Percussion Arranger/Caption Head - John McFarland
Co-Caption Head/Snare Technician - Kenji Okubo
Snare Technician - David Edwards
Tenor Technician - Nicholas Martiniak
Tenor Technician - Ian Conyers
Tenor Technician - Ryan Marshall
Bass Technician - Josh Mitchell
Bass Technician - Robert Hairston
Cymbal Technician - Jennifer Tarka
Front Ensemble Technician - Tony Lemonds
Front Ensemble Technician - Logan Ball
John Max McFarland received his degrees in Composition (B.M.) and Percussion Performance (B.M., M.M.) from Western Michigan University. He studied percussion under Judy Moonert. John has performed as the principal percussionist and Principal Timpanist for the University Concert and Symphonic Bands, as well as the University Symphony Orchestra. He has also performed with the Kalamazoo Symphony and Battlecreek Symphony as a substitute percussionist. John was also a marching member of the Kiwanis Kavaliers Drum & Bugle Corps as well as the Santa Clara Vanguard Drum & Bugle Corps. John studied composition under Curtis Curtis-Smith, Dr. Richard Adams, and Dr. Robert Ricci. His compositions and arrangements have received international recognition with performances all over the United States as well as Hong Kong and Taiwan. His concert band piece "From Chaos..." was runner up in the Metropolitan Wind Symphony's 2005 North American Student Composer Competition. His chamber music piece "Thoughts and Dreams of a Dying Man" was selected as a winning composition in ERM Media's Made in the Americas recording project. His most recent piece, "5 Songs in the Age of Stupidity" for 2 percussion and mezzo-soprano, received 1st prize in the Ironworks percussion duo composition contest. His percussion music is published through Tapspace Publications where he is also on staff as a music engraver. John has arranged percussion for many marching bands and winter percussion programs throughout the United States. John is currently the assistant director of bands and director of percussion for Notre Dame College in South Euclid, Ohio. On top of those duties he is also the composer and arranger for the marching band and winter percussion programs at Notre Dame College. John resides in Parma Heights, a suburb of Cleveland, Ohio with his wife Sydney, his son Camden, his 2 cats (Zoe and Minkah), his 4 greyhounds (Jason, Jasper, Lola, and Walker), and Italian Greyhound (Sophia).
Kenji is a rudimental drummer and music educator in Japan. Kenji is returning for his 9th year with the corps and his 6th year as a member of the education staff. He began his marching percussion career at the age of 12.
Kenji was a member of Pioneer Drum & Bugle Corps from 2003-2005 (serving as section leader for his age-out season) and started his corps instructional career in 2006 with Pioneer. He went on to teach Revolution Drum and Bugle Corps from San Antonio, TX (2007 – 2010) and returned to Pioneer for the 2011 – 2014 seasons as a snare tech.
Kenji has arranged and taught percussion for many marching bands and percussion programs throughout Japan. Kenji is excited to return for the 2015 season sharing the caption-head position with John McFarland
David Edwards is returning for his fourth year with the corps. He began his marching percussion career with the Little Americans where he played snare from 1993-2000. He went on to perform with Rochester Crusaders Drum and Bugle Corps 2001 and 2002. He also marched with the 5 time World Champion Empire Statesmen Drum and Bugle Corps from 2003-2006, earning a championship in 2004. He returned to the Empire Statesmen in 2007 as a percussion tech but his season was cut short when he enlisted in the U.S. Navy. He served his country for five years before being discharged in March 2012. Soon after his discharge he joined the 2012 Pioneer percussion staff as the tenor tech. He is currently teaching the snare line.
Nicholas Martiniak has been involved with DCI for 6 years. He began his marching career in 2009 with the Pioneer Drum and Bugle Corps. He was on Pioneer's quad line for two seasons and later went on to march with the Sacramento Mandarins in 2011 and Phantom Regiment in 2012 and 2013. After aging out, he returned to Pioneer as the Quad Tech in summer 2014 and is currently the Quad Tech for Pioneer Indoor this winter. Martiniak also previously worked as the Battery Coordinator for the Minooka Community High School Marching Band in 2010-2013
Ian started his marching career in 1993 with the Algonac High School Marching Band. He was with the Marching Band 93-98, winning a State Championship and Best Percussion in 1994. He started his Drum Corps Career with the Kiwanis Kavaliers from Kitchener, Ontario. He marched with the Corps from 1998-2002. He was in the Bass Line in 98' and the Tenor line 99-02. (01-02 section leader) He also received the Award for Most Improved his first year on tenors (99'). He marched WGI 99-02 with Spirit Performing Youth Ensemble (AKA S.P.Y.E.) in the Tenor Line. In WGI 2001 the S.P.Y.E. show" SPYvsSPY" winning fans favorite. After he aged out of DCI, he continued his marching career in DCA with the Empire Statesmen from Rochester, NY 2003-2006. (Tenor Line Section leader/Tech)He won a World Championship with the Corps in 2004. In 2009 he marched with the Brigadiers from Syracuse, NY. (Tenor Line Section Leader/Tech) Thru the years of marching, Ian has taught a variety of marching bands from the Upstate NY area. In 2010 he placed his focus on teaching in WGI with Onondaga Community Collage a PIO Winter Drum line and in the summer of 2011 he worked with the Empire Statesmen Drum Line and Tenor Line. Ian is very excited to be involved in DCI again with the Pioneer Drum and Bugle Corps.
Ryan began his marching career with the L'Anse Creuse High School marching band in 2000 through 2004. During high school he moved on to Eastside Fury in 2002 where he started out as a member of the cymbal line and in 2003 became a member of the Eastside Fury tenor line for 7 seasons until aging out in 2009. In 2005 and 2006 Ryan was a member of the Crossmen Drum and Bugle Corps marching in the tenor line. Ryan is still a current member of the Detroit Lions Drumline past 7 years.
While an active member of DCI and WGI Ryan Taught with many different ensembles and high school drumlines including Almont High School, L'Anse Creuse High School, South Lyon High School, Paramount Percussion, Percussion caption head at Hazel Park High School and percussion caption head and arranger for Ferndale High School. In 2010 and 2011 Ryan was the tenor line technician for Eastside Fury and in 2012 he became the caption head. The past two seasons Ryan Served at ESF as an assistant director.
Outside of the activity Ryan works for Nortown Auto Glass as a sales associate and service technician. He enjoys spending his free time with his wife Jenelle and dog Mia.
Josh Mitchell is from a percussionist from Virginia whom currently resides in the Northeast Ohio area. Josh has marched will multiple ensembles around the U.S. competing in local and nationwide circuits. Josh has performed in DCA, WGI, and DCI in his 6 years of marching. These ensembles include Carolina Gold, Wake Forest Independent, Phantom Regiment, and Matrix Percussion.
Josh has received instruction from and taught alongside some of the best in the business including Teddy Holcomb, Shane Gwaltney, Bill Bachman, Thomas Sparling, Brian Tinkel, Justin Mabry, Chris Romanowski, Bret Kuhn, and Rob Ferguson.
Josh is currently pursuing his bachelor's degree in finance while working with local high schools in the Northeast Ohio area. He will be serving in a new role as the Percussion Director at Norton High School in the winter. Josh is also serving as the bass technician for Matrix this winter season.
Josh will be serving in his second year as the bass technician with Pioneer and couldn't be more excited to get things started.
Raised under a musically talented family, Robert knew at a young age that he wanted to grow and develop as a musician. He's been involved in the activity for 9 years, performing with various organizations in DCA, WGI, and DCI on snare, quad, and bass. These ensembles includes Carolina Gold, Wake Forest Independent, Matrix Percussion, and Phantom Regiment.
Jennifer Tarka, is a performer and music educator in the Chicago-land area. She graduated from VanderCook College of Music, where she earned her bachelor's degree in music education. Before instructing for Pioneer Drum & Bugle Corps, she taught several indoor percussion ensembles, including Downers Grove South High School Indoor Percussion, L.e.a.P. Indoor Percussion, Green Thunder Indoor Percussion, and Pioneer Indoor Percussion. Jennifer began her marching cymbals career in 2004, when she marched her age-out year of DCI with Pioneer Drum & Bugle Corps. That year, she was the recipient of the "Zildjian Award" for the most outstanding cymbal player for Pioneer Drum & Bugle Corps.
Currently, Jennifer works as a general music teacher in Chicago, where she teaches kindergarten through 8th grade. In November 2012, she won the 2011-2012 "Outstanding Teacher Award" at her school. Outside of teaching, Jennifer continues to perform with the Chicago Bears Drum Line and the Chicago Bulls Stampede Drum Line.
Jennifer was the head cymbal instructor for Pioneer Drum & Bugle Corps from 2008-2013. In 2013 she served as the Corps' program coordinator, in addition to cymbal instructor. She decided to step down as a full time instructor in 2014 to further her career as a music educator in Chicago. Jennifer is returning as Pioneer's winter cymbal instructor for the 2015 season in support of Prichard Proctor, who will be Pioneer's full time cymbal instructor for the 2015 summer.
Tony has been involved with the activity since 2006 and grew up in Spring Hill, TN. Tony has marched with a few high caliber groups. His first year of drum corps was with the Blue Stars in 2009, and marched a second year with them in 2010. He also marched Phantom Regiment in 2012 as the center marimba. In his WGI career, he has marched with Music City Mystique on marimba 2011-2014. He was one of the section leaders for the last two years he was with Music City Mystique. Tony has also been teaching and designing for numerous groups since 2010 such as Independence, North Forsyth, South Forsyth, Forsyth Central, and Lambert High School. This will be his first year as the Front Ensemble Coordinator with Palmetto Percussion. Outside of the marching activity Tony enjoys bowling, fishing, sushi, movies, and writing original compositions. He currently resides in Cumming, GA as an active teacher and designer.
Logan Ball is a percussionist and educator residing in Nashville, TN. He recently completed a Master's Degree in Percussion Performance at the University of Tennessee (UT) where he was a student of Dr. Andrew Bliss. He currently serves as the Percussion Director at Sewanee: The University of the South. In the summer of 2014, Ball served as the Front Ensemble Technician for the Pioneer Drum and Bugle Corps, a World Class Drum Corps International (DCI) competitor. Ball will return to this position for the 2015 DCI season.
Recently, Logan participated in the Chosen Vale International Percussion Seminar in New Hampshire under the instruction of Michael Burritt, James Culley, Matthew Duvall, Colin Currie, Tim Feeney, Doug Perkins, and Cynthia Yeh with composer-in-residence John Luther Adams. At this festival, Ball performed the world premiere of Tim Feeney's percussion sextet Glossolalia. This forty-minute exploration of sound is currently being mastered for its release on an upcoming album from Feeney, a founding member of the trending percussion quartet, So Percussion.
In 2013, Ball was a performance fellow at the nief-norf Summer Festival where he worked hand-in-hand with composer Bryan Christian on his piece, Combination, for percussion, cello, and live electronics. At this festival, he also worked with renowned composer Lewis Nielson on his highly demanding percussion sextet, Tocsin.
In October of 2013, Ball toured with the nief-norf Project on their 7-city tour, which included stops in Asheville (NC), Atlanta (GA), Chattanooga (TN), Cincinnati (OH), Columbia (SC), Knoxville (TN), and Lexington (KY). This performance tour highlighted Michael Gordon's evening-length work, Timber, scored for 6 wooden simantras.
In 2012, Logan travelled to Indianapolis, IN with the UT Percussion Ensemble for the world premiere of Matthew Burtner's telematic opera, Auksalaq. Ball has also been heard performing with the UT Wind Ensemble at the American Bandmaster's Association (ABA) Annual Convention, at Carnegie Hall with the ETSU Wind Ensemble, where he was the principal percussionist from 2010-2012, and with the 2012 TN PAS All-Collegiate Percussion Ensemble directed by She-e Wu. His arrangements have also been featured at the Percussive Arts Society International Convention's (PASIC) Marching Percussion Festival. He is currently involved in several consortiums for commissioning works by Steven Snowden, Elliot Cole, Steve Gisby, and Lucas Garner.
Logan earned his Bachelor of Music degree from East Tennessee State University in Johnson City, Tennessee under the instruction of Dr. Rande Sanderbeck. He has also had the privilege of receiving additional instruction from Dr. Gary Sousa, Dr. Andy Harnsberger, Dr. Christian Zembower, George Willis, Teddy Holcomb, Clark Harrell, and Mickey Burmer.
Logan is proud to be an Innovative Percussion Education Artist and PAS Student Delegate.