Alumni Spotlight: Aaron Greco

What year(s) did you march in the Blue Knights?

1994

What section?

3rd Soprano bugle!

Where did you attend high school?

Cañon City High School

Education beyond high school?

I have a Bachelor of Arts in Humanities from Fort Lewis College in Durango.

What is your current occupation?

I work for the Colorado Department of Transportation as a Policy Analyst and a Local Government Liaison.  Prior to that I worked on Capitol Hill in Washington and in Colorado as a Congressional Aide. I’m also a candidate for Denver City Council (read more).

Why did you choose to march with Blue Knights?

My older brother marched with The Cadets in 1990 and I wanted to share in the experience.

What is your favorite drum corps memory?

There are so many moments to highlight.  The relationships, the fun, the challenge, the days when you feel like you’re in boot camp… they’re all meaningful memories. When 128 people are working together to deliver the best performance they can under lights, surrounded by echos of horns and drums, the buzz of the crowd, the smell of the grass and sweat… it’s the best.  Those moments when you can hear a pin-drop during a brief rest in the middle of a ballad or after some rifles are tossed in the air really stick with me, too.  I wish I could find a way to replicate the feeling of hearing a hornline during warmups at full blast- but there’s literally no way to do it without experiencing it live.  I guess that’s why I look forward to at least a show every year-to relive the memories and to salute the young people who have such a commitment to excellence.

How did your experience with Blue Knights benefit you in your chosen profession?

AaronGBK94One of the most important nuances of the Drum Corps experience is that most of the participants are coming-of-age.  They’re figuring out who they are.  Hormones are raging.  Emotional self-control and discipline is challenged.  I was challenged that summer in a way I had never been.  There were times when our section felt like the red-headed stepchildren of the corps, but we figured out ways to take pride in who we were and what we did.  We figured out how to contribute.  We valued our place in the organization while sometimes carrying a chip on our shoulders.  All us of were some of the best musicians coming out of our high school programs, and we were suddenly in the position where we had to learn less about standing out and more about being a cohesive unit.  Our section was incredibly close because of it.  We felt connected as Blue Knights to everyone, but we were especially dedicated to each other and looked closely after one another.

It’s obvious to highlight the benefits of teamwork, reaching for excellence, and esprit de corps.  It can be more difficult to talk about how you had to run extra laps because you were acting like a fool to get some girl’s attention, or how you got cornered by older members who thought you were too unruly.   For me these challenges are microcosms of what we deal with in adult life, on a grander scale, and from inverse perspectives.  Sometimes you’re the kid who has to run laps, sometimes you’re the one dolling out the punishment, sometimes you’re just watching and trying to survive.   I felt a great transformation between the beginning of the season and finals night.  I am forever grateful for that experience.   To this day, there isn’t a drum corps show that doesn’t make me tear up a little.

My experiences with the Denver Blue Knights taught me that moments of success can be achieved with sweat and discipline, but moments of greatness require love for the art.  If you can’t find the love for something you’re working hard on, you might want to consider working on something else!

Why are you running for City Council in Denver and what do you hope to accomplish?

AaronGrecoFamilyI’m running for City Council because I want my daughter, Rosemary, and her peers to grow up in a diverse, sustainable, and dynamic city. The City Council plays an important role in shaping Denver’s neighborhoods into vibrant areas with multimodal transportation access, universally accessible parks and recreation, thriving artistic and cultural resources, and bustling local business districts. I want to put my diverse experience in collaborating with communities across the state at every level of government to work for the benefit of all of Denver’s citizens.

As an aide to two U.S. Representatives from Colorado – Ed Perlmutter & John Salazar – I’ve worked across the state and in Washington to encourage partnerships, unify community voices, and develop policies to increase investments in public infrastructure, while preserving our most precious resources. Today, as a transportation professional, I work with Colorado communities to develop bicycle and pedestrian projects, road and bridge projects, and create greater access to a more robust public transit system.

As our city grows, we have to find progressive avenues to adapt and become a city of the future.  We can’t be afraid of the negative aspects of growth.  Rather, we should mitigate them and use growth as an opportunity to reinvest in our city’s infrastructure, with special emphasis on our transportation system.  Roads are becoming more congested every day, and this will likely never get any better.  The only way to provide for the mobility needs of Denver’s future is to make substantial new investments in public transit and connectivity infrastructure.  Coupled with this is the need for new housing options, but affordable and attainable.  I hope to help guide development along our transit corridors to ease the impact on our transportation system and incentivize the development of for-sale units.  I also hope to help facilitate a new conversation about new revenue streams for affordable housing.

Anything else you’d like to add?

We finally bought our Drums Along the Rockies tickets early this year and are jazzed to sit in the “good” seats.  I’m looking forward to seeing some folks there and to a great show! GO BK!

Visit:

– Aaron Greco For Denver on Facebook

Aaron Greco For Denver website


∴ Want to be featured in a future Alumni Spotlight? Fill out the Alumni Update form here or email: Alumni@AscendPerformingArts.org

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Ken Adams

KEN ADAMS

Mark Arnold is one of the longest-serving Directors in Drum Corps International, serving as Executive Director of the Blue Knights Drum & Bugle Corps since 1985 and as CEO of Ascend Performing Arts since 2010.

Under his leadership the Blue Knights organization has developed into one of the premier Drum and Bugle Corps in the history of the activity, recognized Internationally for excellence and innovation in the performing arts. Through the years the Blue Knights has expanded its programing and now serves thousands of young musicians and performers annually in multiple performing ensembles, events and educational programs under the umbrella of the Ascend Performing Arts.

In addition to shaping the course of Ascend Performing Arts, Mark also has played an integral role in the ongoing development and successes of Drum Corps International as a collective. He served as chairman of the DCI Board of Directors in 1994 and again from 2008 to 2013. Mark was honored as Corps Director of the Year in 2004, and was the inaugural recipient of the George Bonfiglio Chairman’s Award at the 2012 DCI World Championships, which is given to an individual each year who demonstrates extraordinary leadership and service on behalf of DCI and its performing drum corps.  Mark was inducted into the DCI Hall of Fame in 2014 and the Blue Knights Hall of Fame in 2019.

Prior to his position with the Blue Knights, Mark was the Assistant Director of the Troopers Drum and Bugle Corps from 1978 through 1983, serving alongside Director Jim Jones, one of the founders of Drum Corps International and an inaugural member of the DCI Hall of Fame.  Mr. Arnold has a degree in Music Education from the University of Wyoming and taught High School Music in Wyoming and Nebraska from 1979 through 1985.
Mark Arnold

MARK ARNOLD

Scott Factor has served on the Ascend Performing Arts Board from 2012 to 2018 as a voting member in various positions including Vice-Chairman. Since 2019 my role has been in an Advisory position.

Outside of Ascend Performing Arts i am Senior Account Executive for Baxter HealthCare.
Scott Factor

SCOTT FACTOR

I am currently an Ascend Board Member-at-Large.  I have been a volunteer with the Blue Knights since 2013.  I have been serving on the BoD since 2019.  I retired from the United States Postal Service in 2010.  Although I have never marched drum corps I am an avid fan of the activity and thoroughly support our members in any way that I can.  “We Go On”!!! 

Neil Corvino

NEIL CORVINO

Board member Kathy Black is an attorney in New Mexico practicing as a full-time litigator focused on employment and civil rights defense. She came to the law as a second career after twenty-five years in high tech with NCR Corporation, doing everything from operating systems programming to Vice President positions in engineering, customer services, and sales. She earned her JD from Lewis & Clark Law School and her BA from the University of Colorado, Boulder. Ms. Black is active as a percussionist in the Albuquerque area. Way back in 1978 she marched with the Guardsmen, including at DCI Finals in Denver.  After many years of being just a drum corps fan, she was elected to the Drum Corps International Board of Directors in January 2016 and served on that board until January 2022, including three years as chair. 

Kathy Black

KATHY BLACK

Bryant’s path to the Ascend Board of Directors, which began in 2021 as a member-at-large, traces back to his childhood. Watching the Reading Buccaneers senior drum corps practice near his grandparents’ home ignited a lifelong passion, and a student of all thing’s percussion.

Years later a family move to Colorado provided Bryant with a platform to display his passion, both on the stage with the nationally acclaimed Green Earth Percussion Ensemble and on the field as a snare drummer with the Blue Knights Drum & Bugle Corps until his age-out year in 1984.

In his professional career as the Senior Director of Strategic Accounts at Yokohama Tire Co., Bryant credits the principles instilled by the marching arts and years on tour for his success. On a personal level, the arts played an even larger role, where Bryant met his wife, Stephanie. The Rankin’s currently make their home in South Carolina, enjoying time with their grown children, two incredible grandchildren, and their beloved brown lab, Zoey.
Bryant Rankin

BRYANT RANKIN

Retired, Director, Office of Research and Analysis, Colorado Department of Revenue Ms. Archibeque served 26 years in the area of statistical analysis for the Colorado Department of Revenue and Colorado Department of Labor and Employment. Her skills in this area assist the board in developing a strategy for statistical analysis in the area of program evaluation. She has also been a significant volunteer managing and working with volunteers for the organization and will assist the board in understanding the complex nature of the organization. Her personal experiences as a minority and female can inform and promote a more inclusive environment and agenda for the projects that the board supports.

Janet Archibeque

JANET ARCHIBEQUE

Rob Batchelder was appointed to the Ascend Performing Arts Board of Directors in May 2023, and currently serves as Vice Chair. As a member of the Senior Foreign Service, Rob has represented the United States overseas in India, Poland, Germany, Argentina, Nicaragua, Jamaica, and Namibia during a diplomatic career spanning nearly 30 years. He currently serves as Managing Director for Visa Services in the State Department’s Bureau of Consular Affairs in Washington, DC. Rob marched in the Blue Knights hornline in 1987 and 1988, and he was Drum Major in 1989. He and his family live in Alexandria, Virginia, but his heart still yearns for Colorado.

Rob Batchelder

Rob BATCHELDER