Blue Knights Announce Brass Leadership for 2020 Season

DENVER – The Blue Knights Drum & Bugle Corps has a long history of innovative design and musically driven programing. We are a drum corps unafraid to take risk in creating an environment where our members thrive as they create the unique Blue Knights’ “voice”.

From the likes of George Zingali, Jim Prime, Ralph Hardimon, Rob Billings, Marc Sylvester, Mike Jackson, Kevin Shah, Tommy Keenum, Jay Murphy and Jay Bocook, the Blue Knights have always attracted the most forward thinking and creative minds in the activity to join our members in bringing our voice to life. These are individuals who take artistic risks. Our culture encourages this, and in 2020 the Blue Knights will continue to build upon this enduring principle.

Throughout the coming week we will be highlighting our team of designers and the educational leadership who will join our members in creating our 2020 program.

Today we highlight our Brass Caption Arranger/Composer and Brass Caption leadership.

We are excited to announce Mr. Leslie Gilreath (bio) as our Brass Arranger. Mr. Gilreath is one of the most up and coming musical composers in the country and is a graduate of Furman University where he studied conducting and orchestration with Jay Bocook. His compositions have been performed globally and most notably at the prestigious Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinic.

In 2018, his “Only Light, Only Love” was performed at the Midwest Clinic by the Cobb Wind Symphony, Alfred Watkins, conductor, and “In My Perfect Place” was performed by the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Wind Symphony, Alex Kaminske, conductor.

Continuing in his 11th year with the Blue Knights organization, Mr. Jay Bocook (bio) will be joining Mr. Gilreath as the Blue Knights Musical Consultant and will be working in tandem to create the Blue Knights brass book.

“Leslie is a brilliant young composer who will thrive in the Blue Knights organization”, stated Jay Bocook. “It will be a rewarding experience to work alongside him in 2020.”

Mr. Gilreath added, “I look forward to working closely with my mentor, teacher, and dear friend, Jay Bocook, in continuing the Blue Knights’ dedication to musical excellence and contributing to their fresh, forward-thinking perspective. I am beyond excited to be a part of the Blue Knights organization!”

The Blue Knights are thrilled to announce the return of Keith Tye (bio) as our our Brass Caption Head in 2020.

“Keith is a very dynamic leader of the brass caption who focuses upon the member experience as well as the development of the musician,” said Mark Arnold, Chief Executive Officer, Ascend Performing Arts. “Keith’s work to develop the Blue Knights brass into one of the most musical horn lines in the activity speaks for itself. He is an obvious fit for creating and expanding upon the musical voice of the Blue Knights.”

Return each day to AscendPerformingArts.org this week for more announcements on the Blue Knights team.


∴ Come home to the Blue Knights in 2020! Click the button below to register for a BKXperience-Audition! Clinic:

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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