Alumni Spotlight: Lisa Crider

When I was asked to write about my experience as a Blue Knight, I really didn’t know where to start. I was honestly shocked that I was even selected due to my unique status with the organization, but I am truly honored to have the opportunity to share what amazing experiences and opportunities Blue Knights has provided me with.

As a Colorado native and someone whose family has always been involved in the band world, I had dreamed of wearing a Blue Knights uniform ever since I could remember. I grew up going to Drums Along the Rockies and being in awe of the talent and hard work each member possessed. When other circumstances got in the way of that dream and I aged out of marching WGI with Rise Percussion, my chance to put on those 10 white dots was gone. Little did I know that that was in fact incorrect.

The Denver Broncos Drumline may not be a marching ensemble with the Blue Knights, but I truly believe that by joining the Bassline in 2016 is what led me to where I got to go and where I am now. In 2017, Blue Knights were invited to be a performing part of the Bahrain Grand Prix opening ceremonies and with Broncos Stampede being an entity under Ascend Performing Arts, I was selected to join the ensemble. How does someone say no to that? Well, my answer is: You don’t. I expedited a valid passport with a horrible photo attached, started practicing the music, and thought of how lucky I was.

After a few rehearsals in Colorado and a uniform fitting, we were about to begin the journey of a lifetime. One long flight with a layover in Germany, we finally arrived and my hair said “no thanks” to the amount of humidity and heat in the air. We loaded up a tour bus with a broken A/C and headed to our hotel. The next few days contained rehearsals in the hottest temperatures I’ve ever practiced in. Blazing sun while marching around on a track meant for burning rubber gave me a glimpse into what I can only imagine every drum corps member has endured for months at a time. I may have been dehydrated, sunburnt, and exhausted, but I was also enjoying every minute of it. Memories with great people were created that I could never forget.

The sights of Bahrain were breathtaking, the food was so delicious, and the cultures were indescribable. I essentially got a mini-tour with a bunch of free days to experience. I know it isn’t nearly the same as a full drum corps summer, but it let me see my dream come true in a small way. This was the experience that made me truly appreciate all of the work and stamina Blue Knights Alumni and future members put forth every year.

Thank you to Blue Knights for giving me the chance to be a part of what I didn’t get to enjoy before aging out and allowing me to wear the uniform I always hoped to put on. I learned what a true community the drum corps and winter percussion world can be and has led to a promising part of the music culture.

At this point in time, I have been on the Board of Directors for Rocky Mountain Percussion Association for 2 years and have just been re-elected for another term. I currently work for an Urgent Care in Denver, assist with administrative needs with Rise Percussion, and help teach front ensemble at Legacy High School when I can find the time. An experience like going to Bahrain because of being a “band nerd” through and through, goes to show that music takes you to places you never could have imagined. Keep practicing and keep looking towards your unexpected journey even when the world says it’ll never happen.

– Lisa Crider
Blue Knights Bahrain/Broncos Stampede Drumline

∴ 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