Alumni Spotlight: Ricky Grasso
What is your name: Ricky Grasso
What year(s) did you march in the Blue Knights?
2014: Trumpet, Rookout
2015: Administrative Staff
2016, 2017, 2018: Tour Director
Present – Administrative Consultant
Trumpet, then administrative 🙂
Where did you attend high school?
Newtown High School – Sandy Hook, CT
Education beyond high school?
University of Bridgeport (Bridgeport, CT) B.A. Mass Communications, concentration: Advertising & Public Relations
University of Bridgeport (Bridgeport, CT) MBA in Marketing
*Semester Abroad, Fall 2013 – John Cabot University (Rome, Italy)
What is your current occupation?
Marketing Manager for Reed Exhibitions (Norwalk, CT) – PGA Golf Shows & National Hardware Show
On the side, I am the Head of Visual & Overall Design for the Newtown High School Band Program (Sandy Hook, CT) and direct the Newtown Open Percussion in the Winter Season
Why did you choose to march with the Blue Knights?
Honestly, it was a coincidence! I had every intention to skip my age out and DCI experience altogether. I had a failed attempt back in 2012 upon trying to enter the DCI activity, it was, in fact, my weight. In those two years, I dropped 100 pounds and explored Europe for a few months! Coming home I auditioned one more time at a different organization, got cut, and Ken Adams reached out to see if I wanted to March the Blue Knights! It was May, a week before Spring Training and I said YES!
What is your favorite drum corps memory?
It would have to be July 4, 2014. The corps was parked just outside of Seattle at a beautiful school surrounded by the beauty of the Pacific Northwest. That day was also the day we finished the show for the first time. During the end of our first full run-through fireworks started to go off behind the field, it’s like it was planned for that exact moment. I get chills thinking about it. Hugging your sweaty friends, after working so hard to complete the product and to just look towards the mountains and see fireworks popping off – indescribable.
How have the Blue Knights impacted your life?
It’s a loaded question because quite frankly the Blue Knights are a part of me. Being with the corps for five consecutive years as both a member and someone at the helm of leading a national tour, the best word to describe my experience is confidence. As a member, it was losing all the weight, and knowing that I am good enough, I am worthy enough to be here. As a Tour Director, I learned that I can handle more than I think I can, in the most incredibly stressful moments of my life I turn back to situations on the road, and how I had to be quick and decide the fate of the other 200 people that were looking at me for the answer.
What are some of the Blue Knights’ core values/principles that have resonated with you in life?
Kindness. It’s funny, our activity sometimes isn’t so nice – people have egos and make you feel uncomfortable in the activity you love the most. As a member, every staff member treated me with love and respect, and above all else gave me a quality education in my marching years. As a director, I always made sure everyone was treated with respect and kindness. In real life – it’s so hard to find people who are just genuinely kind and have no secret agenda, and I really learned about kindness being on the road with the Blue Knights, I take it with me every day.
What advice would you tell someone considering trying out for the Blue Knights?
Volunteer on tour!!!!! If you can take a long weekend off, hop on the road and drive a van, cook a meal. If you can take a week, even better! Every volunteer HELPS!