Blue Knights Announce Color Guard 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.

Today we highlight our Color Guard Designers and Color Guard Caption leadership.

Jaycee Wilson will return as the Color Guard Caption Head and Designer for the Blue Knights Drum & Bugle Corps. Jaycee comes from California’s Central Valley, and is now located in Salt Lake City, Utah. He began his marching arts career playing the clarinet in elementary school, which he still plays today. Jaycee found his passion for color guard while attending Clovis High School in 2004, and since then has marched with the Blue Devils Drum & Bugle Corps Color Guard from 2006 to 2010, Rhapsody Independent from 2005, 2007 to 2008, and Imbue Winterguard from 2009 to 2013.

Jaycee served as the Assistant Caption Head and Lead Technician at Bluecoats Drum & Bugle Corps from 2014 to 2017, and has designed for many other programs across the United States such as Clovis West HS, Clovis North HS, and American Fork HS.

Currently, Jaycee is the Color Guard Caption Head and Choreographer for the Blue Knights
Drum & Bugle Corps since 2019, Staging/Drill Designer, Choreographer, and Instructor for
Imbue Winterguard since 2010, Staging/Drill Designer for American Fork Winter Guard since 2015, and Staging/Drill Designer for Wasatch Independent since 2015.

Tommy Keenum will return as a Program Consultant for the Blue Knights Drum & Bugle Corps. He helps coordinate their visual and musical presentation and is also responsible for uniform, costume, flag design and production in partnership with The Band Hall.

Tommy graduated from the University of Texas at Arlington where he received his BA in music. He was drum major of the marching band and an all-state saxophonist in high school. He was in the rifle line of the 1983 Sky Ryders as well as Odyssey winter guard in 1983 and 1984.

Tommy is also an accomplished singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist who splits his time between heading the design department at The Band Hall and performing across the country as a solo artist and side man for many top acts. His songs have been recorded by numerous artists including a grammy award nominee and he is a past winner of the Billboard International Songwriting Competition.

In his thirty plus years in the pageantry arts Tommy helped design beloved shows for numerous groups including The Sky Ryders, The Cadets, Santa Clara Vanguard, Phantom Regiment, Carolina Crown, and currently the Blue Knights. He helped create shows for numerous winter programs including Odyssey, Final Analysis, Forte, Blue Devils, Crestview HS, Chimeras, Pride of Cincinnati, Carmel HS, Center Grove HS, Music City Mystique, and Aimachi color guard and percussion. He lives in Nashville Tennessee.

Jay Murphy will also be assisting in color guard design for the Blue Knights as part of his role in overall visual design.

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