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