Alumni Spotlight: Matt Seltzer

Name:
Matt Seltzer

What year(s) did you march in the Blue Knights?
2005

What section?
Euphonium

Where did you attend high school?
Silverado High School, Las Vegas, Nevada

Education beyond high school?
Bachelor of Science in Marketing – University of Nevada-Las Vegas
Masters of Arts in I/O Psychology – Argosy University

What is your current occupation?
Senior Market Research Analyst, Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority; also Adjunct Faculty, Marketing, The Art Institute of Las Vegas; also I have a pretty successful freelance marketing business.

Why did you choose to march with the Blue Knights?
I marched with Pacific Crest Drum & Bugle Corps in 2004, and wanted to march with a more competitive corps. Blue Knights had a great show in 2004, and it really drew me to audition the following year.

What is your favorite drum corps memory?
Somewhere mid-season, Santa Clara Vanguard Drum & Bugle Corps and the Academy Drum & Bugle Corps (then Division II) met up with us at Pueblo High School in Pueblo, CO. We set up all three food trucks in a big triangle, and all three corps ate from each others trucks. We had a big meal together, then everyone suited up, and we played our shows for each other (full runs, not just stand stills). It was super casual and super fun, and made for a really fun drum corps experience.

How have the Blue Knights impacted your life?
I taught myself how to play the horn for the 2004 season with Pacific Crest, and in 2005 with Blue Knights I had to get even better at the horn, this time to learn bass clef (I was a clarinet player before this), and learn a completely new marching style.

I struggled, but I finished the season, made DCI Finals, performed for literally thousands of people in Gilette Stadium. Today, when I face challenges in my career, or with my family, or just in life in general, one of my biggest sounding boards is telling myself “look, you taught yourself a new instrument and performed it less than two years later at a huge venue in front of thousands of fans. You can definitely handle this!” (regardless of what “this” is).

What are some the Blue Knights’ core values/principles that have resonated with you in life?
Whatever you do in life, be a bad ass. Everything we did that summer, we told ourselves we were bad ass. That resonated in everything we did, whether it was performing the show, or doing warmups, or just walking to the field. We were Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman all rolled into one. We were awesome because we chose to be awesome. That’s a choice you can make in anything you do in life, and it has the exact same payoff.

What advice would you tell someone considering trying out for the Blue Knights?
Cherish the experience, whether you make the Blue Knights or not, whether you march or not, whether you make Finals or not, whether you love it or not. Cherish the experience. There is nothing on this planet quite like drum corps, and there’s no drum corps quite like the Blue Knights. However long your experience is with the corps, someday, there will be a time where you can’t do it anymore. When that time comes, the moments you cherished, the experience you cherished, will be some of the best and brightest parts of your life if you let it.

What are you looking forward to most about the 2018 Alumni Corps celebrating our programs’ 60th and 25th anniversaries?
I wish I could be a part of this, but my wife and I found out we were pregnant with our second daughter about a month after this was announced, and I just had to throw in the towel on practicing my horn again. What I’m looking forward to most is somehow sharing the experiences of drum corps with my daughters, and probably through live streaming, share Drums Along the Rockies with them so they can grasp even just a little of the amazing day in a Blue Knights’ summer that is Drums!

How would you like to see other Blue Knight alumni get involved in the organization?
We have Blue Knights all over the world. I’d love to see ambassadors from the corps connecting with younger members, or even other alumni.


∴ 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

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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.

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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”!!! 

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KATHY BLACK

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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

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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.

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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.

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Rob BATCHELDER