Ascend Visits Music Conferences in Texas, Colorado and Utah


DENVER, CO- Ascend Performing Arts recently attended three state music conferences, having a booth and an appearance at Colorado Music Educators Association, Texas Music Educators Association and Utah Music Educators Association.

Ascend Performing Arts held a promotional booth in the exhibit hall of the three different conferences, and reached out to hundreds of students and educators, speaking about the “4 E’s” of Ascend Performing Arts, the success of the Blue Knights Drum Corps, as well as speaking about upcoming Spark! Ideas Conference and BKXperience Clinics.

Colorado Music Educators Association (CMEA)

At the Colorado Music Educators Association (CMEA) conference, Director of Operations GM Kuzma recorded a video in front of the Ascend Performing Arts Booth and spoke about the Four E’s of Ascend.

The first “E” stands for “Ensembles” that Ascend runs, which include the Blue Knights Drum and Bugle Corps, and the Blue Knights Percussion Ensemble.

The second “E” stands for ” Events”, referencing the major events that are led by Ascend, Drums Along the Rockies, Corps Encore and the Friendship Cup Marching Competition.

The third “E” stands for “Entertainment”, including the Broncos Brass and Stampede drumline which performs at Denver Broncos games, and specialty Blue Knights groups, such as the ensemble performing in Bahrain this April for Formula One, last year’s show in Vail, Colorado and a previous trip to Taiwan.

The last “E” stands for “Education”, a leading influence in Ascend’s appearances at these conferences. Ascend stands for education through Spark! An Ideas Conference for music educators who want to participate in professional development, as well as BKXperience Camps, for middle school, high school and college students to experience a day in the life of drum corps. Both of these events will be available at Drums Along the Rockies this coming summer on July 15 and at Corps Encore on July 12.

While at CMEA, Blue Knights alumni Rebecca Coffee was named “Outstanding Student Teacher” for her work student teaching in Colorado. Rebecca recently graduated from the University of Northern Colorado and completed her student teaching underneath the guidance of Orlando Otis at Legend High School.

Utah Music Educators Association (UMEA)

Ascend Performing Arts Executive Director Mark Arnold and John Ryszka made an appearance at the Utah Music Educators Association last month, where Mark presented the return of Spark! An Ideas Conference and spoke about BKX-Perform! being moved to Utah for the first time.

Mark also talked about the Corps Encore drum corps show on July 12 and the stellar line-up scheduled to appear at Weber State University this summer.

John Ryszka is Blue Knights Drum & Bugle Corps Alum 1998, 1999, & 2001,  and is now Director of Wasatch High School Bands at Wasatch High School.

Texas Music Educators Association (TMEA)

TMEA was the largest of the three conferences and an estimated 25 thousand attendees strolled through the exhibition hall where the Blue Knights booth was held!

Blue Knights Alumni Alex Factor led a call out for BK alumni for a group picture  at TMEA and to talk about the 2018 Alumni Corps! Blue Knights alumni ranged from recent age outs and members to those from the early 90’s!

Alex and Ken Adams also helped to promote the “Buy A Dot” campaign and continued to build the Blue Knights Alumni network.

“Going to TMEA earlier this month was not only a great experience for me personally as a musician, but as the Alumni Coordinator for Ascend,” said Alex. “It was great to reconnect with alumni who were still connected with the organization as well as meeting alumni who weren’t currently in our network.”