Alumni Spotlight: Kristine Porter

What year(s) did you march in the Blue Knights?
6 years 2006-2011

What section? Colorguard
Where did you attend high school? I grew up in Piedmont, Oklahoma, and graduated from Piedmont High School. Education beyond high school? I earned my Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education at the University of Central Oklahoma in 2012.

What is your current occupation?
I am a 5th grade Science, Social Studies, & STEM teacher in Pauls Valley, Oklahoma I also am the guard director at Purcell High School and most recently started a side business as a cookie artist.

Why did you choose to march with the Blue Knights?
I originally planned to audition for another corps only because I had a friend who marched there. Once I went to the camp, I almost instantly realized I was not a fan of their style and rehearsal etiquette. I thought I wasn’t going to march that summer until another friend talked me into trying out for BK. I auditioned late at April camp and ended up being offered an alternate position. I accepted, worked very hard, then was moved into a full-time position during all-days. I loved the family atmosphere and the rest is history!

What is your favorite drum corps memory?
After spending 6 years with the corps, there are truly too many to count! I love when random memories pop into my head and I get to tell my students about the stories and experiences. How have the Blue Knights impacted your life? I was always surrounded by such talented people, staff & members alike. There was something new to learn every day, whether it was a new skill, how to be a better leader, or how to teach more efficiently & effectively. I have taken these skills that I learned from others back home with me and use them not only when I teach guard but in my elementary classes as well.
What are some of the Blue Knights’ core values/principles that have resonated with you in life?

I marched during a span of years with some big staff changes. Several things would change in the corps throughout these years, but the high standard we held ourselves to and our perseverance as a corps never faltered even when times were difficult. I believe that this high standard is something I still aim to achieve in all I do.

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

You never know until you try! Go for it! Make new friends, and don’t be scared to ask for help! The staff wants to see you be a great, hardworking student with a positive attitude. And of course, have a blast while you’re there!

How would you like to see other Blue Knight alumni get involved in the organization?
I know we aren’t all able, but when you can volunteer if the corps is near you on tour. Visit rehearsals and go to performances to cheer on and meet the new members. Pass on your advice to anyone interested in marching in the future.

 *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?

Yes, I did! I absolutely loved being able to meet, make memories, and build friendships with other BK and OPE Alumni. My favorite memory is probably being able to spin with one of my former staff members, Roger Saint Vincent. I especially loved the moment when we got to share a hug mid-show.

 

∴ Want to be featured in a future Alumni Spotlight? Email us at 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