Spark! Ideas Conference in 2017

DENVER, CO – The Spark! Ideas Conference is an exhilarating afternoon of creative inspiration designed for marching band directors, music instructors, college students; anyone who wants to refuel a passion for music performance and expand their professional network.

The conference is entering its 2nd year produced by Ascend Performing Arts that falls under Ascend Education. This year’s Spark! is sponsored in part by Jupiter BrassMapex PercussionMajestic Percussion and the Colorado Bandmasters Association.

Topics presented by Blue Knights design team and educational staff include:
  • Show Program Design
  • Electronics & Sound Design
  • Music Ensemble Techniques
  • Visual Techniques
  • and more!
There will be two sessions held this year (choose during online registration):
  1. Corps Encore: July 12, 2017 at Weber State University, Ogden, UT.
  2. Drums Along the Rockies: July 15, 2017 at Mile High Stadium, Denver, CO.

Detailed schedule will be emailed out to registered attendees. Here is the general timeline:

  • Check-in/Registration: 12:00pm
  • Conference: 1:00pm-5:00pm
The Spark! conference fee is $75 for general admission, $50 for university students includes:
  • Access to Spark! conference
  • A meal and refreshments

Parking: Download the Ogden parking pass here for Lot A9 or W7 and enter the Browning Center at Weber State University.  Download the Weber State University map here.

Conference Fee:
  • General Admission:
    • Early Bird (before June 30th): $75
    • At the Door: $85
  • Student Admission:
    • Early Bird (before June 30th): $50
    • At the Door: $60

Additional premium tickets for Corps Encore and Drums Along the Rockies can be purchased for Spark! guests not attending the conference. Contact to order your tickets for the following shows:

  • Corps Encore tickets ($30 value)
  • Drums Along the Rockies tickets ($85 value)

Conference Facilitators include:

  • JedWeeksJed Weeks currently serves as the Program Coordinator for the Blue Knights Drum and Bugle Corps. He was on the brass staff for the Santa Clara Vanguard from 1996-2003, serving as the brass caption head in 2002-2003. He was also a member of the Cavaliers brass staff in 1994, and the Sky Ryders in 1991. Jed earned his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from of the University of Houston and is currently in his fifth year as the Director of Bands at Byron Nelson High School in Trophy Club, Texas.
  • TommyKeenumSenJamCD-1-300x300Tommy Keenum is the Program Consultant for the Blue Knights Drum and Bugle Corps where he helps coordinate their visual and musical presentation. He is also responsible for the Blue Knights’ uniform, costume, flag design and production in partnership with The Band Hall in Nashville, TN. Tommy graduated from the University of Texas at Arlington where he was drum major of the marching band. In his +30 years in the pageantry arts Tommy helped design beloved shows for numerous groups including The Sky Ryders, The Cadets, Santa Clara Vanguard, Phantom Regiment, Carolina Crown, and currently the Blue Knights.
  • Mike-Jackson3Mike Jackson is the Percussion Arranger and Composer for the Blue Knights Drum & Bugle Corps. For over two decades, Mike has been writing, teaching and designing shows for some of the most nationally recognized percussion programs in the United States. These include Mission Viejo High School, Riverside Community College, Santa Clara Vanguard, and the Bluecoats. Mike is a co-founder and current board member for the Southern California Percussion Alliance. He also sits on the Board of Directors for Winter Guard International and was recently inducted into the WGI Hall of Fame.
  • KShah2Kevin Shah is the Music Coordinator, Percussion Composer/Arranger for the Blue Knights Drum & Bugle Corps. He is a member of the DCI Rules & Systems Task Force and WGI Percussion Steering Committee. Kevin holds a B.M. in percussion performance from UCLA where he studied with Mitchell Peters, and an M.M. in percussion performance from the Juilliard School of Music. As a percussionist, Kevin has performed with the Metropolitan Opera, the Pacific Symphony, and has traveled to Europe, South Korea, Japan, and Australia while performing with the UBS Verbier Festival Orchestra. Kevin owns and operates which features many of his works for marching band and indoor percussion ensemble.
  • Jay Bocook is the Brass Arranger for the Blue Knights Drum & Bugle Corps. Jay Bocook is internationally recognized as a composer, arranger, conductor, and educator. His works have been performed at the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles, the 1996 Centennial Olympic Games in Atlanta, and the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City. Currently he is working as the arranger for Blast! The Music of Disney, which will open in Tokyo, Japan in the summer of 2017. He remains a principal composer and arranger for Hal Leonard, where he has published over 600 arrangements and original compositions. Bocook served as arranger for the ten-time world champion Cadets Drum and Bugle Corps from 1993-2016, and currently serves in the same capacity for the Blue Knights Drum and Bugle Corps of Denver, CO. In 2009, he was inducted into the Drum Corps International Hall of Fame, and in 2011 he was elected into the American Bandmasters Associatio
  • JC-CaceresJuan Carlos Caceres is the Visual Designer and Choreographer for the Blue Knights Drum & Bugle Corps. He is a highly sought-after choreographer, designer and visual consultant. Juan Carlos has worked with dozens of Winter Guard International winter guards and indoor percussion ensembles and high school marching bands and a number of Drum Corps International groups including the Cadets, Madison Scouts, and the Bluecoats.
  • BradToth2Brad Toth is the Brass Caption Head for the Blue Knights Drum & Bugle Corps. Brad has been involved in music education for over 12 years as a band director and clinician in Texas. Brad has worked as an instructor with The Cadets for several years before coming to the Blue Knights in 2011 as a brass instructor. He is currently in his 6th year with Blue Knights and 4th year as the Brass Caption Head. Brad lives in Fort Worth with his wife Sara and teaches instrumental music at Byron Nelson High School in Trophy Club, Texas.
  • NeilAdkison - Version 2Neil Adkison is the Visual Caption Head for the Blue Knights Drum & Bugle Corps. Neil became involved with the drum corps activity in 1996 rocking a 2-valve soprano with the San Diego Earthquake. Two years later he made the Concord Blue Devils, where he spent the remaining 5 years of his marching career as a lead soprano. Upon aging out in 2002, Neil began instructing on the staff of the Santa Clara Vanguard, Carolina Crown, Madison Scouts and with numerous high school and college band programs. This will be Neil’s 2nd year serving as the visual caption head with the Blue Knights. This winter, Neil will be working with Rhythm X and Rhythm X Winds and is a full time teacher at the Warren County Learning Center in Franklin Ohio.
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