In 1953, the first boy to signup to become a Northernaire, or more correctly a member of the D.A.R Boys Club Drum & Bugle Corps, was Mickey Pichette.
The person who came up with the name Northernaires was Rick Sonntag in 1958.
In 1970, the corps opened its ranks to girls. The first girl to sign-up was Eileen Quick. Gloria Meyer was number two.
The person who spent the most years as a marching member of the Northernaires was Terry Heckle, 12 years as drum major. Tom Ennis spent the second most, 11 years as soprano.
The first marching member of the corps who was married was Gene Nason. Chris Wellner was the second.
The Northernaires won the first contest in which they ever competed in 1956.
In the early 60's the color guard became the honor guard at Robert and Roberta Tordeur's wedding. Bob was the corps' assistant business manager in the '50s and '60s.
Seven corps members marched more then one position during their years with the corps; Rick Sonntag,baritone, tenor, and soprano, Punky Pesola, baritone and drum major, Jack Fisher, soprano and drum major, John Schneider, glockenspiel and baritone, Doug Klatt, color guard and snare, Ted Decker, cymbals and bass drum, Chris Wellner, soprano, bass drum, triple tenor, snare, baritone, contra, drum major, color guard sergeant, and winter color guard. Does anyone know of somebody else who did the same?
In 1982, when Chris Wellner was drum major, no snare drummers showed up for a parade in Coleman, WI. Chris strapped on a snare and played the entire parade in his white, drum major, "Zulu" uniform.
Bruce, David, and Robbie Hultgren were the only three brothers to march in the same section and same year, 1967 bugle section.
The Northernaires were the first unit to perform at halftime in the very first league game at Green Bay's Lambeau Field in 1958. The full show was broadcast on CBS.
The Northernaires were the only corps to be at the Appleton Americanos' Fiesta Musicana de los Americanos show from 1959 through 1967.
Approximately 1600 young men and women passed through the ranks of the Northernaires during their 32 year existence as a junior corps. Can you name brother, sister, and brother/sister combinations who marched with the Northernaires over those 20 years? Here's what various alumni can remember...so far.
There were a few uncle/nephew/niece combinations to have marched with the Northernaires.
The only three generation family to march with the Northernaires is the Wellners. In the picture, that's grandson, Tyler, on the left, father, Guy, in the middle, and son, Chris, on the right. They marched with the 2009 Arena Corps.
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Northernaires Drum and Bugle Corps