Blue Knights Announce 2017 Administration and Tour Team

DENVER, CO – The Blue Knights Drum & Bugle Corps is excited to announce their tour team for the 2017 season.

Ricky Grasso will be returning to the admin team for his second season as the Tour Director for the Blue Knights Drum & Bugle Corps 2017 season.

Ricky Grasso is from Newtown, Connecticut and is currently working on his Master’s degree in Business Administration at the University of Bridgeport. Ricky works as an Admin Assistant for the Alumni relations office of his school and is also an instructor for the Newton High School marching band program.

Ricky has been involved with the marching arts activity since 2007 playing trumpet. He was a member of the Newtown High School Marching Band in Connecticut for four years, followed by his membership in the Connecticut Hurricanes Drum & Bugle Corps (DCA) based out of Seymour, Connecticut in 2011, 2012, and 2014. He then joined the Blue Knights Drum & Bugle Corps in 2014. After he aged-out of the Blue Knights on Trumpet, Grasso joined the Tour Admin team in 2015 and will continue throughout this season.

Ethan Goddard will be returning to the Blue Knights Drum & Bugle Corps as the Assistant Tour Manager for the 2017 season.

Ethan Goddard has been a member of the Blue Knights Drum & Bugle Corps Admin Team as an Assistant Tour Manager managing Tour Operations since 2013. Ethan graduated from Columbine High School in 2010, received an Associates of Math from Arapahoe Community College in 2014, and is currently pursuing a Bachelor’s in Electrical Engineering from University of Colorado Denver.

An alumni of the drum corps, Ethan started as a tuba player in 2010 and aged out in 2013, and is a recipient of the “Blue Knight of the Year” award. Since then he has been an assistant tour manager for the Blue Knights Drum & Bugle Corps, helping to coordinate and run audition camps, all­ days training, and the summer tour.

Keenan Evans will continue his role with the Blue Knights Drum & Bugle Corps tour admin staff as an Administrative Assistant for the 2017 season.

Keenan Evans has been a part of the admin team since 2013. Born and raised in Colorado, Keenan graduated from Columbine High School in 2009. He marched mellophone in the Blue Knights Drum & Bugle Corps from 2010 to 2012 when he aged out. He also was a member of the Blue Knights Percussion Ensemble on cymbals for the 2013 and 2014 seasons. He was the recipient of the “Tigue Boxwell Memorial Award” in 2012 (drum corps) and the “Dan Burke Memorial Award” in 2014 (percussion ensemble).

Keenan also teaches for the Blue Knights Percussion Ensemble as a Visual Instructor and is currently attending the University of Colorado Denver for a Bachelor’s Degree in Mathematics and a Minor in German.

Colby Hewitt will be joining the Blue Knights Admin team as an Administrative Assistant for the 2017 season.

Colby Hewitt is from San Antonio, Texas where she was a member of the colorguard at Claudia Taylor Johnson High School from 2009 until she graduated in 2013. She then went on to march with the Blue Knights color guard in 2015 and 2016 and recently finished her first season of independent winterguard with the world class program Invictus in their inaugural season.

Colby is currently pursuing a degree in Bachelor’s  Degree in Chemistry at The University of Texas at San Antonio in hopes of applying to Veterinarian School in the future. She has also taught color guards at several different high schools in the San Antonio area and is looking forward to experiencing the administrative side of the activity this summer.

Sarah Anderson will be continuing with the Blue Knights as an Administrative Assistant for the 2017 season.

Sarah Anderson is a Blue Knights color guard alum from 2014, was a part of the media team in 2015, and is now a second year admin staff member. She currently lives in Phoenix, AZ working full time at State Farm and teaching color guard for 2 high schools in the Phoenix area.

Sarah also marched Arizona State University’s Sun Devil Marching Band, and the world class winter guard FeniX Independent. Even if only around for a short time this summer, Sarah is very passionate about this activity and can’t wait to see what 20i7 holds.

“I won’t be with the Knights as often this time around but I can’t wait to see what 20i7 brings!”

Abel Cabrera will be returning to the Blue Knights Admin team as an Administrative Assistant for the 2017 season.
Abel started with the Blue Knights in 2016 as an admin intern, but was promoted to a tour assistant within 3 weeks due to his hard work and dedication to the drum corps. Abel’s involvement in drum corps started as a baritone player for the 2014 Crossmen Drum & Bugle Corps. In 2015, he was a tour operations intern with the Boston Crusaders Drum & Bugle Corps, and was then hired by the Blue Knights Drum & Bugle Corps the following season.

Abel is currently the head band director at Nolan Middle School in Killeen, Texas, where he is responsible for all aspects of the program. He earned his Bachelor’s in Music Education from the University of North Texas, and is currently earning his Master’s in Educational Administration from Texas A&M University-Commerce. He currently resides in Killeen with his chihuahuas Spinelli and Mia.

Rachel Montanez will be joining the Blue Knights Admin team as an Administrative Assistant for the 2017 season.

Rachel “Montana” Montanez has been involved with the color guard activity for the past 9 years. Rachel began her marching experience in 2008 with Mineola High School Marching Band. She marched all 4 years of high school in the marching band and winter guard program at Mineola High School in Garden City Park, NY.

Outside of school, Rachel began marching independently in DCA with the Sunrisers Drum and Bugle Corps (Long Island, NY) in 2009. She continued marching there until 2011. In 2012, she went on to marching with Connecticut Hurricanes Drum & Bugle Corps (Ansonia, CT). Her outdoor experience then continued to DCI with The Cadets Drum & Bugle Corps. She marched Cadets from 2013-2015. Rachel marched 2 seasons of indoor color guard in both 2013 and, most recently, in 2017 with Alter Ego IW winter guard based out of Trumbull, CT.

Aside from marching, Rachel has taught many different programs on Long Island including Division Avenue High School, Mineola High School, Longwood High School, Stony Brook University and the Long Island Sunrisers Drum & Bugle Corps.

When not involved in color guard, Rachel enjoys playing rugby and doing Crossfit. She currently is pursuing her Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics at Molloy College in Rockville Centre, NY. She plans be a high school math teacher in the future. Rachel is looking forward to expanding her experience with the Blue Knights!

Sarah Pichardo will be returning to the Blue Knights Admin Team as an Administrative Assistant for the 2017 season.

Sarah Pichardo is currently a senior at the University of Texas at El Paso and will be graduating later this year. She is the color guard director at Franklin High School and has been involved with the color guard activity for over 13 years. Sarah marched with the Blue Knights Drum & Bugle Corps in the color guard from 2011 to 2015 and served as the color guard captain for the 2014 and 2015 seasons. In 2015, she was named the Blue Knight of the Year.

This will be Sarah’s 2nd year on the administration team and cannot wait to be back to help everyone have an amazing summer.

Samuel Anderson will be joining the Blue Knights Admin team as an Administrative Assistant for the 2017 season. 
Samuel Anderson is 23 years old from Highlands Ranch, Colorado and attends Grand Canyon University in Arizona. He is currently entering his junior year majoring in Christian Studies/Theology. He hopes to graduate with his Bachelor’s Degree at Grand Canyon University and follow his passion for music into a career with the military. The 2017 international tour will be his 1st summer volunteering on administration following his age-out last summer on tuba after 4 years with Blue Knights.

Samuel has been involved in the marching arts since 2008. He was a member of the Highlands Ranch High School Falcon Regiment for 4 years, and collegiate pep band with Denver University and GCU. Aside from playing tuba, he enjoys the piano, and harmonica, and in his free time, loves reading, hiking, and spending time with family.

Bridget Elliot will be returning to the Blue Knights Admin Team for the 2017 season.

Bridget Elliott has been on admin staff at the Blue Knights Drum & Bugle Corps since 2015. She has a Bachelor’s of Science in Special Education and Elementary Education from the University of New Mexico. Bridget is currently a high school teacher at ACE Leadership High School in Albuquerque, NM. In addition, she is also the Front Ensemble Tech for Eldorado High School.

Before her time on admin staff, Bridget was a member of the Blue Knights Drum & Bugle Corps front ensemble from 2010-2014. She was not only a section leader of the front ensemble for 3 years, but also received the “Blue Knight of the Year” award for her age-out with the corps. While on the summer tour with the admin team, she is able to use her logistical expertise from her time as a member in the corps to give back to today’s members.

“My goal on Admin Staff is to give the members the best experience possible,” said Bridget. “When we can run the action behind the scenes smoothly, the members can focus all their energy on their show and their Blue Knights brothers and sisters.”

William Simms will be joining the Blue Knights as an Administrative Intern for the 2017 season.

Will Simms is from Southington, Connecticut, where he marched in and is currently a brass and visual instructor for the Southington High School Blue Knights Marching Band. From 2012-2016, Will marched baritone and tuba at the 7th Regiment Drum & Bugle Corps. In his age-out season, he was named low brass horn sergeant, and was one of the recipients of the “Beverly Cardinals Alumni Award” at the 2016 Beanpot Invitational DCI competition in Lynn, Massachusetts. Additionally, Will participated in the NESBA Indoor Percussion circuit with Centurions Indoor in 2015, where he performed on timpani and auxiliary percussion.

Will recently graduated from the University of Massachusetts Amherst with a Bachelor’s Degree in Music Education, where he was a member of the UMass Minuteman Marching Band as well as Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia’s Sigma Alpha Chapter. He is excited to spend his first DCI World Class tour with the Blue Knights this summer!

Roxanne Salazar will be joining the Blue Knights Admin Team as an Administrative Intern for the 2017 season.
Roxanne Salazar is new to the Blue Knights Drum & Bugle Corps admin team. She is currently a senior at Texas State University pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology with a Minor in Communication Studies.

Roxanne is a mellophone player and spent her “rook out” season with the Oregon Crusaders in 2016. In her free time, she enjoys volunteering in her community at local homeless shelters and with the American Cancer Society. She is excited to bring her passion and dedication to the Blue Knights as an intern for the team

Courtney Gramley will be returning for her second season with the Blue Knights as the Head Athletic Trainer.
Courtney is returning for her 2nd season as the Blue Knights’ athletic trainer, where she facilitates the strength and conditioning growth the members experience through the summer. She received her Bachelor’s of Science in Athletic Training from Eastern Illinois University, working alongside several Division I athletic teams including football, men’s soccer, men’s/women’s tennis and women’s basketball. She also worked with several athletic teams at Lakeland Community College. Courtney is currently pursuing her Master of Business Administration from Southern New Hampshire University, focusing on Athletic Administration.

Courtney is originally from Gibson City, Illinois, and has been involved in music since she was in 5th grade, where she played Alto Saxophone. While in high school, she took part in marching band, jazz band, and performed in the Gibson City Melvin Sibley Drumline.

Tony Villalobos May will be returning to the Blue Knights as a Media Producer for the 2017 season.

Tony is from Loveland, Colorado and is currently living in Fort Collins, Colorado where he is attending school at Colorado State University. He is currently pursuing his Bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Media Communications concentrating in Photojournalism with a minor in Music, Stage, and Sports Production. Tony is the Photography Director for The Rocky Mountain Collegian newspaper and is the Senior Field Reporter/University Affairs Correspondent for the “Rocky Mountain Review”, KCSU’s radio news show at Colorado State University.

Tony’s passion for music started when he marched for the Loveland High School Crimson Regiment marching band. Tony continues to be involved with music through his membership as a sousaphone player for the CSU Marching Band and the CSU Pep Bands, as well as his time with Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, a national men’s music fraternity.

Tony toured with the Blue Knights Drums and Bugles Corps for the 2016 summer season, worked as a Communications Assistant during the off season, and traveled to Bahrain with the Blue Knights as one of their contra players in the BK-Bahrain ensemble. He is incredibly excited to continue working with Ascend Performing Arts and the Blue Knights for the upcoming season.

Kayle Koberowksi will be transitioning from her role as a Media Intern to Media Producer for the 2017 season.

Kayle is from Pottsboro, Texas and is attending the University of North Texas. She is currently pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree in Interdisciplinary Art and Design with a minor in Photojournalism.

Kayle has been involved in the music world since she was in the 6th grade. Her marching experience includes the Green Brigade at the University of North Texas and Genesis Drum & Bugle Corps.

Kayle is also an active member in the music fraternity for women, Sigma Alpha Iota, at the University of North Texas.

Izaak Mendoza will be returning to the Blue Knights as a Social Media Manager.

Izaak is a Wyoming native and has been teaching elementary and high school the past few years. He is an educational assistant and supplementary instructor for the Niobrara County School District. He also serves as a percussion instructor for several Iowa schools and writes show beats.

Izaak graduated from the University of Wyoming in 2014 with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in International Relations with minors in Anthropology, Religious Studies and Spanish. Izaak marched 7 seasons with the University of Wyoming marching band and served as center snare and drumline instructor. Izaak marched with the Blue Knights from 2008-2010 where he served as a drum major and percussion soloist.

Izaak will be starting graduate school in the fall at the University of Minnesota, pursuing a Master’s of Public Policy focused on U.S. Foreign and International Security Policy. He hopes to add on a Master’s Degree of Business Administration for a dual degree, with a focus on strategic social media. He will also be marching on the snareline for the University of Minnesota Marching Band this coming season.

Ameria Miller will transition from her role as Communications Assistant to Media Producer.

image1Ameria comes from the Dallas/Fort Worth area in Texas. She marched two summers with the Blue Knights Drum & Bugle Corps in 2011 and 2012 on mellophone. In 2013, Ameria was a part of the visual staff at the Academy Drum and Bugle Corps. Since then she has been a preschool music teacher spreading the education of music to the youngest of students.

Ameria holds a Bachelor’s of Radio and TV Productions Communications from Stephen F. Austin State University with a minor in Music Education. As an avid YouTuber, creating videos is a daily adventure. In February of 2016, Ameria started her own videography company called Vedette Studios. Her studio does projects as small as simple business videos to larger venues such as weddings. Ameria will primarily be working remotely and is incredibly excited to bring her video and music experience to the Blue Knights Media Team!

Jillian Oppegard will return to the Blue Knights as a Media Producer for the 2017 season.

jillianoppegard1-300x225From Lake Charles, Louisiana, Jillian grew up in Centennial, Colorado where she attended Arapahoe High School. While she officially started her color guard career in 8th grade, she had been spinning since the 1st grade. She joined the Blue Knights Drum & Bugle Corps at age 16 in 2000 and marched 3 years until 2003 in the color guard. She attended Colorado State University in Fort Collins majoring in Journalism where she graduated in 2005. Jillian then worked at CBS4 News as a News Editor in 2006. After 18 months, she then became a Creative Services Producer where she created promotional campaigns and advertising for Channel 4 for the last 8 years.

Jillian worked as an Adminitrative Assistant in the Ascend Performing Arts office before taking a job in San Diego as the Marketing Manager at 10 News-San Diego KGTV. Jillian will join the Blue Knights during their time in California.

Brett O’Neill will transition from his role last summer as a Media Intern to Media Producer for the 2017 season.

Brett O’Neill, a Colorado native, will be working as a Media Producer for the Blue Knights this summer. He earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Music Education from the University of Northern Colorado and Master’s Degree in Conducting from Southern Oregon University. Brett served for 11 years in the field of music education, which included 4 years at Ken Caryl Middle School and 7 years at Columbine High School. During his tenure as an educator, Brett directed concert bands, marching bands, jazz bands, choirs, and music theory courses. His groups performed at many events statewide as well as performances at Disneyland, Disney World, and Carnegie Hall.

Brett left the field of education two years ago to attend film school in hopes of pursuing and incorporating a different creative art into his craft. Brett will be working with the Denver team in coordination with the on-the-road team to update the success of the Blue Knights. He will also continue his role as a trumpeter for the Mile High Big Band and The Blue 88’s during the summer months while still attending classes for video production at the Art Institute of Colorado. Brett hopes to share the importance of music and education through the powerful medium of video.

Peter “Petey” Lumley will be joining the Blue Knights as the Head Cook for the 2017 season. 
Petey is from Shelton, Connecticut and has been a long time member of the marching arts community. Petey marched with the Bengal Lancers from 1975-1979, the Conneticut Light Brigade from 1979-1980, the Crossmen in 1980, the C.T. Hurricanes in 1981, and the New York Skyliners in 1991.

Petey has marched his way though the percussion section, the brass section and ending with color guard for his age out. He has won several notable achievements throughout his marching career, including an Open Class Championship in 1977, and DCA’s Best Color Guard in 1981. Off the field, Petey works as a supervisor in a crisis intervention for a homeless shelter, and previously served as the Crossmen Drum & Bugle Corps food manager from 2012-2014 and is incredibly excited to be joining the Blue Knights for their 2017 season.

Janet Archibeque will be returning to the Blue Knights as a Cook Assistant for the 2017 season.

Janet Archibeque is from Boulder, Colorado and has previously served as a volunteer for the Blue Knights. Janet and her husband Orlando were first exposed to drum corps when their son Jake began marching baritone in 2014.

Janet previously toured in 2014 and 2016 as a volunteer helping out the cooks and other volunteers and the Blue Knights are incredibly excited to welcome her back for the 2017 season.