About Ascend

What is Ascend Performing Arts?

About Ascend Performing Arts 

Since 1958, Ascend Performing Arts has become a multi-faceted, youth performing arts organization dedicated to elevating life performance through the pursuit of excellence. Ascend Performing Arts is recognized as the Rocky Mountain region’s most visible performing arts organization. Programs such as the internationally acclaimed Blue Knights Drum & Bugle Corps, the 4-time Winter Guard International Champion Blue Knights Percussion Ensemble, and Blue Knights Winds play an important role in providing high-caliber performance ensembles for thousands of youth performers each year. Ascend Performing Arts also produces the Broncos Stampede Drum Line and Broncos Brass to entertain tens of thousands of NFL fans at Denver Broncos home games every season. Educational programs such as the BKXperience allows students of a variety of performance levels to learn from the best educators in the marching arts activity. Ascend Events, such as the Drums Along the Rockies and Corps Encore drum corps shows and the Friendship Cup high school marching contests, provide a stage which showcases the world’s top young musicians at the highest level. For more information, please visit AscendPerformingArts.org or call (303) 777-1937 or email Info@AscendPerformingArts.org.


Since its inception in 1958 as a drum and bugle corps, the Blue Knights has developed into a multi-faceted youth performing arts organization which serves thousands each year.  Performing arts programs, educational outreach, and multiple performance events all speak to an organization that has evolved through time, meeting the needs of the Blue Knights and the community it serves.

In 2009, the Board of Directors of the Blue Knights Drum and Bugle Corps, a member of Drum Corps International, began the process of reorganizing to create a framework which would more accurately express the scope and impact of the Blue Knights Drum & Bugle Corps, better positioning the organization for future growth and funding. In 2010, after a thorough re-branding process, the Board of Directors announced Ascend Performing Arts as the name of their umbrella organization. Ascend Performing Arts is home to the Blue Knights Drum and Bugle Corps, Blue Knights Percussion Ensemble Programs and Event Management, such as Drums Along the Rockies, Corps Encore, and the Friendship Cup, an all-Colorado high school band competition.

Annually, Ascend Performing Arts programs and educational outreach clinics directly impact over 1,000 youth with hands-on instruction, and more than 3,400 students with the opportunity to attend and/or participate in our clinics and programs. In addition, over 15,000 people attended events developed and produced by Ascend Performing Arts. Combine this with two performing programs touring nationally, and the organization touches the lives of hundreds of thousands of people in one year alone.

Ascend Performing Arts Programs

The Ascend programs play an important role in providing for a higher quality of life.  Unlike the vast number of opportunities in sports, there are few extracurricular arts activities available in our schools today. Ascend programs provide a much-needed outlet for those interested in music and dance. The organization provides opportunities for musicians to expand their level of skills while developing them into contributing citizens. Some of the functions of Ascend include organizational support of the programs, such as finances, media relations, staffing and personnel management, supplies procurement, materiel storage and maintenance, service contracting, facilities leasing, scholarships, internships, staff development and continuing education, equipment sales and services for hire (e.g. show design, music arrangement, small ensembles for parties and events).

Blue Knights Drum & Bugle Corps
Blue Knights Indoor Percussion Ensemble
Blue Knights Winds
Ascend Educational Outreach Programs

The following programs are produced by Ascend Performing Arts, Inc. in partnership with the Denver Broncos.  Ascend recruits the players and are responsible for music and programming during home Bronco games. The Broncos pay a stipend to Ascend Performing Arts.

The Broncos Stampede Drum Line
The Broncos Brass Horn Line

Ascend Performing Arts Events

Ascend Events produce and sponsor the platforms upon which young people achieve excellence and produces important funds for general operation of the organization. Ascend Events include:

Drums Along the Rockies drum & bugle corps show, Denver, CO
Drums Along the Rockies-Boise drum & bugle corps show, Boise, ID
Corps Encore drum & bugle corps show
, Ogden, UT
The Friendship Cup Series Marching Band shows, Colorado

Program Accomplishments

Members of Ascend Performing Arts ensembles gain a transformational life experience through the lessons that competitive performance uniquely provides. Attendance at Ascend sponsored clinics and participation in one of our band competitions provides a large number of students an experience that rewards, motivates and inspires them to reach for higher levels of performance in all endeavors. And all Ascend sponsored events create an opportunity for anyone to support and celebrate the accomplishments of youth performance at the world-class level.

Inspired by their experience, many Ascend Performing Arts members touch the lives of students throughout the Denver Metro Area, nationally, and internationally. At the Colorado State Band Championships, 80% of the high school bands competing were instructed by individuals who received their training through Ascend Performing Arts programs. Countless others continue to share their passion by instructing high school bands, color guards, percussion ensembles and various other performance groups throughout the United States, Canada, Europe, and Asia.

Using skills gleaned through their participation, our former members have developed into effective leaders in the areas of music, becoming professional performers, instructors, and band directors at both scholastic and collegiate levels. Others have found great success in areas of business, finance, law, medicine, education, philanthropic and the military—up to the rank of Vice Admiral in the United States Navy.

All of these current and former members of Ascend Performing Arts programs mentor a love of music performance while instilling the discipline, work ethic, social and team- building skills necessary for success in life.  All youth have a need to belong. Unlike the vast number of opportunities in sports, there are few extracurricular arts activities available in our schools today. Ascend provides a much-needed outlet for those interested in music and dance.  The organization provides opportunities for musicians to expand their level of skills while developing them into contributing citizens.

» Read more about the Blue Knights Drum & Bugle Corps history and historical scores

» Read about the Blue Knights Percussion Ensemble history and historical scores.

Values: Instructional and Competitive Philosophy

“The mission of Ascend Performing Arts is to further the education and growth of young people through participation in high-caliber performing arts programs that promote teamwork and discipline, develop leadership skills, and enhance self-esteem.”

The Blue Knights organization strives to seek the highest caliber instructional staff to accomplish the stated goals of the organization. Throughout its history the Blue Knights has been blessed with an instructional staff which understands that the positive development of our youth participants is the vehicle for their own self-fulfillment. Our activities provide us with an unparalleled opportunity to make meaningful impacts upon the lives of our youth participants.

The youth who come to our organization, and the parents who send them, place in us the ultimate trust to do what is right for them.

A majority of our activities are, by their very nature, competitive. Each individual organization is responsible for developing and assimilating our philosophy to its members, staff, volunteers and parents, in the Blue Knights organizations. The philosophy of our units as competitive organizations is the sole responsibility of the upper management.

Our philosophy, simply stated, is to be as competitive as possible on our arena. Utilizing our Mission Statement as our foundation, through providing our membership with a quality program and a staff of skilled designers and instructors, competitive success will be a natural by-product of our endeavors.

In the Blue Knights, we define “winning” as doing the best possible job, both on AND off the field of competition. Competition can indeed be an ugly experience unless we keep in mind just who we are here for our members. In the face of our competitive battles, we expect our staff to never let their egos and personal goals supersede the goals of our organization.