Blue Knights Announce 2020 Hall of Fame Inductees

DENVER, CO – Ascend Performing Arts is excited to announce the Blue Knights Hall of Fame class of 2020.

The Hall of Fame was created to preserve the memory of the incredible people who have made a substantial, positive impact to the Blue Knights Drum & Bugle Corps and who can serve as role models for present and future generations. The Blue Knights Drum & Bugle Corps Hall of Fame recognizes outstanding alumni, educational staff, administrative staff, and volunteers that have contributed significantly to the organization.

Although we are unable to host a formal Hall of Fame reception this year due to the global pandemic, the Hall of Fame Committee is continuing to find the safest way to celebrate and honor our 2020 inductees.

Watch the 2020 Blue Knights Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony here: 

∴ Read about our past Blue Knights Hall of Fame Classes of 2019, and 2018.

Ken Adams

Ken Adams has served as a volunteer with the Blue Knights Drum & Bugle Corps for over 20 years.

Since his volunteer tenure began in 1996, Ken has evolved into the drum corps’ renaissance man, moving from the Blue Knights Booster Club to the Ascend Performing Arts Board of Directors, to the Board President where he served for many years.

He currently serves as the Blue Knights Drum & Bugle Corps Recruiting Coordinator while organizing and running the drum corps’ many BKXperience satellite audition camps across the country.

As a member of the Board of Directors, Ken was instrumental in leading the organization through its transition to Ascend Performing Arts and continues to serve on the Board where he leads the organization through its strategic planning process. Since its inception, Ken has been a key part of the DCI Corps Board Consortium Steering Committee and continues to be to this day. Additionally, Ken was announced as the DCI Volunteer of the Year in 2019.

Nominated by: Blue Knights Drum & Bugle Corps Hall of Fame Committee

Sandy Lasley-Ferry

Sandy Lasley-Ferry has been an active Blue Knights Alum since her time as a performer in the 1960’s helping in a variety of areas with Ascend Performing Arts to include a member of the Blue Knights Booster Club Board of Directors (1992-2010), ordering and distribution of the original Blue Knights member jackets (1990’s), coordinator for the Blue Knights Age Out Dog Tags (2000-2019), DCI World Championships Volunteer Coordinator (that was held in Denver in 2004), authored and published the 50th Anniversary Blue Knights Compendium book (2008), assisted at Friendship Cup Marching Band Competitions (2008-2017) as well as supported the Ascend Performing Arts office from time-to-time as a volunteer.

Sandy has served on multiple committees: Drums Along the Rockies (1996-Present), Blue Knights Hall of Fame (2018-Present), the Blue Knights 40th Anniversary Celebration, and co-chaired the Blue Knights 30th Anniversary Reunion. Because of her dedicated efforts, Sandy was named Blue Knights Alumni of the Year (1998), Blue Knights Booster Volunteer of the Year (2000) and Lynn Lindstrom Memorial Award Volunteer of the Year (2019).

Sandy has been valuable to the organization in documenting Blue Knights history, preserving traditions, and documenting the organization’s legacy.

Nominated by: Blue Knights Drum & Bugle Corps Hall of Fame Committee

Thelma and Victor Fung

Working with the Blue Knights Drum & Bugle Corps for more than 20 years, the Fungs have served in many volunteer roles: registration, cooking at camps, folding and selling souvenirs, years of working 2 bingo games weekly, and serving where there was a need.

Thelma coordinated volunteers, created menus for tours, served as Blue Knights Booster Club President, and Treasurer on the Corporate Board. In 1998, she saw the need for a development position and volunteered to serve temporarily as the Development Director.  She continues to this day as Ascend’s Development Director, as a volunteer. She is responsible for fundraising for the whole organization and its ensembles. She also has been successful in acquiring foundation and corporate grants for the organization.

Victor served as President of the Booster Club as well as the Corporate Board. Victor was responsible for arranging food donations from General Mills acquiring cases of Hamburger Helper, Gushers, fruit snacks, and a variety of cereals. He coordinated getting volunteers to assist with loading the food truck. He used his expertise in logistics to find a place for the food donations and supplies needed to feed 200+ people for both tours to fit in the Blue Knights Food Truck for many years.

Both Thelma and Victor have served on the Drums Along the Rockies Committee for decades and are regular volunteers for Drums Along the Rockies, Friendship Cup Marching Band Competitions, and BKXperience Education Clinics. They also continue to help the Food Program at monthly camps.

Nominated by: Blue Knights Drum & Bugle Corps Hall of Fame Committee

John and Gail Hipke

John and Gail Hipke became involved with the Blue Knights when their son Steve made the drum corps in 1991. They continued their volunteer efforts for over 30 years as a couple until John passed away in 2018. As a couple, they cooked, cleaned, checked in members at audition & training camps, worked Blue Knights Bingo games, cleaned the food trailer after tour, cleaned the storage area at the corps hall, and served in any capacity at any fundraiser as needed.

Over a period of years, John and Gail housed members of the Blue Knights Drum & Bugle Corps (sometimes up to six at a time) in their home during spring training camps – daily for up to several weeks.

Gail handled, ordered, and distributed Blue Knights member jackets for 10 years. Over the years she sewed buttons on the Dots uniforms, fit uniforms, made practice flags, and served on the Blue Knights Booster Board. Gail continues to be an active volunteer at the Friendship Cup High School Marching Band Series and at the Big Brass Party at Drums Along the Rockies.

Nominated by: Blue Knights Drum & Bugle Corps Hall of Fame Committee

Gregory “GM” Kuzma

Gregory “GM” Kuzma, a Blue Knights Drum & Bugle Corps alum from 1994, has served in various volunteer roles since he marched with the Blue Knights as a performer on mellophone over 25 years ago. Since he marched Blue Knights, he has volunteered as a van driver, cook, social media manager, and tour director for the Blue Knights. 

In 2004, GM published a memoir about his experience as a member of the Blue Knights called On the field, from Denver, Colorado…The Blue Knights! where he donates 100% of the book’s sales toward Blue Knights Drum & Bugle Corps Scholarships. 

GM moved to Denver in 2014 to dedicate more of his time to the organization helping launch Ascend Performing Arts to provide increased support for the Blue Knights Ensembles as the Director of Communications (2014-2019). For five years, he managed all Ascend and Blue Knights social media platforms and created the current Ascend Performing Arts website that brings every aspect of the 4 E’s Missions Areas together featuring: Education, Ensembles, Events, and Entertainment.

In 2015, he helped design and launch the BKXperience-Auditions! Clinics and BKXperience-Perform! Clinics of which he has managed as the Director of Education. Since 2016, GM has actively advocated for the growth and expansion of the performing arts in the Rocky Mountain Region by working closely with CMEA, CBA, RMCGA, and RMPA to amplify educational opportunities. He also launched and managed new initiatives such as the Mile High Drum Festival (collaboration with DYAO) and the Mile High Guard Festival (collaboration with RMCGA). His Partners-In-Education program has contributed to over $100,000 toward Colorado music education programs. 

GM is also the Director of Entertainment where he manages all entertainment events and supports the Denver Broncos Stampede Drum Line & Brass. He played a key role as tour director in managing the Blue Knights-Bahrain international tour to The Middle East in 2017. In 2018, he helped put together the first-ever Blue Knights Alumni Corps that performed at Drums Along the Rockies. 

GM continues to serve the Blue Knights today as the Ascend Performing Arts Chief Operating Officer.

Nominated by: Blue Knights Drum & Bugle Corps Hall of Fame Committee

David Lacy

David Lacy is a Blue Knights Drum & Bugle Corps alumni who played tenor drums for the drum corps from 1981 and 1982 and performed in the color guard in 1983 on rifle. He used his creativity in designing merchandise for the Blue Knights to sell on subsequent summer tours.

David’s most notable design was the iconic 1991 Dots uniform which featured 21 white dots on the front of the blue jacket which was inspired by the United States Air Force Academy ceremonial uniform. His design not only provided the Blue Knights with a new look, but sparked a new chapter for the drum corps, which led to its first Finals appearance in 1991 and continued years of success. The 1993 Blue Knights World Percussion Ensemble also wore the Dots uniform when they performed in their inaugural season at WGI Championships in Dayton, Ohio. Even today, the 21 Dots concept continues to be prevalent in the Blue Knights show designs and graphic designs.

David also marched in a winter guard called Saturday Knight Blues (a part of the Blue Knights organization) in 1982. In addition to his many years of support to the Blue Knights, David also continued to promote the performing arts in the Rocky Mountain Region by starting Speakeasy, a successful winter guard in the Rocky Mountain Color Guard Association.

Nominated by: Blue Knights Drum & Bugle Corps Hall of Fame Committee

Roger and Marian Newcomer

During a period in Blue Knights Drum & Bugle Corps history, when the organization struggled to keep going, Roger and Marian Newcomer stepped in to serve different roles. They both were vital in restructuring the organization and setting it up for success.

In 1982, when Roger took over as the Blue Knights Drum & Bugle Corps Executive Director, a new Board of Directors was established, a dedicated staff recruited, and an actionable financial plan was created. During this period, a Blue Knights Bingo game and raffle program was initiated, more performance opportunities to get in front of the local Colorado community were made possible, and a solid fundraising program was implemented, which set the foundation for future competitive success.

After Roger turned the reins over to his successor in 1983, Marian continued to contribute her artistic and creative skills to the drum corps. She spent many hours measuring and fitting uniforms on her quilt made up of Blue Knights t-shirts and directing volunteers on how to sew the 21 Dot buttons on each uniform. Marian donated her water color paintings to support the successful Blue Knights Silent Auctions held in 2002 and 2003. She also was instrumental in organizing the Blue Knights’ 40th Anniversary Celebration of the organization.

The Newcomers continued to support the activity by attending the Memorial Day Picnic, Drums Along the Rockies and Blue Knights Send-Off Shows. Currently, Roger and Marian’s health are such that they are not physically able to support the organization in person, but are here in spirit.

Nominated by: Blue Knights Alum, Geof Johnson

Angelo Sapienza

Angelo Sapienza marched in the Blue Knights Drum & Bugle Corps for 5 years playing the tuba from 2008 to 2010 and as a drum major 2011 and 2012.

After aging-out in 2012, Angelo worked with the Blue Knights in several capacities from 2013 to present day: from tour administrative staff, running the Blue Knights Alumni program, and to selecting and training Blue Knights drum majors to be effective conductors and leaders in the drum corps.

Angelo has also been instrumental in providing valuable experiences as an instructor for BKXperience Educational clinic participants over the past 5 years since 2015. Along with his work directly with the Blue Knights organization, Angelo is an advocate for the marching arts activity as a Colorado high school band director.

Nominated by: Blue Knights Drum & Bugle Corps Hall of Fame Committee

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