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

On Saturday, October 20th, several dozen alumni and supporters gathered at Pioneerland to discuss the current status and future plans for the Pioneer Drum & Bugle Corps & Color Guard, Inc.

After a brief introduction by Timothy Osterbeck (Member #1145), the meeting was turned over to the interim CEO, William Strube (Member #284). Strube discussed at length the corps current status with Drum Corps International.

As was previously reported, Pioneer was suspended from all DCI activities indefinitely on August 16th, 2018. The action by DCI came in response to concerns raised by Pioneer members and staff that the corps was unable to maintain acceptable standards of health and safety for all participants, as required by the DCI Community Code of Conduct and Ethics Guidelines. After considering multiple factors, DCI later determined that the Pioneer would not participate in the 2019 DCI Summer Tour. That continues to hold true, and efforts are currently focused on the corps returning to the competitive field for the 2020 DCI Summer Tour.

In order to participate in the 2020 DCI Summer Tour, DCI provided Pioneer with a set of six conditions that must be met in order for the corps to be considered for reinstatement. Plans to meet these conditions must be presented to DCI for review no later than November 15th in order for the corps to be considered for reinstatement.

While many of these areas are still a work in progress, Strube outlined the general requirements of each condition, and the progress made towards meeting/exceeding each condition.

Calling all Alumni, Staff & Supporters!

In honor of the corps’ Irish roots, Pioneer is planning to return to the streets on March 17th, 2019 to perform in the Chicago Southside Irish Parade!

Participation in the parade will be open to Pioneer alumni, staff, volunteers, as well as supporters of the organization. Persons interested in participating in the parade can complete the Parade Application by clicking on the button below.

Parade Application

The repertoire for the parade will consist of “Garry Owen” and “Stars and Stripes”. PDF Copies of these songs can be downloaded in advance via the links below:

Garry Owen: Brass | Percussion

Stars and Stripes: Brass | Percussion

Cadence & Exercies: Percussion

The tentative itinerary for the weekend is listed below:

3:00pm - 9:00pm - Uniform Fitting
7:00pm - 9:00pm - Rehearsal

7:00am - 8:30am - Rehearsal
10:00am - Depart for Parade
Noon - Parade in Chicago
After - Party & Travel Home


Airport pick ups & drop offs will be available from Milwaukee Mitchell & Chicago O'Hare Airports.

For lodging, we have made special arrangements with the Econo Lodge Milwaukee Airport location to offer our performers a rate of $49.00/room.  To take advantage of this special rate, contact the hotel at (414) 764-2510 and mention that you're with Pioneer.

In addition to the great performance opportunity, a post-parade party is also being planned at Jacqui Bilder's (#1787) Natural Law in Blue Island, IL.

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The Pioneer Organization and I are very pleased to announce the members of the "interim" Board of Directors:

♣  Dr. Cecil Austin; PhD in Education, school administrator, served on several boards, drum corps judge, brass instructor for Imperials of St. Patrick and Pioneer.
♣  Dave Campbell; B.S. in Music Education, Music teacher, served on several boards, drum corps judge, former corps director of several units, and current program coordinator for Pioneer.
♣  Larry Case; manager in health insurance and educational development, visual caption head and designer, drum corps judge, director of and a Hall of Fame member of Central States Judges Association, and proud Pioneer alumni parent.
♣  Jennifer J. Collins; Attorney at Law, Member, State Bar of Wisconsin's Public Education Committee, Pro Bono Honor Society, and a Pioneer Alumni #1117.
♣  Albert Dobyns; BA., advertising, marketing and public relations, member of collegiate chapter’s board, and a Pioneer alumni #1171.
♣  Renee Erickson; M.Ed. in Educational Leadership, school administrator, advisory board member, treasurer for a condominium association board, and a Pioneer alumni #1287.
♣  Lisa Janasik; B.A. in cross-cultural expressive arts, retail business owner, university judicial board, and a Pioneer alumni #1881.
♣  John Noonan; businessman in the insurance industry, board member with The Cavaliers, and a proud Pioneer alumni parent.
♣  Timothy Osterbeck; manager, human resources, purchasing agent, and small business entrepreneur- website design firm, and a Pioneer alumni #1145.
♣  Ron Ruggles; former pastor, served on several boards, chief drum corps judge, and a proud Pioneer alumni parent.
♣  Steve Vickers; B.S. in Journalism, publisher of Drum Corps World, board member of Forward Performing Arts, Inc., sponsors of the Madison Scouts.

The interim Board will be working closely with the Pioneer Corporation as we explore the future of Pioneer. Our primary goal is to maintain World Class status and the corps' membership in Drum Corps International.

If you are interested in assisting our team with this project, please respond by completing the VOLUNTEER APPLICATION found under the Contribute tab on the Pioneer website.

Thank you.
William Strube #284

On Friday, September 7th, I was appointed interim (temporary) CEO of the Board. My appointment was based on past experiences with; assessing schools as an Accreditation Team Chairman for the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, leading three schools as a Principal, serving on two Boards as President of the Wisconsin Edge Precision Figure Skating Teams and President of the Woodland Pines condominium association, and my experience as a former Corps Director for Pioneer Drum & Bugle Corps.

Over the next few months the interim Board will be working closely with the Pioneer Corporation as we explore the future of Pioneer. Our primary goal is to maintain World Class status and membership in Drum Corps International. My challenge is to quickly assemble a highly qualified team that will meet all the Drum Corps International "Suspension Reinstatement Terms" by developing comprehensive policies and procedures specific to the criteria set forth by their Executive Director. We will be forming committees to assist in this process. Time is short. Pioneer must submit our plan by November 15, 2018 for approval.

The past several days have been spent enhancing the team with individuals who possess the qualifications we seek. Once we recruit a few more Board members I will share their names and experiences. Yes, there is alumni representation other than myself, and there will be frequent updates on our progress.

If you are interested in assisting us with this project, please respond by completing the VOLUNTEER APPLICATION found under the Contribute tab on the Pioneer website. Try to remember it's been less than a week since we started. Please be patient.

Thank you.

William Strube #284

Recently, on social media and in the news, special attention is being paid to Drum Corps in general and certain Corps specifically. Pioneer is one of the Corps that is receiving special consideration. While we might disagree on the accuracy of all the comments, depictions and rhetoric, some of what has been described is true. For those particular situations, we hope you can accept our sincerest apologies.

In response to these recent events, DCI has chosen to suspend Pioneer from the activity pending a comprehensive investigation. In addition, we have launched our own re-evaluation of current policies and procedures to determine areas for improvement. Once we’ve identified those opportunities, we will develop an action plan to make the appropriate changes.

While not everything during a season, regardless the Corps, always goes as planned; there are two things Pioneer has never struggled with and continues to offer to our staff and members. Things uniquely ours compared to the rest of the Drum Corps world. Pioneer is one of the very few “teaching” Corps for inexperienced and/or new musicians. Each and every one of us does their part to contribute to the success of each other no matter the skill level when joining the Corps. Which is a perfect segue to the second unique trait of Pioneer…Family. Pioneer accepts everyone for who they are and welcomes them into the Pioneer family. Whether it is a staff person or member, once you join - you’re family. And yes, that means occasionally disagreeing like family too.

In closing, all of us here at Pioneer want to thank you - our many supporters - and those whom have shared and continue to share concerns and suggestions to help Pioneer make improvements to the program and alert us to challenges.

Working to Be…Better Every Day!

Roman Blenski

join banner

The Pioneer Drum & Bugle Corps & Color Guard, based in Milwaukee, WI, is looking for talented young men and women to join the corps in 2018.

Experience the summer of your life with a World Class corps as you tour the country on the way to the Drum Corps International World Championships in Indianapolis, IN.

Current Openings (Updated 5/21/18)

Brass - Trumpet (1) & Baritone (1)

Percussion - Front Ensemble: (1) Rack & (1) Synth

Color Guard - Flags & Weapons (2 Female/2 Male)


For information on joining Pioneer 2018:

1) Complete our Information Request Form

2) Join our 2018 Interest and Audition Group on Facebook

3) Join the Facebook Group for the section of your choice:

4) Check out the Audition Materials for your section.

5) Make plans to be at our Rehearsal Camps:

6) Check out our Frequently Asked Questions

7) Start planning how you're going to pay your dues with our Guide to Fundraising

8) Create a Google Account if you do not already have one.  We use Google products such as Google Docs & Google Drive to collect/distribute information over the course of the season.  We will ask you for your Google/Gmail email address later in the camp season.

9) Check back often for additional news and details on the upcoming season!

rob steinWe are pleased to introduce you to our new brass arranger: Mr. Rob Stein!

Rob is an experienced writer, designer, adjudicator, educator and performer. Over 200 marching bands and drum corps across 40 states have used Rob's original compositions and arrangements, including The Baltimore's Marching Ravens, the largest music organization associated with the NFL.