Soprano Soloist
& Pioneer Jacket Display
gathering 05
Jim Muchmore # 470
John Schoenknecht # 444
Leonard Steed #545
Dr. Cecil Austin
& Thunderbolt Memorabilia Display
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Jessica Marsala # 2208
Pioneer Drum Major & Percussionist
and Roman Blenski
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Lots of corned beef, Polish sausage, Roast Beef & Green Doughnuts!
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Jim Muchmore # 470
Tom Bronk # 123 Imperials of St. Patrick Drum Major
and Sue Blenski
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Becki Denomie #189
Imperials of St. Patrick Color Guard

crossIt is with a heavy heart that we report the passing of some friends and members who were part of us:

JOE KLOSS (#244) Joe was a contra player from 1967-1969 who recently passed away. We remember his brother, Dick played soprano in 1966 and his sister Carrolyn (nee Scharping) was in the brass section. Joe was part of a wonderful and talented family.

JOE COURTNEY Joe was for many years an avid Pioneer booster. He was a prominent judge in the color guard circuits as well as for drum corps. He passed away on January 27th, 2022. Joe was the corps director of the Vaqueros Drum Corps in Elmhurst, Illinois. He was devoted to the marching world of DCM, DCI, WGI, MCGC, and Bands of America. He will be missed a lot by the entire marching arts and color guard activities.

ELIZABETH BROSKY (Lucan) #1583 Liz, marched in Pioneer from 1982-2022. She passed away on February 11th, 1922 in Boston, PA. My memory reminds me of her extraordinary willingness to help in any section from 2001 – percussion, color guard, or even helping out in the support staff. Her mother, Jane Huff was involved as a volunteer bus driver as well as multi-talented in the food and uniform departments.

baseballGOOD DEEDS… Once again, for the third straight year, Pioneer sponsored The Wilson Premier Baseball League. The baseball field is located on S. 13th Street and College Avenue in Milwaukee. It is near Pioneerland and is operated by Neal Budahn. It has three divisions of youth from 11 – 18 years old.

calvin hollisCONGRATULATIONS… for the accomplishment of Pioneer
Calvin Hollis and his Gospel music singing musicians for receiving the Gospel Music Artists Association’s award for “Trio of the Year” taking place in Dallas, Texas. Calvin and his church group can be seen traveling the interstate highway between Oklahoma and Texas in their beautiful MCI Entertainer Coach. While Calvin isn’t singing, he preaches every Sunday, is a cattle auctioneer during the week, and in his spare time is a square dance caller! Yes, Pioneer Calvin is a very talented man.

helpOn Wednesday and Saturday evenings, we need help at various positions for operating our bingo games. Come at 5:00 pm and we are usually finished by 9:30 pm. It is a great fundraiser for the corps and you get to meet some awesome people. If you would be willing to help, please call the Pioneer Office at 414-327-2847. We will be glad to hear from you!


A new shipment of our nice warm hoodies has arrived with sizes small to 5X!!! Small to XL = $30.00. 2X – 5X = $50.00 plus postage. Our email address is: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Yes, this helps our corps a lot! Keep thinking about us as you have the opportunity to both purchase some great products as well as at the same time you will benefit your … Pioneer Corps!

 july gathering header

Our next Gathering of the Clan
Will be with the Racine Kilties Alumni Corps
at Pioneerland outdoors on
July 29-30-31

july gathering schedule

Thank you Lord for the togetherness and friendship we share. For the hard working members of the Corps, and for the Corps itself. Instill in us the true spirit of competition taking the pain of losing with the joy of winning, and all with a smile. Remind us Lord that by doing the best we can at all times, We will have a winning Corps


In celebration of St. Patrick’s Day, all members/alumni of the Pioneer, Pioneer II, The Thing, Imperials of St. Patrick, and the Thunderbolts are invited to a ♣FREE LUNCHEON♣ that will begin at 1:00 pm.

Sunday, March 13th, 2022
United Senior Center
4515 W. Forest Home Ave.
Milwaukee, WI 53219

Naturally, an Irish feast of corned beef & cabbage, as well as other choices, will be served by Irene’s Catering.

Mr. Tim Osterbeck (# 1145) will have an audio-visual display of various performances throughout the corps’ past 60 years projected on a huge wall.

Roman & Sue will have a display of artifacts from the various seasons that will include pictures, uniforms, and memorabilia items of your years. RB will wear his traditional Irish Kilt and have his collection of bugles from the beginning of drum corps in the 1920’s through the present.

This homecoming will be a time to meet old friends and to hear about Pioneer’s new venture into the world of WGI WINDS, DRUM LINES, and possibly COLOR GUARD.

Be Nice….Place this announcement on your Facebook posts to let as many know as possible. Call or email (414-327-2847) or (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) that you are coming so that we have plenty of great food and drink available for everyone!

 Better Every Day! 15 Alumni gathered at RB’s house this past Sunday, Feb. 6th, to create their “St. Patrick’s Day gathering” as well as another this summer… It was an awesome afternoon meeting with a lot of positive sharing.

Roman Blenski III (#701)
Roman Blenski II
Susan Blenski
Murray Davis
Barbara Mommaerts (#115) 
 Lana Leskovek (#129)
Jesse Reyes (#666)
Dan “Currier”Schermeister (#248)
Larry Medrano (#467)
Tim Osterbeck (#1145)
Karl Mueller (#1003)
Kurt Mueller (#1004)
John Schoenknecht (#444)
Friedel Cramer (#1054)
Diana Kupinski (#214)

20220206 1604481  20220206 162131

20220206 162204  20220206 161924



A meeting of the Pioneer Alumni will take place at the home of Roman Blenski at 2:00 pm. The goal for the meeting is to discuss the St. Patrick’s Day Clan Gathering and to create some ideas for a summer/fall date to get-together at Pioneerland.

Everyone is welcome!

4601 W. Holt Avenue  (Corner House)
414-327-2847 (Office)
414-333-2235 (Cell)


The Sound of Music once again filled the Pioneer’s indoor hall (all purpose garage), as the Kilties alumni corps used it for a two day rehearsal. They had about 40 horns and featured 10 snare drummers. It was really a treat to the ears of us corps people to once again hear the awesome sounds of a drum corps boldly playing as the doors were opened and the garage served as the stage. The Kilties’ players came from all over the Midwest.  Pioneer bought pizzas for the corps.

nft kilties 02Past Pioneer staff members were still playing, including Tom (percussion), and Jim Mertins (brass) Jim’s son, Eric Mertins, Pioneer Alumnus (#1028) also played mellophone. He is and was a highly talented corps member.

nft kilties 03Pioneer former instructor and Corps Manager, Dale Riebesel (1988 ’89) led the Kilties as drum major. He showed his firm style and excellent direction of the many Kilties’ favorite tunes of past years.

nft kilties 04Some past memories also flourished of Ken Norman, arranger and Composer who recently passed away. He was an icon in the drum corps activity for the past 60 years. He worked with almost every corps in the Midwest including Pioneer as a member of the teaching staff as well as music writer for several of our shows. However, first and foremost, his heart was always as a Kiltie.


Field conditions at Pioneerland are excellent with two seasons not marched on. The grass is thicker and many of the past bare spots are no longer because they were filled with top soil especially between the 40 yard lines.

“Mad Dog Training” continues to rent Pioneerland. They train various breeds of dogs for Police Departments and security duties.

Our new (Green) John Deer rider lawnmower, manned by Murray Davis, keeps our rehearsal fields well-trimmed. As shown, it can also be used as a snow plow in the winter. It has a lot of power and fun to drive.


The fleet has officially activated Bus 69. Upgrades include new glass windows (Thank you RBJ!), rear tire repaired, seats were all professionally steam cleaned by Milwaukee’s Adelman Cleaners, and the vehicle passed its yearly DOT inspection.

Renting spaces at Pioneerland is KBE Excursions Bus Company. The newer looking coaches are huge and almost new. The are 58 passenger buses look awesome!

Our first charter run since New Orleans will be for former Pioneer Drum Major, Jackie Bilder (“1787”). Her bar will provide a bus to Wrigley Field in Chicago for a rock concert on Saturday, September 18th.

nft bingo 01BINGO UPDATE

Our Bingo Games raisers continue to do well even under the Covid restrictions of only 125 people. We run Bingo every Wednesday and Saturday evenings. It is building a nice financial account to help build up our new Winds group, as well as the maintaining of Pioneerland’s many items.

We need floor workers and personnel to handle ticket sales. We ask if you would be able to help us occasionally like for one night? Your nice call to our Office 414-327-2847 would very much be appreciated. The Bingo Hall is located at 4515 W. Forest Home Avenue in Milwaukee.

Inft crossN MEMORY

We heard about the passing of Bob Cramer (#299) who played in the Bass Drum section. He lived in Cedarburg, Wisconsin at the time, and was in the corps with his sister, Betty (#290).

nft uniformsDONATION

We donated some extra uniforms from our Pioneer’s history to the Drum Corps Memorabilia Museum located in Upper Darby, Pennsylvania. Roman and Sue Blenski were in that area for the Drum Corps World Hall of Fame meeting (where Roman is a member) and dropped off items for their preservation in the museum. Things from the D.C.M. and DCI II/III era were also donated. It is amazing about the museum’s collection assembled by Mr. Bill Ives, the museum’s curator. It is very orderly and easy to view with Bill’s good documentation. Besides the adjacent, we will post number of photos that Roman and Sue took at the museum at the bottom of this article.


Pioneer is known for this motto, but we're not the only group that has used it. It is interesting to note that the Kansas City Chiefs, N.F.L. football team used that moniker for the season. I am sure that each one of our Pioneer Family smiles when they hear the expression and brings back many memories to their minds of their corps seasons.


Pioneerland will be the scene for Racine Kilties Alumni Corps’ rehearsal this Friday, July 30th, and Saturday, July 31st. These rehearsals will begin each morning at 9:00am. You are welcome to come and visit, or bring your horn and play along!


Our Wednesday evening bingo at the United Senior’s Center, (4515 W. Forest Home), is doing very well. The sessions begin at 6:30 pm. We also now sell 7 different kinds of pull-tabs. Come on down and have some fun. Volunteers are always needed and appreciated!


Pioneer’s marching percussion instruments have recently been cleaned up and tuned. They will be used this weekend by the Kilties, and ready for our upcoming Pioneer Winds group.

In recent weeks, there has been several uprisings in South Africa. We have been in contact with several of our SA members and all have informed us that they are safe and that hopefully things will calm down. Many former SA Pioneers still hang together via Facebook. Mumsy McHunu, one of the greatest and most dedicated SA Pioneer members has been in contact with me (Murray) and with all of her connections has let me know and wants to assure you that they are safe.

Winds groups do not have any specific instrumentation. In fact, there are purposely less regulations and restrictions against winds groups, at least in regard to instrumentation. These less stringent rules exist in order to encourage experimentation. One winds group could be entirely made up of brass, another only of woodwind instruments, and yet another a mixture of both woodwinds and brass. Winds groups also often incorporate percussion elements and guard elements into their performances, resulting in a unique mix of electric synergy.

Aside from the freedom of instrumentation, winds groups also must take a unique concert band approach to their rehearsals and performances, diverting from the traditional marching band approach. In a concert band approach, the focus is on producing a more precise and controlled sound. In contrast, in a marching band approach, the focus is on producing a full and exaggerated sound. The reason for this difference is simple. In fact, as Wayne Downey stated, “It’s right in the name. Indoor.” Marching bands practice and perform almost exclusively outside, thus their sound must be able to carry into the audience, despite their expansive surroundings. Winds groups practice and perform almost exclusively indoors, thus their sound has a smaller distance to travel, resulting in less of a need to project. (Text courtesy of WGI)

Amazon Smile LogoAMAZON SMILE
Thanks to your efforts, another donation to the Pioneer Corps has been given to us from the Amazon People….. It is so easy to use! For every purchase you make from a percentage is donated to help us. If you have not already, just type in the above address and designate Pioneer!




valentines day

This is a time to say THANK YOU! To our close friends and people who have done a lot for you, our Pioneer Family. We have a very long list of people who have and continue to support the Corps: their time, their money, and have offered good words about Pioneer to others. All this makes the Pioneer Corps enter its 60th season. HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY to EVERYONE!

mardi grasIt is a year ago today that we were issuing Pioneer instruments and preparing bus #69 for the trip to New Orleans to Mardi Gras. Scott Stewart organized the Madison Scouts Alumni Corps for the trip, and what a wonderful experience it was! To those who participated it was truly an experience of a lifetime……and then the pandemic hit…

aheadAt this time there is no news that is certain activity for the Corps activity. When we do start again, things will be different. We will travel less, rehearsal schedules will be changed, housing will be more difficult to obtain, and more attention will be given to health, welfare, and safety for everyone, I predict that there will be many new faces involved, as many of those from the past have moved on and found new interests and life in general has changed for them. So if we like it or not, the Drum Corps activity, as you have known it, will become very different. Changing times = new and different ways of doing things. While we are anxious to start recruiting and rehearing for the Pioneer’s WGI entries, we still we are still avidly watching the legal and health restrictions for large group gatherings. So let’s be patient, keep in touch with each other, and every day make the special effort of being, “Better Every Day!”


Right now our Pioneerland is very cold and quiet. Everything is packed inside or around our building. Batteries for all the vehicles are kept charged, and all of the snow is being plowed.


BINGO on Saturday evenings continues to do well. We have been always hit or come close to the government’s limit of 125 players. Still it does not give us much profit, but pays the bills for insurance, electricity, telephone, snow plowing, and office expenses. So when we begin again, we will start off with no debt, and a few dollars to get our Corps going once more. We are very thankful…..We are at this time more fortunate than many others.

To the left you see our new Progressive Board for our Pioneer Bingo. It was designed and made by “Fast Signs”, a new company in our area. They are replacing AAA Signs who have lettered our buses, drum heads, and other items for the past 40 years and who have gone out of business….sad to say the casualty of the virus. The board lists the prize money for the night and the number of calls that are needed to win the Progressive.

On Wednesday, March, March 3rd, will no longer have Bingo at the St. Francis Lion’s Club because they continue to be shut down, but rather restart our Wednesday Bingo sessions at the United Seniors of Wisconsin’s Bingo Hall. This move will be a positive opportunity to once again do well and give us a great opportunity to build up our treasury to when we once begin our rehearsals again. We are fortunate that we are the only organization in Milwaukee to have Bingo on Wednesday evenings. To help make all this happen, we are in need of 2 helpers on Wednesday Evenings. PLEASE consider helping us on Wednesday nights. If so, call us or email us at the numbers listed below:
414-327-2847…This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

mpsThe Milwaukee Public School system partnership grant funding to provide youth with positive, engaging opportunities in a safe environment during evenings and weekends during the school year. Pioneer has applied for instruction in brass, percussion, visual, and flag skills for rehearsals that will take place on Tuesday evenings and Sunday afternoons. We expect a large number of beginners, however we will be prepared to enhance the abilities of those experienced with some, as well as, advanced musical skills. This will be our first try for the grant. We give a huge Thank You! To Kathy Andrea (#112) Pioneer Alumnus, former Drum Major, and now the head of a huge accounting firm, for taking the lead of applying for the grant.


We sent a donation to help sponsor an indoor solo/ensemble contest by the Warriors Corps from Jamaica, New York. All Corps are doing today what they can to keep their memberships intact. In appreciation of our donation they sent us this patch that they gave to all of the participants.


Those who were in our predecessor Corps, “The Imperials of St. Patrick” in the early 1960’s should remember Sister Mary Benno. It was she who contacted Roman Blenski to teach brass for the Corps at St. Patrick’s Parish. While she passed away years ago, a former student, Greg Forciea (#453) sent us a very nice photo of her from after she retired (then, Joan (Mueller) Nugent. Greg recalled her patience and time spent instructing him to help be in the St. Pat’s Cadets. It was really “Class” on his part to say Thank You in writing after so many years.


T-shirts, Hoodies, DVD’s, etc., are available by calling or emailing: (414-327-2847…This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) the Corps Office. While we do not have One Day Amazon Delivery Service), we can get them to you.


Linda passed away unexpectedly this past January 31st. She was a member of the Corps during the early years in the Color Guard (Imperials of St. Patrick”. Records show that in 1965 she had perfect attendance and won the award for Best Flag. She will be remembered for her primness and attention to detail. She was having Cancer challenges that lead her to her eternal home. There will be a Celebration of Life held this summer.

michigans own

The Corps activity has lost a lifetime promoter, director, and fan, Mr. Robert Waskoviak. He was in a coma the last month of his life. He was at the Covenant Healthcare Center in Saginaw, MI. where he passed away on December 30th, 2020.

Bob was the founder of the Saginaires Corps and devoted his entire life to the organization. As time went on, the corps’ name was changed to Northern Aurora, and sponsored a very successful winter drumline called the “North Coast Academy.”

Being fully dedicated, part of his role as corps director also included being Bingo Chairman, Transportation Director, as well as anything else that was needed.

Bob was a relentless promoter and inspired many people to be a part of his corps, many of whom were from the State of Michigan including Bill Faulds, Andrea Birbilis, Dan Mihacko, Mark Elsworth, Joe Kuerzi, Richard Jensen, Steve Yoder, and Rick Roberts. He even invited Pepi Nataro from the East coast to be part of his creative staff. Please accept my apologies if I have neglected to recall everyone, especially those who went on to teach many other corps in Michigan.

Robert Waskoviak was born in 1930 in the city of Saginaw, MI. He attended the Arthur Hill High School and went on to obtain a degree in agriculture from Michigan State University. While working for the Saginaw Chamber of Commerce in 1965, he organized and started the Saginaires as well as a feeder unit called the Eagles. He was a member of the Kiwanis Club and served as President of the Great Lakes Circuit. Along with John Angello, they serviced corps in Michigan, Ohio, and Indiana.

In 1978 with the founding of Drum Corps Midwest (DCM), Bob was elected to and served as Treasurer every year after until the end of 2005. His skill of providing costs for proposed ideas, and insistence on fair and immediate distribution of earnings earned him both the confidence and appreciation from every corps. Bob, in 25 years, never missed a meeting and frequently was the calming voice in the meeting room, as emotions were often displayed. It has been said that the strength of DCM’s finances was due to Bob Waskoviak’s skills and untiring efforts in order to keep things fair and equitable in a competitive activity.

Mr. Waskoviak’s wife, Linda, and his sons would like to extend a special thank-you to their nephew, Doug Stearns and all of the wonderful doctors and nurses at the Covenant Healthcare Center for giving Bob the absolute best care at all times.

In keeping with Bob’s wishes, he was cremated. A celebration of his life is being scheduled for a time this coming summer of 2021.

So many youth and adults alike were given experiences that they would never have had because of Robert. “Well done thou good and faithful servant!”….RB

amazon smileBy shopping at, you can purchase everything that is contained in the regular The difference is that a portion of your payment to Amazon is donated back to the Pioneer Corps. Just type in the address, follow the prompts, choose Pioneer as the recipient of the donation, and then continue shopping like you normally would. You get good bargains, excellent service, and help our young members with our musical participation at the same time! Pioneer would like to thank the many who are now making use of this program. We recently received a nice check for your responses!


If you cannot lift the load off of another’s back, do not walk away, but rather lighten it.”…. Frank Tyger

Better Every Day!



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corps 2


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!

 bingo 1

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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.

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