Blue Knights Announce Visual 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 Visual Design and Visual Caption leadership.

James Gow will be returning to the Blue Knights as the Visual Designer for the 2020 season. James is a Southern California native who began his marching career at Vista Murrieta HS before joining Pacific Crest Drum and Bugle Corps (2005-2006) and later going on to march with the Blue Devils Drum & Bugle Corps (2007-2010). As a drill designer, he has worked with Southwind Drum and Bugle Corps (2017-2018) and is the current visual designer for the Blue Knights (2018-present). He has served as drill designer for multiple high school programs around the country, including Green Hope, Warren, Etiwanda, Foothill, Temecula Valley, and Great Oak HS. James also designs visual programs for scholastic and independent winter drum lines and is currently a choreographer and visual instructor at Broken City Percussion as well as visual designer at Vessel Percussion. As an instructor, he has taught highly competitive groups in the Southern California area including Vista Murrieta, Mission Viejo, Etiwanda, and Fountain Valley High Schools, and serves as the current visual caption head and choreographer for BOA semi-finalist Vista Murrieta HS. He has been a member of the visual staff for the Sacramento Mandarins (2011), The Cadets (2012), and the Blue Devils Drum and Bugle Corps (2013-2018).

Jay Murphy will return as the Visual Design Consultant for the 2020 Blue Knights Drum & Bugle Corps. Legendary in the pageantry activity, has spent decades creating and staging successful indoor and outdoor programs. Jay has collaborated and designed with the Blue Devils for over 35 years. A member of the WGI Sport of the Arts Hall of Fame, he has been recognized for his outstanding contributions to the pageantry activity. In recognition of his outstanding contribution to the winter guard activity, He was awarded Winter Guard International’s prestigious Laurel Award in 1995. His programs credits include: San Jose Raiders, Blue Devils Winter Guards, Blessed Sacrament Color Guards, Imbue, St. Joseph’s Winter Guard, St. Anthony’s Imperials Winterguard, Clovis West, Mission Viejo and numerous marching bands throughout the United States and Canada.

Zak Stillwell will be returning to the Blue Knights as the Visual Caption Head for the 2020 season. He is a full-time visual designer, choreographer, instructor, and clinician based out of Fremont, California. He began his pageantry career at the age of fourteen as a performer in the Academy Drum and Bugle Corps, before spending his final four years marching with the Blue Devils. After aging out, he began teaching within the Blue Devil organization. While there, he spent time instructing the ‘A’, ‘B’, and ‘C’ corps. Most notably, Zak’s work with the Blue Devils ‘B’ Corps helped elevate the corps from perennial Open Class contender to two Top 15 World Class finishes in 2014 and 2016. In all, he has helped earn seven DCI World Championships as an instructor and performer. In addition to his drum corps experience, he studied music education and euphonium performance at the University of Arizona, under the instruction of Dr. Kelly Thomas. Zak has served as visual caption head for many award-winning high school ensembles.  Some of the groups he has had the pleasure of working with include James Logan High School, Homestead High School, Amador Valley High School, Saratoga High School, and Leigh High School. As a drill designer, he has written for programs all over the United States. He currently designs for programs in California, Illinois, Minnesota, Ohio, Oregon, and Texas.

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


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