Blue Knights Announce 2020 Color Guard Staff

DENVER, CO – Blue Knights Drum & Bugle Corps is excited to announce the Color Guard Staff for the 2020 season!


Jaycee Wilson – Caption Head/Designer/Choreographer

Jaycee Wilson is originally from Clovis, CA, where he began his marching arts career. Jaycee performed with Clovis High School from 2003 to 2006, Rhapsody Independent from 2005, 2007-2008, Imbue Winterguard from 2009-2013, and The Blue Devils Drum & Bugle Corps from 2006-2010.

Since then, Jaycee has continued with designing, instructing, choreographing, and consulting for many groups across the United States, and internationally as well.

He served as the Assistant Caption Head and Lead Technician at The Bluecoats Drum & Bugle Corps from 2014-2017.

Jaycee has been the staging/drill designer as well as a choreographer and instructor for Imbue Winterguard since 2010.

Currently, Jaycee resides in Salt Lake City, Utah where he is a designer, choreographer, and instructor for American Fork High School and Wasatch Independent. Jaycee also serves as the Color Guard Director at the University of Utah during the Fall.


Emily Yraceburu – Instructor

Emily Yraceburu began her color guard career at Clovis North High School and finished her high school color guard career at Mission Viejo High School. After high school, Emily marched Imbue Winterguard from 2014-2019 and marched Bluecoats drum corps in 2015 and 2016.

Emily now teaches at Imbue and has taught several schools in Southern California, including currently working at Sunny Hills High School.

She has a B.S. in Child Development and B.A. in Women and Gender Studies from CSU Fullerton. In May, Emily will be graduating fro Claremont Graduate University with an M.A. in Cultural Studies.


Chance Webb – Instructor 

Chance Webb started his color guard career his sophomore year at Patrick Henry High School, located in San Diego, CA. After graduating in 2014, he auditioned for Vox Artium Winterguard, where he marched from 2015-2017, while also serving as captain during the 2017 season.

In 2018 and 2019, he marched with Imbue Winterguard in Modesto, CA. Chance also marched with the Bluecoats Drum and Bugle Corps in 2016 and 2017.

Besides performing, Chance has an incredible passion for teaching. He considers himself very lucky to have worked with a number of different programs throughout the San Diego area. He is extremely excited to return to the Blue Knights!


Jacob Tortorete – Instructor/Choreographer 

Jacob Tortorete has been a performer for the Blue Devils (2012 – 2017) and Imbue Winter Guard (2014 -2019), and has studied other specific forms of movement training and performance art. During his time as a performer, he has cultivated a unique, creative language with the various designers and instructors, which has helped develop his artistic voice and direction of instruction. He has since become an instructor and joined the design team at Imbue as well as The Blue Knights (2019).

In addition, Jacob choreographs and designs for international independent winter programs, Blue Winter Guard from Germany and Dynamic Winter Guard from Canada. Jacob has assisted in several movement and equipment clinics across the nation, as well as instructs for Mayfair High School in Lakewood, California. Jacob also assisted a presentation at the first annual WGIcon in 2019 to demonstrate an inside look at some of the techniques he and his business partner have developed and utilized alongside the other designers and performers of Imbue.

Jacob is also a recent graduate of the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising, acquiring a degree in Visual Communications. He currently resides in Long Beach, CA and works as a Visual Merchandiser in Los Angeles. Jacob has been able to use his training and expertise to enhance the costuming and design choices of his pageantry teams.


Austin Katona – Instructor

As a native of San Diego, California, Austin started his performing career at a young age in dance, gymnastics and theater. Austin joined his high school’s color guard during his sophomore year, and performed with Gold Drum and Bugle Corps the following summer.

He continued pursuing his love for the drum corps activity by marching Bluecoats from 2012 to 2016. During the winter season, Austin performed with Vox Artium Winterguard from 2012 to 2015, Bluecoats Indoor in 2018, the Pride of Cincinnati in 2017 and 2019, and the POC Dance Ensemble in 2020. Austin currently serves as a member of the Board of Directors for Pride Youth Development Foundation.

Austin graduated from UC San Diego with his bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry in 2016. He resides in Cincinnati, Ohio, where he is pursuing his MS in Nutrition from University of Cincinnati. Austin is excited for his second summer with the Blue Knights, and cannot wait to get the season started!


Lauryn Heller – Instructor

Lauryn Heller is thrilled to return for her 5th season with the Blue Knights. Lauryn has experienced the world of the marching arts from a very young age, particularly because of her mother’s influence. She attributes much of her success to her 8 years performing with the WGI A class finalist Haddon Heights HS “High Voltage” color guard program and its exceptional staff (2002-2009). After high school, Lauryn marched indoor color guard with The Light Brigade (2010), Alter Ego (2011, 2012), and The Black Watch (2014, 2016). Additionally Lauryn marched 6 years in The Cadets Color Guard (2008-2013).

Lauryn’s instructional and creative experience includes Haddon Heights HS (2010- Present), Washington Township HS (2011- 2019), Bridgewater Raritan HS (2020) Surge Independent (2016- Present), The Cadets (2014, 2015), The Black Watch (2017,2018, 2020) Bushwackers (2016 – Present), Blue Knights (2016 – Present), and other programs in the New Jersey area.

By day, Lauryn works in an elementary special education program as an instructional aide. On nights and weekends, she is working with multiple marching arts organizations. Lauryn is truly looking forward to 2020 with the Blue Knights Color Guard and Staff!


Pete Marquez-Johnson – Instructor

Pete Marquez-Johnson grew up in West Covina, CA where he performed with his high school color guard for four years. Upon graduating, Pete fell in love with drum corps and the sport of the arts after his first DCI experience with The Boston Crusaders in 2007 and his first WGI experience with Corona Winterguard in 2008.

Since then, he has had the opportunity to perform with The Blue Stars in 2008, The Cadets in 2010, Corona Winterguard from 2008 to 2011 and most recently, Imbue Winterguard from 2015 to Present.

Pete has been teaching color guard as both a designer/choreographer and technician in the Southern California area since 2009. He has worked with the color guards at many schools including Sunny Hills High School, South Hills High School and Ayala High School. He currently works with Vista Murrieta HS in Murrieta, CA. Pete has also had the opportunity to work with The Academy’s color guard in the summers of 2014 and 2015, and joined the Bluecoats on the road in 2016 and 2017. This will be Pete’s second summer with the Blue Knights color guard.

Pete currently resides with his husband Sergio Marquez-Johnson in Riverside, California.


Shavon Garcia – Choreographer

Shavon Garcia is from the Central Valley of California, and began her pageantry performance at Riverbank High School, followed by the Santa Clara Vanguard Cadets and then The Santa Clara vanguard.

Shavon began teaching color guard at her alma mater for 6 successful years. She was also a technician for the Beyer High School World Class Color Guard from 2001-2003. Shavon also became the color guard director and designer for Beyer from the Fall of 2005 through the Spring of 2008. She was also the Director of the CSU Fresno Color Guard for 7 years.

Shavon worked as a designer and instructor for the Vanguard Cadets, intermittently between the years of 2002 to 2009. She was also the Color Guard Caption Head, designer, and interim Corps Director of Fever Drum & Bugle Corps. With Fever, she created a successful independent winter guard that received a WGI bronze medal in the A class.

From 2014 through 2017, Shavon was the Color Guard Caption Head for the Bluecoats Drum & Bugle Corps.

Shavon is the founder of the WGI world class finalist, and 2014 bronze medalist, Imbue Winterguard. Currently, she remains the director, designer, and instructor for Imbue.

Shavon has continued instructing, designing, choreographing, and consulting for many successful high school and independent programs throughout California.

Shavon has been the Vice President of the CVGPC since 2008, has served on the WGI Advisory Board, Board of Directors, and Steering Committee.

Shavon resides in Modesto, CA and holds a BA in Psychology, which not only expands her ability as an educator, but allows her to pursue work in other realms of her passion.


∴ Blue Knights Drum & Bugle Corps and its staff, visit HERE!

∴ Blue Knights 2020 summer national tour, visit HERE!

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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

MARK ARNOLD

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.

Outside of Ascend Performing Arts i am Senior Account Executive for Baxter HealthCare.
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”!!! 

Neil Corvino

NEIL CORVINO

Board member Kathy Black is an attorney in New Mexico practicing as a full-time litigator focused on employment and civil rights defense. She came to the law as a second career after twenty-five years in high tech with NCR Corporation, doing everything from operating systems programming to Vice President positions in engineering, customer services, and sales. She earned her JD from Lewis & Clark Law School and her BA from the University of Colorado, Boulder. Ms. Black is active as a percussionist in the Albuquerque area. Way back in 1978 she marched with the Guardsmen, including at DCI Finals in Denver.  After many years of being just a drum corps fan, she was elected to the Drum Corps International Board of Directors in January 2016 and served on that board until January 2022, including three years as chair. 

Kathy Black

KATHY BLACK

Bryant’s path to the Ascend Board of Directors, which began in 2021 as a member-at-large, traces back to his childhood. Watching the Reading Buccaneers senior drum corps practice near his grandparents’ home ignited a lifelong passion, and a student of all thing’s percussion.

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

BRYANT RANKIN

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.

Janet Archibeque

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.

Rob Batchelder

Rob BATCHELDER