Other Names:merger of Imperials of St. Patricks and Thunderbolts, The Thing

Milwaukee, WI United States
Founded: 1973

Active Junior
World Class
1973 Fanfare * Circus March * Rule Britannia * Skyliner * Elijah Rock * Here, There And Everywhere  
1974 Fanfare * Elegy March * Hey Jude * Skyliner * In the Mood * 1812 Overture  
1975 Alexander's Ragtime Band * Temptation * In the Mood * Encore in Jazz * How the West Was Won * Battle Hymn of the Republic  
1976 Alexander's Ragtime Band * Encore in Jazz * My Quiet Thoughts * El Malo * Selections from Cabaret  
1977 Scheherazade * Selections from Cabaret  
1978 Could it be Magic * Pepsi Theme * McDonalds Theme * Boogie Bandstand * New York, New York (from New York New York)  
1979 Circus March * Harrigan * Sheik Of Araby * Give My Regards to Broadway * Try to Remember  
1980 Circus March * Mambo Tambo * They're Playing Our Song * Pippin  
1981 Annie * New York Jump * Walking Papers (from The Act) * Mambo Tambo * Morning Glow (from Pippin)  
1982 42nd Street (from 42nd Street) * Morning Glow (from Pippen)  
1983 Alexander's Ragtime Band * Way Down Yonder in New Orleans * I Feel the Earth Move * Waiting for a Train * Lullaby of Broadway (from 42nd Street)  
1984 Far From Over * All Night Long (All Night) * Shop Around * Waiting for a Train * La Cage Aux Folles  
1985 Oklahoma (from Oklahoma!) * George M. Cohan Medley * Comedians' Galop * Return of the Spiders * Brian's Song  
1986 Irish Rhapsody * McNamara's Band * The Girl I Left Behind (from Irish Suite) * Reeling and Railing * Kelly the Boy from Killane * When Irish Eyes Are Smiling  
1987 The American Spirit - America (from West Side Story) * When Irish Eyes Are Smiling * America * Stars and Stripes Forever * Thunder March * Manhattan Beach March  
1988 Rhapsody in Blue * Jericho * Carioca * Rockin' Robin * My Old Kentucky Home * Camptown Races * Autumn Leaves * Way Down Yonder in New Orleans  
1989 Up a Lazy River * Go Tell It on the Mountain * Jericho * Carioca * Where is the Love  
1990 (Repertoire not available)  
1991 Irish Festival - a collection of Irish folk songs - (Repertoire not available)  
1992 Jig (from St. Paul's Suite) * Freda * Minstrel Boy * The Rakes of Mallow * Four Scottish Dances  
1993 Garry Owen * Over There * Tramp, Tramp, Tramp * My Bonny Boy * Far and Away  
1994 Voices of the Isle - Four Scottish Dances * The Seduction (from The Year of the Comet) * Garry Owen * Danny Boy  
1995 Shades of the Emerald - Diamond Dance * The Seduction (from The Year of the Comet) * Cursum Perticio * Storms in Africa * Orinoco Flow  
1996 Celtic Twilight - Highstep * The Journey Home * Scotland the Brave * Garry Owen  
1997 Riverdance - Riverdance * The Heart's Cry (from Riverdance) * Shivna (from Riverdance) * Woman of Sidhe (from Riverdance) * American Wake (from Riverdance) * Firedance (from Riverdance) * Home and the Heartland (from Riverdance)  
1998 Irish in your Face - Irish Washerwoman (from Irish Suite) * Irish Tune from County Derry * Irish Rhapsody  
1999 Greensleeves - Flute Concerto Movement III * The Girl I Left Behind (from Irish Suite) * Magh Seola (The Level Plain) * The Cat Rambles to the Child's Saucepan * English Dances 4th Movement * Dargason (from St. Paul's Suite)  
2000 Dances of Brigadoon - Fanfare * McConachy Square (from Brigadoon) * Come To Me (from Brigadoon) * Almost Like Being in Love (from Brigadoon) * The Chase (from Brigadoon)  
2001 Irish in the Civil War... A Quest for Freedom - Main Theme from Gettysburg * Variations on the Theme from Minstrel Boy * Over the Fence (from Gettysburg) * Dawn (from Gettysburg) * Dixie * Battle at Devil's Den (from Gettysburg) * America the Beautiful  
2002 Oliver - Where is Love (from Oliver) * Theme from Oliver * Be Back Soon (from Oliver) * Consider Yourself (from Oliver) * The Robbery (from Oliver) * As Long As He Needs Me (from Oliver) * Who Will Buy (from Oliver)  
2003 Spirit of the Pioneer - A Song of Moses  
2004 Return to Ireland - By Loch & Mountain * Irish Washerwoman (from Irish Suite) * Irish Washerwoman * Lord of the Dance * Believe Me, if All those Endearing Young Charms * Riverdance  
2005 This Place Called Ireland - Our Homeland * The Irish Spirit * Tragic Legacy * Celtic Pride  
2006 Emeraldscapes - Tarantella (from The Blue Room and Other Stories) * Slane  
2007 Fields of Green - First Suite in E-Flat * Dargason (from St. Paul's Suite) * The Rakes of Mallow * Irish Washerwoman (from Irish Suite) * Minstrel Boy * Garry Owen  
2008 Celtic Reflections - First Suite in E-Flat * Lincolnshire Posy (Horkstow Grange) * Celtic Symphony * Richard III * Crown Imperial  
2009 Celtic Trinity - Three Celtic Dances * Into The Raging River  
2010 Corps Prayer - Swing Low, Sweet Chariot * Make His Praise Glorious * The Prayer * Stained Glass * Old Hundredth (the Doxology)  
2011 Celebrate - Four Scottish Dances * Song Without Words, "I'll Love My Love" (from Second Suite in F) * New World Symphony * As Time Goes By (from Casablanca)  
2012 Irish Immigrants: The Hands that Built America - New World Symphony * Recollections of Ireland * I'll Take You Home Again Kathleen * I'm Shipping Up To Boston  
2013 Anam Nua - Celtic for A NEW SPIRIT - Gloria * Awesome God * Just a Closer Walk With Thee * When the Saints Go Marching In * Joyful Joyful * With Heart and Voice  
2014 JOY! - A Mighty Fortress * We Gather Together * Saints Hallelujah * Irish Tune From County Derry * Garry Owen  
2015 Exodus: Divide the Sea, Unite the People - Theme from Exodus * Selections from The Ten Commandments * Selections from Man of Steel  
2016 St. Joan of Arc - Voices of the Sky * Lauds * Adagio for Strings * The Firebird Suite  
2017 Irish on Broadway: The Music of Les Miserables - Selections from Les Miserables  
Pioneer, founded in 1953, is a junior marching and maneuvering corps based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The corps’ roots extend back to a merger between two earlier corps, the Imperials of St. Patrick Drum & Bugle Corps and the Mercury Thunderbolts.

In 1953 a group of Cedarburg High School students had approached their band director with an idea of starting a corps. The corps soon became reality and was named after a line of popular outboard motors, The Thunderbolts. Independently, the Imperials of St. Patrick were formed in 1961 with the "Luck of the Irish!"

In 1973, the Imperials of St. Patrick and Thunderbolts Drum & Bugle Corps merged to form a corps which, because they lacked a sponsor and a name, was called "The Thing." The name Pioneer was adopted when the Pioneer Container Corporation agreed to sponsor the corps in 1974.

After 15 years as essentially a local corps, Pioneer became a finalist at Drum Corps Midwest (DCM) and the U.S. Open in 1989, and finished in the top ten of DCI's A-60 Division. New Irish military uniforms enhanced the corps’ visual appeal.

The Pioneer captured their first DCM A-60 Championship title in 1990. The next year the corps successfully defended that title, and they also took top honors at the U.S. Open.

Pioneer moved up to DCI Division II competition in 1992, transitioning smoothly by taking a fourth DCM Championship title, this time in Division II. They continued their winning ways into 1994 by taking yet another DCM Division II title and continued to be undefeated as DCI Division II World Champions.

Despite suffering a serious and expensive vehicle accident in May, 1995, Pioneer took its first full DCI tour with a corps made up of 95 members from 11 states as well as from Holland and Japan. The corps defended their DCM and DCI Division II crowns, in addition to receiving the Spirit of Disney Award that year. They also won the Canadian Open in 1996 and achieved full voting membership in DCI.

Pioneer took the next step in 1997 under the motto "Better Every Day," when they began competing solely in Division I. Just five members short of a full complement of 128 members, the corps climbed to 19th place in the DCI Quarterfinals.

The corps emphasized audience appeal especially in 1998 by exploiting their niche, the Irish heritage. With a program entitled 'Irish in your Face,' written by a group of East Coast senior corps writers, Pioneer enthused the crowd with its loud brass and large drum line. Adding to the corps heritage, Pioneer introduced new uniforms consisting of khaki pants, a black jacket, and lots of green, orange, and white trim. The corps finished 18th at the DCI Quarterfinals in Orlando, but the crowd’s enthusiasm for the show energized the organization for the challenges that 1999 would bring.

Reminiscent of the Celtic warriors of the 9th and 10th century who roamed in small bands throughout the countryside battling larger forces, the 1999 edition of Pioneer ventured valiantly forth with its smallest corps in several years to compete in Division I for the third consecutive year. Under the direction of William Strube, the small corps of warriors took the field in competition and proved that if you believe in yourself, work hard, and strive to be "Better Every Day," you truly can make dreams come true. Their field of dreams became Madison’s Camp Randall Stadium where the corps of 81 members achieved a spot in DCI Semifinals, placing 17th.

Pioneer’s 16th place finish in 2000 was their best showing ever. The corps became one of the most exciting, entertaining, and crowd-pleasing corps of 2000 with their production of "Brigadoon."

In 2002, Pioneer welcomed marchers from South Africa, sponsored by the Field Band Foundation. The corps finished 22nd in Open Class Quarterfinals. Their 2003 position was 23rd. In 2004, with a program called 'Celtic Impressions,' Pioneer finished 24th in DCI Quarterfinals.

Pioneer is one of the few corps to own and build on its own land. And every year the corps returns to its roots at St. Patrick's Catholic Church for a rehearsal and concert.

"Better Every Day" is a philosophy that has served the Pioneer well for over a decade. Through this philosophy they promote personal growth, teamwork, and acceptance of challenges in a positive manner. When a new member joins the Pioneer, he becomes a part of a team that strives to bring the most out of each member, by doing the very best they can at all times.

[; rec.arts.marching.drumcorps, Bryan Jenner, 5/31/95; DCW, 10/03, p.9]

Members (90)

Member Name Section Years Involved
Ainsworth, Shane Soprano 1998
Ainsworth, Shane Visual Staff 2000 to 2001
Ainsworth, Shane Soprano/Staff 1998 to 2001
Amigoni, Devin Euphonium 2002 to 2003
Bailey, George Trumpet 2014
Beadles, Damon Contra 1996 to 1997
Benline, Tyler Contra 1998
Billock, Matt Soprano 1994 to 1995
Bretl, Mark Brass - Soprano 1999
Briddell, Matthew Bari/Euph 2001
Brosky, Elizabeth pit 2002
Burton, Benjie Drumline 1996
Burton, Benjie Cymbal Tech/Ast Director 1998 to 2001
Burton, Terry visual staff 2002
Dahlkamp, Brian cymbals 2005
Diessner, Lisa guard 1994
Diessner, lisa guard,/bells 1995
Diver, John Soprano & Mellophone 2000 to 2001
Duzan, Seth Baritone 1998
Elliott, Brandon Soprano 2002
Eshbach, Stephanie mellophone 2001
Gerber, Greg euph 1998 to 2002
Glasscock, Andrew Mellophone 2004
Gonzalez, David Contra 1999
Gonzalez, David Contra 1999
Grimm, Jessica Baritone 2003
Gruszczynski, Paula soprano 77 mellophone 78-81 1977 to 1981
Hassell, Autumn Mellophone 2002
Herod, Scott Soprano 1996 to 1997
Herron (Big Mack), Jason Euphonium 2001
Hofmann, Patrick Soprano 1993 to 1994
Hyatt, Anna pit percussion 1995 to 1998
Kelley, Justin baritone 2005
Kelly, John Mellophone 1999 to 2000
Klawitter, Mike Percussion Instructor 1990 to 1992
Knize, Nick Bass 1 Section Leader 1998 to 2000
Koceja, Bruce Soprano 1972 to 1974
Koegler, Scott Baritone 1988 to 1990
Kogan, Lea Pit 1994 to 1996
Kopplin, Lanah Baritone 2001
Leary, Daniel Brass (bari) 1998
Lindsey, Bobby Soprano "82"-"85" * Staff "89"-"93" 1982 to 1985; 1989 to 1993; 2003
McDaniel, Heather Colorguard 1998 to 2001
McMillan, Aaron Soprano 1997
Nelson, Bethany mellophone1998, soporano1999 1998 to 1999
Normandin (T.K.), Keith Horn Line 1980
O'Connor, Molly Colorguard 1997; 1999 to 2002
Osterhout, Austin Snare 2001 to 2002
Osterhout, Kendra Colorguard 2001 to 2002
Padawan, Joe Soprano 1995 to 1997
Padilla, Israel Sopranos 2001
Pagliaro, Todd contra 1983 to 1984
Peterson, Garth Baritone 2001
Peterson, Garth Euphonium 2002
Rafalowski, Stephen Baritone 2008
Rafalowski, Stephen Baritone/Tuba 2008 to 2013
Rasgaitis, Kelley color guard sabre line 1998 to 1999
Reed, Kevin Soprano 1998
Richards, Will Drum Major 2001
Ritacco, Dan soprano 1982 to 1984
Saunders, Von Baritone 2000
Seidling, patrick tympani 1982
Seidling, patrick percussion caption head 1991 to 1995
Sevcik, Mike Euphonium 2001 to 2003
Shannon, Derrick Drumline (Bass) 2005
Shannon, Derrick Bass 2005 to 2006
Snow III, Bal Soprano 1997 to 2001
Sperling, Geoffrey Soprano 2004
Stone, Brandis Color Guard 2004
Street, Adam N. Baritone 2001
Strieff, Walter Visual Staff 1995 to 1996
Torres, Josh soprano 2006
Torres, Josh sop 2006
Torres, Josh Sop 2006
Turner, Byron Contra 2005
VanCaster, Scott Soprano 1983
Walton, Lee Lead Soprano/Trumpet 2007 to 2009
Wesson, Dan Cymbals 2008
White, Conrad soprano 2000 to 2001
Wick, Kevin Soprano 2000
Williams, Stann Drumset 2014
Wilson, Brian Mellophone 2005 to 2007
Wilson, Brian Drum Major 2008 to 2009
Wilson, Melanie front ensemble 2001
Zerhusen, Mike Baritone/Euphonium 1994 to 1998
de Werk, Peter Jan Mellophone 1995 to 1997
de Werk, Peter Jan Visual Tech 1998
sapp, daunte Baritone 2002
stawick, andrew tenors 2003 to 2004
von Behren, David Mellophone 2002- Soprano 2003- Mellophone 200 2002 to 2004

CORPS 6 items


Pioneer Hat from the Bill Ives Collection

Pioneer from the Bill Ives Collection

Pioneer Milwaukee WI-2 from the Bill Ives Collection

2015 Pioneer Exodus from the Chris Maher Collection

2015 Pioneer Exodus - Back from the Chris Maher Collection

2015 Pioneer Exodus - Inside from the Chris Maher Collection