News From the Top

Pioneerland has soccer being played on it, buses are traveling, and Bingo is running. Now we are beginning to build up our membership base with recruitment…. parades….exhibitions, as well as some great experiences…. We now have, “PIONEER PERFORMANCE CORPS".




We are seeking members who would like to enjoy an exciting summer. The events will take place only on weekends for Rehearsals, Festival Event Performances, and Unique Socials. Our goal is to develop a solid corps of individuals in preparation for our entry into WGI’s World of Indoor Competition: Drumline, Color Guard, and Winds (an indoor mini-corps) .

Musical and Dance experience of any kind are helpful, but we are willing to help you develop your performance skills to a very high level. Beginners are even welcome!

All of the rehearsals are held at either Pioneerland (our outdoor rehearsal complex), or at the high school that is in Milwaukee. If needed, overnight housing is available.

The tuition is very reasonable! It includes: All Instruction, Uniforms, Instruments, Transportation, and Entry Fees into Contests and Social events.

This summer’s schedule allows for members to attend summer school obligations, having a weekday job, as well as a family vacation. Members can return home in the evenings. Again, for those coming from a distance, there are some housing options available.

For more information, please contact:
The Pioneer Corps Office: 414-327-2847 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
The Corps Director: Mr. Bobby Bonslater: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Plans are underway to affiliate ourselves with a school/church in the greater Milwaukee area that can provide us with indoor rehearsal facilities and a recruitment base for new Pioneer members…..Do you have an idea or connection?... If so, please contact us! More news concerning this is coming soon!!!

Mr. Bobby Bonslater will organize rehearsals and some parades in June, using his students and new members as mainly a drumline and color guard. Our goal would be to begin brass participation with the first week of July’s week long rehearsals and performances. Bobby will also assemble the teaching staff and coordinate rehearsals. Of course, a lot of flexibility will be needed as our efforts will dictate the schedule. Anyone interested in performing with the mini corps or being an instructor for the summer youth initiatives should contact Bobby at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


bobby 1bobby 2bobby 3

Mr. Bobby Bonslater is an educator, designer, and performer within marching arts. He’s had the honor and privilege of performing on the field and floor with Racine Scouts, Americanos, East Coast Jazz, Madison Scouts, Americanos Indoor, Pioneer Indoor, Kilties, Chops, Govenaires and the Chicago Bears Drumline. Bobby has earned an abundance or awards and recognitions in the marching arts that includes the 2007,2008 WGI Percussion Independent A Champion, 2014,2015 WGI Percussion Independent Open Class Silver Medalist, 2006-2019 WGI Percussion Regional Finalist, 2004 DCI Midwest Division III Champion, 2005 DCI Division II/III Grand Champion, 2006 DCI Division II Silver Medalist, 2009,2011,2015 DCA Class A Champion, 2012-2014, DCA Class A Silver Medalist, 2011-2014 DCA Individual Trumpet Champion, 2014-2017 Mellophone Individual Champion.

Bobby resides in Chicago as a performing arts instructor for Orion’s University. Through Orion’s University, Bobby is able to spread the art and discipline of pageantry arts to Pre-K through 8th grade aged youth in Chicago. He offers a specialized in-school music academy to south side elementary schools to expose young students to instrumental, choral and general music to better prepare them to be productive members of high school music programs. After school, many of his students participate in drill team, percussion ensemble and competitive color guard programs that are rarely offered to inner-city youth.

In addition to Bobby’s new role with Pioneer, he is currently the Program Coordinator and Brass Arranger for the Govenaires Drum and Bugle Corps, Director of Avant Garde Indoor Percussion Ensemble, Percussion Coordinator for Maine West High School, and Music and Visual designer for Phoenix Drumline and Eagan Drumline.

Bobby looks forward to being active in the rebrand and rebirth of the Pioneer. He has immediate goals to incorporate and form strong extracurricular summer/winter programs and in-school academies to serve as a core to the return of the historic field corps. Through hard work and determination, Bobby hopes to create an organization that is affordable, memorable and effective to youth and adults of all skill level in Southern Wisconsin and Northern Illinois.

Wish List is:


MAY 26

Rehearsal / Uniform Fitting



MAY 27


Waconda, Illinois




Harvard, Illinois



Canoe Day!




West Chicago, Illinois




Three Oaks, Michigan




Libertyville, Illinois



Off Day

Off Day




Lake Mills, Wisconsin




Waukegan, Illinois



Parade / Rehearsal

West Allis, Wisconsin



Parade/  Rehearsal

Menominee Falls, Wisconsin




Cedarburg, Wisconsin…

or Oak Creek, Wisconsin




Cudahy, Wisconsin




Shorewood, Wisconsin








Dingree Grove, Illinois



Parade and Travel

East Troy, Wisconsin



Cultural Day

Mackinaw Island



Off Day

Off Day



Off Day

Off Day



Parade and Alumni Day

South Milwaukee, Wisconsin



Rehearsal & Gathering of the Clan



AUG. 3


St. Peter, Minnesota


AUG. 4

Parade / Exhibition

Le Suer, Minnesota


AUG. 10

Mini Corps Competition

Indianapolis, Indiana


AUG. 18




AUG. 29

Travel to Williamsport, Pennsylvania

Williamsport, Pennsylvania


AUG. 30

Mini Corps Competition & Solo/Ens.

Williamsport, Pennsylvania


AUG. 31

DCA Prelims

Williamsport, Pennsylvania



Cultural Day

Niagara Falls, New York


SEPT. 28

Corps Banquet

Milwaukee, Wisconsin


Our goal is to assemble 40 to 50 students in preparation to compete and travel to WGI and MCCC Contests in the drum, color guard, and mini-Corps circuit “Winds” from January 2020 to April!

While alumni/age-outs/and former members can perform with the group at any time in the parades, exhibitions, or mini-corps (also known as winds / Sound Sports), These 3 events have been chosen particularly because of dates, locations, and festive opportunities to enjoy besides drum corps, and to participate for a more mature individual.

On Saturday, July 27,you are welcome to participate in the South Milwaukee Heritage Parade, the most popular parade in the Milwaukee area, formerly known as the Spectacle of Music going back to the early 1950’s. That evening you can camp out at Pioneerland and socialize at the “Gathering of the Clans” all night and the next day!

On Thursday November 28th, you are also welcome to participate in Chicago’s “Nationally Televised” Thanksgiving Parade. There will be a huge crowd and an excellent opportunity for the Pioneer Performance Corps and alumni to shine on a huge stage right here in the Midwest…Being a major festival at the same time and location makes it an additional event for the alumni and members in a tentative holiday social at Pioneerland.

On Sunday, March 10th, 2020 our annual Chicago’s Side Irish Parade will take place. The 2019 parade turned out to once again be successful. For 2020, let’s add on the evening before, a Concert Night. That will give us a chance to gather, socialize, and play some great past arrangements of many of your old favorites. Combined with the pioneer Performance Corps and Friends of Pioneer, this could be the “Premier” Alumni Event for years to come.

The answer is Yes…In design it will still serve young people and adults alike. With the focus being the 2020 WGI Winter Season, the possibility of returning to DCI’s Summer Tour on is still fresh on our minds but not a top priority. Priority shall be given to recruiting a local membership base in Southern Wisconsin/ Northern Illinois, developing and implementing a Health and Wellness plan as well as a diverse educational plan. However, much depends on the needs and demands of our prospective membership. This new approach will be similar, but less travel, less cost, and a shorter time commitment in the summer. However, by adding a year-around rehearsal/training programs, this gives us new light and direction from our previous 58 years. It’s worth a try!


Q: Will we charge dues?
A: Yes. The exact fee has not yet been set, but it will be minimal.

Q: Will the name be changed?
A: No! It will still be the Pioneer Drum & Bugle Corps and Color Guard, Inc., but its winter divisions will be: Pioneer Percussion, Pioneer Color Guard, and Pioneer Winds. Pioneer has plans to sponsor and coordinate affiliate ensembles that may/may not carry the Pioneer name.

Q: Will all rehearsals take place in Milwaukee?
A: No. The Indoor Percussion Ensemble will rehearse primarily in the Chicago area. The Winds and Color Guard ensembles will be Milwaukee based as of now until we have a better idea of where our membership and staff will be located.

Q: Will the Pioneer Guard be mixed (men and women)?
A: Yes. That has worked well for us the past 3 years.

Q: What will the music be that we play?
A: For parades we will play Garry Owen (Theme Song) and Stars & Stripes. The music for exhibitions and the winter ensembles will be decided by the staff. While it will be ideal to program Irish music in our repertoire, we do want to design programs that on par to what’s mainstream in current Pageantry Arts. This may mean a conceptual design that doesn’t include a dominant Irish identity. But no worries, you’ll always hear a strain here and there to keep your Irish Eyes Smiling.

Q: Will each member get a number?
A: Of course. The next numbers will start with 2740

At the recent WGI’s Percussion and Winds weekend contest in Dayton, Ohio, we saw our past Program Coordinator and Drill Writer Mr. Dave Campbell, as well as our Percussion Caption Head, Mr. Josh Logan. Their Independent A Winter Indoor Group, NOMAD, made WGI’s Finals!

Mr. Bonslater’s percussion line, Phoenix Drumline of Hutchinson, MN made Semi-Finals for the very first time as a nationally competitive ensemble.

Mr. Charles Mierecke was in Dayton, Ohio for 3 days viewing drum lines and winds groups. Living and working in Chicago, he will be a huge help with our winter ensembles.

Many of Pioneer’s 2018 members were at the WGI Championships in Dayton, Ohio. Several of them took pictures with RB . It was surely a great feeling seeing these Better Every Day extraordinary human beings once again! If some of you could, would you share copies of those selfies with us?


To former Mellophone, Drum Major, and Mentor, Jackie Bilder # 1787 who presented us with beautiful flowers and a plaque at the post Chicago Southside Irish Parade party held at her restaurant, “Natural Law”. We were very surprised and appreciative!
The plaque read:

Presented to
Roman & Sue Blenski
In appreciation of 58 years
of dedicated service to the
Pioneer Drum & Bugle Corps &
Color Guard
Organization with gratitude.

Pioneers: Past, Present, & Future
St. Patrick’s Day
March 17th, 2019

Thank you and “Better Every Day”
Roman & Sue Blenski

Many of Pioneer’s 2018 members were at the WGI Championships in Dayton, Ohio. Several of them took pictures with RB . It was surely a great feeling seeing these Better Every Day extraordinary human beings once again! If some of you could, would you share copies of those selfies with us?

After solving the “jacket fire” crisis….we now have a new challenge. Davis Reed, our videographer cannot put the 2018 tour video together….We have the footage, but we need someone with the skills and corps knowledge to put it together. Does anyone have ideas???

The bass drum heads that had the dragon logo printed on them are still available. We have all 5 sizes, some new, and some are used! They would make a great decoration for your bedroom wall or dorm room!!! It would remind you of your hard work and dedication. $25.00 donation to Pioneer plus shipping.

This is our principal fund-raiser that is held every Wednesday and Saturday evenings, both beginning at 6:30 pm. This past Saturday, one of our customers who won the Progressive Jackpot, went home with a $4,375.00 payout! Could you use some extra cash? Come to play or come to help and meet Murray, Sue, Roman, Charity, Kris, and several other Pioneer volunteers.

PIONEER VIDEOS from 1989/90. 91, 92, and 93 are now available in both CD and VHS. Thanks to the efforts of Mr. Ed Panko # 1005 Soprano, they were professionally made from the originals. Some are prelims, finals, and tour videos. By sending us a donation of $20.00, we will rush a copy to you so that you can relive the “Good Old Days)!

Mr. Patrick Krenz, the 44 year old son of Pioneer volunteers Joe and Bonny Krenz, suddenly passed away of a heart attack while getting a medical prescription at a Milwaukee Target store’s pharmacy. While Patrick never marched in the Corps, he often was with his parents when they helped. Patrick was a food service person with Marquette University. Bonny Krenz was a Pioneer cook for several of our summer tours. Joe Krenz helped out in several areas, especially with our bingo fundraiser. He was also the last Director of the Midwest Legends Senior Corps who rehearsed at Pioneerland. Prayer for Patrick’s family would be much appreciated. Flowers were sent by Pioneer for his funeral. Roman and Sue attended the service and a special Mass in Patrick’s honor held at St. Patrick’s Parish on S. 7th and W. Washington St. in Milwaukee. (The original home of our Corps.)

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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!

A one of a kind patch symbolizing your participation in the 2018 Chicago Irish Parade will be sent to you shortly. Do we have your current address??? Please send us an email of it. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. also, keep in shape! Could we see you at the South Milwaukee parade or the thanksgiving parade at Downtown Chicago?

The Corps is officially sponsoring a team in the Wilson Premier Youth Baseball League. Like Pioneerland, they have a couple of acres about a mile away with grounds to serve the baseball youth. Their leaders are members of Milwaukee’s Southside Business Association. The playing grounds are meticulously maintained. It is a good partnership in the making!

A beautiful white blanket embroidered with “St. Joe Soccer 2011” with the name Katelynn Katie was found at Pioneerland. It is too beautiful to give to the Good Will as it may have significant memories for someone. Can anyone help us with contacting her Phone, email address???

Megan Justus, former Pioneer Pit Performer, also needs to call the Office (414) 327-2847, as her Pioneer Jacket has been turned in. Can anyone help with contacting her? Might you have her phone number or email address???

As we retool our direction, former members who are willing to help teach, manage, perform with our mini-corps or be involved in some way….We would like to hear from you. Your musical experience and Pioneer values would be a great help in keeping Pioneer alive serving youth…Please call or email us. We will enjoy speaking with you.


Mr. Garry Owen

I am still feeling all of these at the same time at and from our Chicago St. Patrick’s Day Parade. The Corps’ day ran as smoothly as a mid-tour contest day. Clockwork, Schedule Awareness and the high spirited 50 plus people clearly exhibited the purpose of being, “Better Every Day!” If you missed this, I feel sorry for you. It could be said that it was an experience of a lifetime!

We started the day in sunny weather and left early after a breakfast of “Green Doughnuts” and “Orange” Sunny Delight. The day wouldn’t be right without some challenges to be met. Challenge #1: The O’Hare Oasis is gone!!! It is torn down and most likely will be reconstructed. But a trailer marked, “Bathrooms”, helped to solve this most needed challenge! There were lots of cars at the mall parking lot and on schedule!

The rehearsal time was well spent. The 22 brass sounded awesome! They led by Dr. Cecil Austin and Randall Bennett. The percussion led by Andy Stawick #1711, Nick Fugh #2213, and Jen Tarka#1777 plus many other new recruits from Milwaukee’s Marshall High School did a remarkable job of coordination. The tempo was strong and everyone finished the parade (even the (ageless age-outs!) Our guard was small (5) but very talented. They were led by some dedicated vets including Jalissa Bishop #1815, Lisa Janasik #1881, and Ronald Raymond #2491. They put on a great show! The brass were the showpiece. There were 7 mellophones and some strong squealing lead trumpets that have “Garry Owen,” a bone-chilling ending.  Our Drum Major for the day was Jessie Marsala #2208. This former Pioneer drum major has not lost her touch! She looked military clean and kept the corps steady on the street. Josh Pier made our traditional diamond parade formation look precise which added to the solid sounds helped by our talented veterans.

After the parade, former Drum Major Jackie Bilder#1787 invited everyone to her bar/restaurant, Natural Law in Blue Island, Illinois for a get-together. She made broasted chicken and spiced potatoes, as well as home- made Green shakes for all. A big surprise was that Jackie had an Irish folk band who created mind-boggling volume of sound (Loud is Good!) Right  The party concluded with a presentation plaque to Roman, Sue, and Murray for all they do/have done for the corps, past, present, and future. Jackie also gave an unexpected huge, fragrant, bouquet of flowers to these unexpected and very appreciative people.

It was awesome and heartfelt to have members of the Pioneer Family come from long distances to once again be with their Pioneer brothers and sisters. Randall Bennett drove all night from Albany, NY. Amber Heidenreiter #2483 from NY, Lance Reisetter #2352 from Oklahoma, and Jessica Neises #2914 from Kansas. My apology if I have missed someone!

Please say an extra prayer for our famous cook extraordinaire, Daphne Allen. She was involved in a serious auto accident and will be going for surgery to repair her right arm’s rotator cuff.

During St. Patrick’s week, Pioneer sponsored all of the pizza for the monthly meeting of Chicago’s Olde-Time Corps Veterans. Besides, great fans of the pioneer Corps, occasional $$$ sponsors, and most importantly these drum corps vets are the keepers of the spirit of drum & bugle corps as a life commitment. Credit for this 276th consecutive Tuesday night get-together goes to Mr. Ami Menie and Fred Schroeter. Both of these gentlemen marched in the Chicago Royal Aires Drum and Bugle Corps. Fred goes back to the Austin Grenadiers and Skokie Indians, all Midwest Chicago area corps of the past!
The list of 17 ideas for Pioneer to do this summer and future will be paired down shortly as discussions for Pioneer Power will be made….

Thank you so much to many adults who came and helped the Corps look so good and perform flawlessly. The Uniform Fitters, Bus Drivers, and Equipment Distributers. While there was no cooking involved, the cooking helpers carried the banner and American Flag for the entire parade! Yes, Pioneer Pride is strong and deep….more to come!

Pioneer Corps Jackets are being mailed out this week! Finally we found a new source to continue our 58 year old traditional bright Kelly Green jackets. This was quite a challenge, but we persevered….and succeeded!

A patch is being designed for all those who performed in the Chicago St. Patrick’s Parade. Heck yes! It’s worth it. We looked great and under the circumstances we want to remember this for many years. Garry Owen says, “Great Job!”

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Garry Owen

parade pic

TEN DAYS LEFT…before the St. Patrick’s Day! We have 72 people so far and more are welcome!
FLYING IN?…We can help you with pick-ups at both O’Hare and Milwaukee airports. But you will need to call us (414) 333-2235.
UNIFORM FITTING… To repeat what has been said, “We are fitting uniforms on Saturday, March 16th at Pioneerland from 3:00 pm until 9:00 pm CDT. We also will be fitting uniforms at Pioneerland on Sunday Morning from 7:00 am until 8:30 am.
BRING WITH YOU… Black socks (we have extra), Black shoes (we have extra) mouthpieces, sticks & mallets, unitards.
REHEARSAL…We will rehearse on Saturday evening a bit as well as on Sunday morning. Of course DRESS WARMLY!
DRIVING?... If you are driving and want to follow the buses to Chicago on Sunday, that’s ok. We will stop at the usual closed mall before the parade and take you back to your cars after the parade. This will be a memorable day, performing together again, being with your Pioneer Family once more, and enjoying a great party afterwards! It should be an awesome time for everyone.
HELP NEEDED….We need some people to come and help fit uniforms, issue the brass and equipment, and other chores! Could some people who have loads of ”Corps Spirit” call the OFFICE: 414-327-2847 or MY CELL: 414-333-2235 and help volunteer Saturday and Sunday!
BINGO HELP ALSO!....On Saturday night, March 16th ,from 5:30-9:30 pm, we also need a few hands to replace those who are helping with uniforms. It takes place at the United Seniors Bingo Hall on 4515 W. Forest Home Avenue in Milwaukee.

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Amazon donates 0.5% of the price of your eligible AmazonSmile purchases to the charitable organization of your choice. AmazonSmile is the same Amazon you know. Same products, same prices, same service. Support your charitable organization by starting your shopping at:… Thank you all who have been shopping here and helping the corps at the same time! There’s no extra fee to use this service. You can get all of the same products that are listed in Amazon’s regular website. I’ll bet you can even get some great Easter Candy for your basket from them!

CORPS JACKETS….are being worked on! Some might be ready for you at the parade. Otherwise they will have them shipped to you. Your patience has been extraordinary and I cannot thank you enough!
WE ARE TALKING....with some individuals about being in charge of the Pioneer Corps, Winter Drumline, Color Guard, and MACBDA summer marching band circuit, DCA Solo/Ensemble Group, and even a parade/camp weekend that will end with a trip to Mackinaw Island??? Spread the word. Pioneer is alive and moving forward!
NOT FOR SALE….We are not selling our instruments/equipment. However, renting out some of them might be possible. Our buses continue to run, helping people who need it. Our land is available for soccer, football, marching bands, corps,or even just parking spaces.
racine scoutsRACINE SCOUTS…..has a winter percussion line that Pioneer buses # 69 & 75 have and are taking to St. Louis, MO, St. Paul, MN, and the WGI Regional in Bourbonnais IL. We are happy to be of help to them. We wish them well in their upcoming contests.

♣ The huge colorful Dragon Prop is on everyone’s top of the list.

♣  But we did purchase new Uniform Pants from Fred J. Miller Company. They are a bit narrower than the old ones. They are made of very durable material, easily washed, and they made everyone look slim and trim!

♣  Likewise, our new Jupiter Brass Instruments were especially appreciated. Our old set of Selmer (King) horns were in good condition and now being used in the marching band activities in Oklahoma and Alabama. Maypex (Jupiter) Brass is every bit as good as their percussion products.

♣  Another accomplishment was the asphalt road from our multipurpose building to the tower next to the 50 yard line. If you were a pit player, pushing the mallet instruments up to the rehearsal fields was almost effortless compared to the old stone road with ruts, standing water, etc. So there was no extra stress on the ankles and muscles this year!

♣  Also our Bus #75, a huge 55 passenger motor coach looked awesome and ran well until the Wausau Show when the air-conditioning unit went out. Never-the-less it was a great addition to the fleet.

♣  Cheers for another great Color Guard Costume made by the Fred J. Miller Company and skillfully designed by our own Ja’Malh Wallace along with Michael Cesario. They looked great and were vital to the entire show design.

♣  Yes we have memories of our Pioneer summer of 2018. Please accept a sincere thank you who were there and made it happen.

HELP!!! Does anyone have a recording of our, “GOOD MORNING” song? We would love to copy it for our slow-developing Tour Video.
OUR FUTURE…. I’ll bet that some of you might have some great ideas that can be added to the 17 concepts to move Pioneer forward with some wholesome and beneficial activities for youth and adults alike! So, let us know what you think or if you want to find out what the 17 proposals are that have already been given, call the OFFICE 414-327-2847. Murray and/or Roman would be glad share what others have suggested and especially desire getting ideas with you. Please, no mail, texts, or messages. This matter concerning our future is serious and speaking in person with you is much desired. Your input is valuable and appreciated by your Pioneer Family!!!

pioneer image

Garry Owen


We have 60 people so far…. and we need more to march in the annual Southside Chicago St. Patrick’s Day parade!  Persons interested in participating in the parade can complete the Parade Application by clicking on the button below:

Parade Application

We will either march, or potentially sit on a trailer (more info to follow). The music for the parade, GARRY OWEN and STARS & STRIPES is online:

Here is the public communication from DCI dated January 10th, 2019

“After thoughtful deliberation this afternoon, the voting membership of Drum Corps International revoked the membership of Pioneer Drum & Bugle Corps. As a result, the corps will no longer be permitted to participate in DCI.

In August of 2018, Pioneer received disciplinary action for policy violations, resulting in suspension from all DCI activities. Today’s action by the voting membership reflects the commitment of Drum Corps International to maintain the standards of excellence for all participating organizations.

Should Pioneer make operational and administrative improvements that meet DCI standards, it will be eligible to re-apply for Open Class participation for the 2020 season.”

It was a dark day in the history of the DCI Drum and Bugle Corps Activity because they sacrificed one of their own……

Merry Christmas to Everyone!

From The Top

It is that time of the year to wish everyone you know a joyous, pleasant, and hearty “Thank You” for being part of your life’s experiences this past year. Pioneer Corps also has a large list that is too numerous to mention everyone, but I would like to give a special mention to Bill Strube, Ron Ruggles, Tim Osterbeck, Lisa Savage, Dr. Cecil Austin, Murray Davis, and Roman Blenski for their efforts in dealing with Drum Corps International. While no additional information has yet been determined, it will be coming at the DCI Annual Convention in January in Indianapolis, IN. No doubt that this has become a gut-wrenching experience these past 4 months…... But rest assured that Pioneer will continue to serve youth many more years in addition to the previous 58. This holiday season, everyone should demonstrate “Class” and don’t forget to be, “Better Every Day”!

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Yes, Amazon Smile gives the Corps .05% of eligible purchases you make in the form of a monthly check to the Pioneer. It is a foundation by Amazon to benefit not-profits like the Pioneer. There is no fee to use this service. As we are getting closer to the holidays and lots of shopping to be done, please use it. It will benefit you as well as the Pioneer. Here is a link:

alumni meeting

The Pioneer’s Alumni Meeting was a success. In attendance, 52 extraordinary people made up of marching members and staff made the trip to Pioneerland and met in our all-purpose building. There were Pioneer Family Members from every decade of the corps’ 57 year history, mainly from the 1960’s, and ‘70’s. Those from the 60’s & ‘70’s won the attendance prize. Our new Corps Director, Bill Strube #284, spoke eloquently and distinctively like a school principal (that he was). He was conveying all of the details concerning the DCI suspension. Tim Osterbeck #1145 handle the role of alumni chairman for answering the many questions and concerns of those who attended. Roman Blenski covered information about last season’s (2018) happenings. He also discussed the financial income and expenditures. Josh Pier, our staff coordinator also talked about the rehearsal and touring matters. So check the meeting report for more details.

In attendance were some nice surprises: The Ruggles family, our first out of the area members of the 1990’s, Attorney Jennifer Collins, Pioneer trumpet player in the 1990’s, “Nebraska” Elizabeth Regier #2295 front ensemble 2013,’14,’16 season as section leader. She works at Marquette University as a researcher. Also Amanda Burton # 1605, 2002-2005 trumpet player, our current visual staff person as well as being recently married! Two of our oldest Pioneer members present were Barbara (Foloran) Szymanski #190 and Bill Nylund #159

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alumni meeting
An open discussion will be held about this past season, our current status with DCI, and future options. If you have questions, input, ideas, want to be informed, and/or would like to be volunteer, this will be a great time to do so.

There will be some great German bratwurst and Coke a Cola available for you beginning at noon. Also a delayed order of Pioneer Hoodies have arrived in all sizes that can be purchased for $30.00. This will be an excellent opportunity to meet old friends (not that they are old!)

If you cannot make it, but still have some particular questions, email them either to our Corps’ Office: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or to our Alumni Leader and Webmaster, Mr. Tim Osterbeck: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. He also donates his time and talents to be in charge of our website.

celtic dragon
The Muskegon, Michigan High School’s Marching Band has purchased our dragon. Chris, the bus driver, and Roman delivered all of the parts last Saturday. Memories of loading, unloading and assembling by the pioneer members who did it will be featured in our tour video. Thank you, Dave Campbell, Josh Pier, and JaMalh’ Wallace for you guys making it happen!
dragon drum head
Drum heads that is!
If you would like a souvenir ”Dragon” bass drum head there is a limited quantity available for $25.00 + shipping. Just email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call the Office at 414-327-2847. These heads will bring back great memories for many years to come.
onyx revised
The premier winter guard, ONYX, will be featuring a lot of Pioneer talent.This all-age main unit includes our Caption Head, JaMalh’ Wallace, Kelsey Arnony#2166, and the Staff Member of the Year, Jamison Washington who are all performing.
60 days
It has been exactly 60 days since the end of our 2017 season. The Seventeen (17) members who are on the Payment Plan need to take care of business….Please contact Mr. Eric Haelman: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or the Office: 414-327-2847
tour video
The Pioneer 2018 Tour Video is a work in progress. If you have not received your patch or group photo, please call the Office: 414-327-2847 or Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Cheers to the 19 people who contributed a grand total of $2,524.00 to our electronics fund drive. Headed by Pioneer Sound Engineer, Rob McCowan # 2426, this enabled us to purchase more equipment for the fast-growing electronics area in the world of drum corps. Please note the large number of Alumni who answered Rob’s call to contribute:

Jane Paglia
KC Keele # 2613
Bryden Vitense #2359
Ryan Gilbert Johnson #1160
Kathryn Andrea #112
Chase Kapteyn # 2469
Dubravko Zaja # 1680
Cathlyn Clark #967
Leigh Kahre
Karen Elsby #571
John Humphrey
Michael Sevcik $1568
Jon Berg #1629
Malcom Liest #463
Jessica Neises #2514
John Schoenknecht #444
Michael Twigg #1146
Ripen Washlaski
Steve Koszewski #111


Under the direction of Pioneer Alumnus, Sam Karafotis, #1799, the Atoka High School won the Oklahoma State Championship last weekend. We thank Mr. Karafotis for housing our Corps this past summer while in the DCI World Class Tour. The stadium he had us rehearse on was exceptional! Congratulations Sam and the Atoka High School Band!

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Help is needs this coming weekend from 9:00 – 3:00 pm at Pioneerland to get ready for our Alumni/Booster meeting that will be held on Saturday, October 20th. Come on down! Every hand helps. And if you are in the mood you may also track to the stop sign!
Support has been incredible in the forms of email, letters, telephone calls, and even visits to our corps office, showing support for the Pioneer. We cannot thank you enough!
bikeLife is like riding a bicycle...

You need to keep pedaling to keep your balance!

-Albert Einstein

Better Every Day!
Garry Owen

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The group photos taken by Jolesch Photography are included on this page. Known for their great framing and color, they have been taking pictures of Pioneer for years. They can be ordered including your personal photo by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..  Check out their great offers for the group pictures with your personal action shot on the same frame. Thanks to Mr. Mark Jolesch & team for all of your kindness and efforts to enhance our corps!

These shamrock necklaces with your member numbers can be ordered from Ms Christina Ballengee # 2231 by visiting:

This meeting will take place at PIONEERLAND on OCTOBER 20th at 1:00 pm. The agenda will be our current direction, 2019 season, and most importantly, your questions and answers. For our version of Pioneer Octoberfest, you will be treated to authentic German Usinger Bratwursts and soda starting at Noon. Come and meet old friends and take part in looking at Pioneer’s future.

Once again we have lent our snare drums to Milwaukee’s Humbolt Park Middle School. The students are led and taught by Pioneer Alumnus Dennis Newman # 234.
Our Front Ensemble rack, a marimba, and our tenor drums are being used by Sussex Hamilton High School. They are being instructed by our Caption Head, Josh Pier and Roman Blenski III #701. The electronics are being set up by Alex Sylvester # 2429 and Rob McCowen #2426.

$$$ HELLO! $$$
Those members who are on the payment plan, and those who wanted extra time to finish paying their summer fees, Mr. Eric Haelman says that it’s time to pay NOW..36 days since the end of the season. Send all or part of it now!

Baritone player Jessie Reyes # 666, has contacted our office to be of help with our challenges. He lives in Franklin, Wisconsin and will be with us at our October 20th Alumni Meeting. He was a hard-working member of our corps in the 1960’s and early ‘70’s.

No I did not forget our Color Guard in the banquet reports. All 20 of them were superb this past summer. They were led by 6-year vet Ally Farrand #2300. The guard had a remarkable attendance record and was the strongest section next to our amazing cymbal line. Caption Head, JaMalh’ Wallace, Kelsey Arnony #2166, Lisa Janasik ##1881, and Jamison Washington presented the awards. It was especially noticed how well-dressed everyone was for the semi-formal occasion.

Alayna Bryant #2726 won the best flag award by the member vote, staff attitude and staff ability captions. This was Alayna’s first season.

Kodi Mink #2670, won the best rifle award by also taking the lead in voting by the members, staff ability, and staff attitude.

Grace McCoy #2675 was the best saber, winning the same 3 captions. There were so many talented people in the color guard area! Grace was also the 2nd runner up for Rookie of the Year.


Down a Bit,
“Better Every Day”

Garry Owen

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It is exciting to get together with 100 + extra-ordinary human beings this weekend. All of them are people like you who have the drive and strong desire to perform at a high level of excellence with their drum, horn, or auxiliary equipment!



____TOUR FEE BALANCE: Your balance is critical to the Corps” success. Every supply vendor we have wants to be paid C.O.D. and wants either cash or credit card. I you have not already, please do so this coming Friday night. (If you really want to use Pay-Pal, be sure to add the extra fee!)


____HOW MUCH CLOTHES, ETC.: Less is better as far as your personal items. The entire corps does their laundry and has a Wal-Mart stop about every 9-10 days.


____MEDICAL/PHYSICAL/INSURANCE: Make sure we have a copy of the filled Physical, Medical Consent forms and your medical insurance card.


____YOUR NAME SHIRT: Bring your Name Shirt from camp. There will be a lot of new people who would like to know you.


____TRANSPORTATION: Be sure to check ahead of time, the time that your mode of transportation to Milwaukee leaves giving you plenty of time to arrive at camp on time. If you are car-pooling with someone, be sure to do the right thing and help pay them for some gas or toll fees. So be prompt, if not early, arriving here.


____FINAL CHECK: Give it one more try with your friends and acquaintances whose plans might have changed and would like to march this summer.


____MEMORIZED MUSIC: Please be sure to have your parts for both GARRY OWEN and STARS & STRIPES memorized for our Monday Memorial Day Parade in Wauconda, IL. The parade begins at 10:00 am. If you can remember, bring your MARCHING SHOES along. Our new ones are on back-order.




CORPS HOUSING: For the first part of our Spring Training, the corps will be staying at the Wisconsin’s State Fair TOMMY THOMPSON YOUTH CENTER, a beautiful facility located in West Allis, a Milwaukee suburb. After that we will stay at the CUDAHY MIDDLE SCHOOL.


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AMAZON SMILE:  Please have both you and your parents, relatives, friends, etc. sign up for Then, for whatever purchases you/they make, a portion of the payment will be donated to your Pioneer Corps. It’s just another way of being Better Every Day for your Corps.


WE NEED: Volunteers to help us with some basic health/first-aid/and member’s welfare issues during our Spring Training and Summer Tour. If they can give a day, few days, or a week, it would help out a lot! If you have any leads please call our office: 414-327-2847


WE NEED: Bus and Truck drivers, also for one weekend, one week, or more for the summer. If you have any leads please call our office: 414-327-2847. If they have a CDL, that is best. Or if they have a regular driver’s license, they can help in other ways.


MORE HELP NEEDED: Back-field Conductors as well as people in all sections are needed. We may have some spots to replace some who have decided not to march, or because of lack of money or family conflicts cannot. We want every spot filled. Marching in your Pioneer Corps will change you and build a life time of memories. You asking them may be something that will cause them to remember you forever. Be a friend and do it!



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An interim Board has been formed. We have received, reviewed, and are developing a comprehensive plan to address Drum Corps International's suspension reinstatement terms.

We are seeking individuals who have knowledge, experience, and expertise in the following areas of; administration, education, non profit boards, finance, fund raising, public relations, communications, media, transportation, health and wellness plans, first aid, food service, alumni organizations, and of course, drum corps, to assist in the process of developing policies and procedures specific to these areas.

If you are interested in assisting us, please respond by completing the VOLUNTEER APPLICATION found under the Contribute tab on the Pioneer website. Your information will be given to the appropriate committee. We will contact you shortly. Thank you.


Bingo is sponsored by the Pioneer Corps most Wednesdays at the St. Francis Lions Club located at 3476 E. Howard Ave Saint Francis, WI It begins at 6:30 pm. Every Saturday evening the Pioneer hosts bingo at the United Seniors Center at 4515 W. Forest Home Ave. in Milwaukee. Our Saturday night bingo also begins at 6:30 pm We would very much like to welcome you to come and play bingo, or help us as floor workers, which are especially needed!