Ascend Continues Focus on Members & Workplace Safety

DENVER, CO – Ascend Performing Arts places member and staff workplace safety in high regard when it comes to any and all forms of abuse or harassment. In February, the Ascend Performing Arts Board of Directors directed a complete review of all harassment and discrimination policies that impact all 4 E’s that support Ascend’s mission areas: Education, Ensembles, Events, and Entertainment.

“Our number one priority as a responsible organization is to ensure the safety and well-being of our members, students, administrative, educational staff, and volunteers,” said Darrell Griffin, Board of Director Chairman for Ascend Performing Arts. “We have a responsibility to ensure everyone who works or volunteers for Ascend and the Blue Knights always has a safe and supportive environment.”

The review and update of our policies and procedures are aligned with best practices across all of our youth organizations. Specifically, Ascend Performing Arts strongly supports a zero-tolerance policy regarding harassing or other improper behavior by its executive team, staff and/or marching members.

“In order for our support system to be effective, we must take a comprehensive approach with staff training, outlining behavior policies in our member handbooks, staff handbooks and volunteer handbooks,” said Griffin. “Background checks, compliance, training, and a continuous internal dialogue are all necessary to elevate the importance of safety, to raise our individual awareness, and to always insist on the most stringent behavior requirements when interacting with young people in our organization.”

Ascend Performing Arts has updated or introduced a number of policies including our whistleblower policy, staff, volunteer, and member handbooks, background check policy, and training requirements to provide more support to everyone involved in the organization to include those who partake in our Blue Knights ensembles.

Our support efforts are summarized below.


Given its mission, Ascend Performing Arts has developed a code of ethics to guide its board members, administrative and teaching staff, as well as volunteers in their conduct when acting on behalf of Ascend Performing Arts. 
At Ascend Performing Arts we believe in honesty, integrity, transparency, confidentiality and equality. We strive for excellence in all that we do. The organization, founded in 1958, has a proud history of helping young people become responsible adults through the lessons learned and promoted in our music programs. To maintain this tradition of giving it is imperative that all those associated with the organization exhibit ethical conduct in all that we do. This policy is not intended as a stand-alone policy rather, it is one element of a broader effort to create a starting point for defining the ethical practices that will best serve the organization while going forward.


The Ascend and Blue Knights member handbooks, staff handbooks, and volunteer handbooks have been revised to ensure that the policies contained within maintain relevance with the current state of our environment. For this season, we have introduced additional updates to emphasize the importance of an individual’s duty to report any violations of our policies and procedures (regardless of their status or position in the organization). Any individuals who have a question about our policy are encouraged to reach out to the ensemble director and executive director.


Ascend Performing Arts and the Blue Knights require all instructional staff, administrative staff, and volunteers to undergo a background check. This policy has been strengthened to apply to all individuals who spend more than one day with any of our Blue Knights ensembles.


Organization-wide training for all members, staff, and volunteers is occurs throughout the year, that will be required for participation with Ascend Performing Arts and the Blue Knights ensembles. The first of the in-person training sessions will be held during move-ins day for the Blue Knights Drum & Bugle Corps spring all days training.


Blue Knights alumni and family members are encouraged to join the drum corps’ annual Friends & Family Send Off Show in Denver, CO, to learn more about what the Blue Knights are doing to address these topics and how to support the effort.

For any questions or comments related to member or workplace safety, our policies, or our training, please contact executive director Mark at


In February 2018, Ascend Performing Arts formalized the whistleblower policy and reporting tool by making it available on the website, as reporting is an essential element when addressing our member and staff concerns and workplace safety.

While we aim for all those who come in contact with Ascend Performing Arts and the Blue Knights to feel unhindered and unthreatened in raising concerns, we recognize that it is essential to provide a confidential and anonymous option to submit such concerns to ensure we have the full opportunity to investigate and address any potential violations.


Since 1958, Ascend Performing Arts has become a multi-faceted, youth performing arts organization dedicated to elevating life performance through the pursuit of excellence.

Ascend Performing Arts is recognized as the Rocky Mountain region’s most visible performing arts organization. Programs such as the internationally acclaimed Blue Knights Drum & Bugle Corps, the 4-time Winter Guard International Champion Blue Knights Percussion Ensemble, and Blue Knights Winds play an important role in providing high-caliber performance ensembles for thousands of youth performers each year.

Ascend Performing Arts also produces the Broncos Stampede Drum Line and Broncos Brass to entertain tens of thousands of NFL fans at Denver Broncos home games every season.

Educational programs such as the BKXperience allows students of a variety of performance levels to learn from the best educators in the marching arts activity.

Ascend Events, such as the Drums Along the Rockies and Corps Encore drum corps shows and the Friendship Cup high school marching contests, provide a stage which showcases the world’s top young musicians at the highest level.


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