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.


Pioneer must maintain a Board of Directors that includes a minimum of five people that have not served in that position before. In response to this requirement, the Board of Directors will be expanded to nine members. The exact governance structure, bylaws and appointment process is currently being developed by an independent nonprofit attorney and governance committee.

It was also clarified that the Interim Board of Directors does not have the legal authority to remove current Board members, or make legal decisions on behalf of the corps without permission of the existing Board of Directors.

Pioneer must appoint a new CEO. In response to this requirement, William Strube assumed this role on an interim basis on Friday, September 7th. He intends to continue in this role for the foreseeable future.

Pioneer must establish an organizational chart for the administrative and instructional teams that includes primary job duties and articulation of authority and responsibility. In response to this requirement, a comprehensive set of job descriptions for all administrative, instructional and support teams are being developed. This includes the required organizational chart.

Pioneer must present a comprehensive financial plan and budget that the corps has the financial means to successfully participate in the 2020 summer tour. In response to this requirement, a review of the current financial state of the corps is underway. Once complete, a comprehensive plan will be developed utilizing support from other DCI member corps, as well guidance from financial professionals that have offered their support.

It was also clarified that the corps has successfully passed several financial audits in recent years, and that the corps’ financial records are maintained by an independent CPA that specializes in nonprofit services. In addition, it was also clarified that all property used by the corps is owned by the nonprofit corporation (Pioneer Drum & Bugle Corps & Color Guard, Inc.).

Pioneer must submit a written health & wellness plan, including practices on tour. In response to this requirement, a committee of health care professionals has been formed to develop a comprehensive health & wellness plan. Additional support in developing the plan is also being provided by other DCI member corps that have successfully established medical teams in recent years. As part of the plan, the corps intends to have a medical team on tour with the corps at all times.

Pioneer must submit a written transportation and vehicle maintenance plan. In response to this requirement, a committee has been formed to explore best practices and develop a comprehensive transportation plan. This plan will provide guidelines for traveling, drivers, vehicle inspections, reporting requirements and other areas of concern. Additional support in creating this plan has been offered by other DCI member corps.

It was clarified that as part of this plan, Pioneer plans to contract charter coaches to transport the members for the southern portion of the DCI Tour. Corporation owned coaches will continued to be utilized for local and regional use while the corps travels through the Midwest.

Following discussion of the corps’ status with DCI, William Strube introduced the interim board members that were in attendance:

Jennifer J. Collins (#1117)
Albert Dobyns (#1171)
Renee Erickson (#1287)
Lisa Janasik (#1881)
Timothy Osterbeck (#1145)
Larry Case
Ron Ruggles
Steve Vickers

In addition – the other interim board members that were not in attendance at that time due to previous obligations were also acknowledged:

Dr. Cecil Austin
Dave Campbell
John Noonan

Following the introduction of the Interim Board, Timothy Osterbeck discussed the independent efforts to establish a Pioneer Alumni Association (PAA).

The primary goal of the PAA will be to reunite the thousands of alumni that have marched with Pioneer, Imperials of St. Patrick, Thunderbolts, and all subsidiary/cadet corps; and to provide a conduit for future communication, interaction and comradery.

Through the reunification of alumni, the secondary goal is for the PAA be in a position to conduct events and/or campaigns that will allow the organization to give back to the marching arts activity through donations, scholarships, tuition assistance and other means.

Following discussion about the alumni association, the meeting was turned over to Roman Blenski to discuss the state of the nonprofit corporation. He provided a breakdown of income and purchases for the 2018 season. In addition, he also discussed alternative nonprofit options for the corporation that could be pursued including WGI groups, a DCA corps, and other nonprofit activities such as soccer or football.

The meeting concluded with an active Q&A session in which many areas of concern were discussed including competitive placement, staff selection and credentials, show selection and program design.

We appreciate everyone that came out and participated in the meeting, especially given the cool blustery conditions that led to an extended power outage during the course of the meeting. Despite the uncomfortably cold and dark conditions, positive discussions were held, and we look forward to months ahead as we strive to make Pioneer not just Better Every Day… but better than ever before.

Additional updates will continue to be provided as often as possible as work progresses. In the meanwhile, we continue to welcome any input or questions that you may have.