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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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