Alumni Spotlight: Kensie Stallings

What years did you march in the Blue Knights?

I marched in 2013 and 2014

What section?

I was in the mellophone section

Where did you attend high school?

I went to high school in Boise, Idaho at Centennial High School

Education beyond high school?

I have a Bachelors in Geology and a Minor in Music

What is your current occupation?

I am currently an Interpretive Park Ranger at Grand Canyon National Park.

Why did you choose to march with the Blue Knights?

I chose to march with the Blue Knights because I wanted to challenge myself from the previous corps I had marched and I could see myself with the Blue Knights versus the rest of the top 12 corps. I had enjoyed their shows in the past and liked what the organization was about. At that point, I decided to audition and got contracted!

What is your favorite drum corps memory?

My favorite drum corps memory? That’s a hard one honestly, so many good ones! Definitely one of my favorites was the first time I marched finals night. I had been working hard to reach that point, overcoming doubting myself, and overcoming the doubters. Marching Finals that night helped me realize my potential, self-confidence, and self-worth. But also the fact of accomplishing such an amazing feat with amazing people.

How have the Blue Knights impacted your life?

The Blue Knights really taught me the importance of teamwork, that putting in the hard work is worth it, they gave me true self-confidence and taught me how to see my self-worth. That living life with hard work and determination is important, but to be yourself, to have fun, and to enjoy the little things is what is best.

What are some the Blue Knights’ core values/principles that have resonated with you in life?

The corps’ value that has and still resonates with me in life is providing and encouraging the growth and development of members on and off the field, as well as after they’ve aged out. That this organization isn’t just about marching and winning, but producing better people.  That value has positively changed my life well after I aged out with the Blue Knights and I will always take it with me.

What advice would you tell someone considering trying out for the Blue Knights?

Definitely try out! If you’re doubting yourself, still do it anyways. You’ll need to practice, practice, practice so you’re prepared. But it’s most important to be yourself and have fun. Don’t worry if you’re nervous, we all are, even the returning vets. At camps, make new friends. Some of the best friends I’ve made weren’t in the brass section, but many were. Also, don’t be afraid to say hi to the staff! And never be afraid to ask others and the vets for help. 

How would you like to see other Blue Knight alumni get involved in the organization?

I would like to see other alumni get involved in ways that they can as well as sharing their own voice on alumni happenings. I can understand it’s hard to do everything or go to events, but alumni don’t have to do all that to still be involved. Be active on Facebook, emails, newsletters, and keeping up with other alumni. They should do what they are able to do.

Did you perform in the 2018 Alumni Corps and what was your favorite memory from our 60th Anniversary of the corps and the 25th Anniversary of BKPE?

This is hard to just choose one! I’ll have to say two memories. One of my favorite memories was meeting up with members I marched with as well as meeting members I didn’t march with. Getting to know people and the corps through the years was awesome! Even though I didn’t march with most of them, it felt like I had marched with them and known them for years. My other favorite memory was getting to perform again, with all of the Blue Knights Alumni. I do miss performing music and marching so getting to do it again was a real treat, especially at the home show in Denver!

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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


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


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


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


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


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


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