Staff Announcement Color Guard Leadership

Ascend Performing Arts and the Blue Knights Drum & Bugle Corps announce the artistic Color Guard Leadership team for 2024.
James Gabonay, Color Guard Coordinator
Mason Barnes, Color Guard Caption Head
Meredith Owens, Caption Manager

James Gabonay’s love for color guard ignited during his days as a performer at Norwin High School. He later became a member of the Cavaliers Drum and Bugle Corps, solidifying his passion for the art. James went on to become a designer and educator, lending his expertise to numerous award-winning programs, including Spirit of Atlanta, Norwin High School, Collage Winter Guard, Gateway High School, and many others.

In 2023, James assumed the role of caption head and Color Guard Designer for the Blue Knights Drum and Bugle Corps. He holds a dual degree in Social Studies Education and History from the University of Pittsburgh and teaches geography at Seven Lakes High School in Katy, Texas. Besides his commitment to the Blue Knights, he is the owner of JDGDesigns, continuing to work with pageantry organizations nationwide and representing Prop Vinyls.


Mason Barnes, originally from Jackson, Mississippi, now calls Houston, Texas home. His extensive career in color guard includes roles as the color guard director at William B Travis HS and collaborations with numerous local and national high schools and winter guards. Mason’s colorful journey involves teaching and performing with renowned groups like Paramount Winter Guard, Edge Independent, Ola HS, Music City Drum and Bugle Corps, the Troopers, and Madison Scouts. In his free time, Mason enjoys the company of friends and his faithful pup, Bristol. He’s thrilled to return to the Blue Knights for his fourth summer, further enriching the corps with his experience and talent. 

Meredith Owen brings her
passion for color guard to the Blue Knights, building on her impressive marching background, which includes The Cadets Drum and Bugle Corps and Conversion Winterguard. In addition to her marching experiences, she has worked with various programs such as Ridgeland High School, Petal High School, Jordan High School, Louisiana Stars Drum and Bugle Corps, and Petal Indoor Percussion Theatre.

Beyond the world of color guard, Meredith enjoys travel, quality time with friends and family, and the companionship of her dog, Merle. She holds a Bachelor of Liberal Science from the University of Southern Mississippi and is currently pursuing a Master’s of Science in Higher Education from Purdue Global University. She resides in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, with her close friend, Chad Hanes, and serves as the Colorguard Director at Jones College.

 The Blue Knights Drum & Bugle Corps is fortunate to have these dedicated and experienced professionals as part of their team for the 2024 season.

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