pioneer band

On Friday, Sept. 10, Student Leadership, Involvement, & Community Engagement (SLICE) will be hosting the East Campus Street Dance at 9 p.m. in collaboration with the Engler Entrepreneurial Program. The event will feature PIONEER, a cover band made up of University of Nebraska-Lincoln alumni. 

According to Hailey Coufal, lead singer of PIONEER, the group got its origins in college, when the four boys, Colin Frye, Matthew Brugger, Joseph Brugger and Logan Dickey, played cymbals together for the Cornhusker Marching Band and started making music together on the side. However, she said PIONEER really got going when twins Matthew and Joseph met Coufal through the Engler Entrepreneurial Program. 

“They didn’t know I could sing until they got to know me a little bit more,” Coufal said. “They just asked if I wanted to jam out one time. I came to a rehearsal with the guys, and it just kind of started from there.” 

Soon after, Coufal said, they were interested in finding a piano player for the band. They looked around and ended up choosing Emi Wolfe, who was Joseph’s girlfriend at the time and dabbled around in piano. 

As a cover band, PIONEER plays music from all different genres. According to Coufal, some of their most played genres include pop, folk, country, rock and blues. Despite their current status as a cover band, Coufal says the band has started making their own music that they are hoping to record in the next couple of months. 

“We all come from different musical backgrounds,” Coufal said. “We don’t limit ourselves, and play what everyone wants to hear. When it comes to writing music, we’re still discovering what kind of sound we want the world to hear, but right now we’re a little bit country.”

As UNL graduates from 2018 to 2021, the band members are currently putting their degrees to use and working a variety of jobs in the Lincoln community. According to Coufal, PIONEER is their current side job for fun, but they’d love to make it their career someday. 

“I think it’s that time in our life where we’re all just figuring out our passions and what we want to do for the rest of our lives,” Coufal said. “But we’ve all kind of said, ‘if the band took off in two, five, 10 years, we’re ready. Let’s hop on the bus.’”

The campus community can enjoy PIONEER’s live performance on the East Campus Mall. Reshell Ray, associate director for programs and events, encouraged students to make the most of PIONEER’s performance and the open spaces of East Campus. 

Coufal says she is excited to be able to provide students with the opportunity to have a fun night on campus, especially in spite of the craziness of the past year. 

“It’s going to be a good time,” Coufal said. “In the midst of COVID and all the things that have been happening in our lives, it’s time to get out, it’s time to live life. I think a street dance and being with your friends, while being COVID conscious, is the best way to do it.”