Blue Knights Announce 2021 Hall of Fame Inductees

DENVER, CO – Ascend Performing Arts is excited to announce the Blue Knights Hall of Fame class of 2021.

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 2021 inductees.

∴ Read about our past Blue Knights Hall of Fame Classes of 2022202120202019, and 2018.


Jason Buckingham

Jason Buckingham began his time at the Blue Knights in 1992 as the Low Brass Technician under drum corps legend Barb Moroney. He remained on the Blue Knights Drum & Bugle Corps staff in the same capacity in 1993. In the Fall of 1995, Jason was hired as the Brass Caption Head for the Blue Knights and served in that role for seven years until the 2001 season.

From 1996-2000 the Blue Knights achieved new competitive heights. With the leadership of Mark Arnold, Ralph Hardimon, and the artistic vision of Robbie Billings, the Blue Knights of the 1990s had an impact on the drum and bugle corps activity that is usually reserved for DCI Champions.

In 2008 and 2010, he renewed his affiliation with the Blue Knights serving as a Staff Coordinator and Consultant. In 2018, Jason joined the Blue Knights Alumni Corps Project as a Brass Instructor and contributed to a wildly successful and well received representation of the Blue Knights Drum & Bugle Corps 60 years of History. Jason has also served as a Brass Caption Head with a number of DCI Finalist units, and holds the unique distinction of taking 3 non-finalist groups into the Finals in 3 different decades beginning with the 1996 Blue Knights.

Nominated by: Blue Knights Alumni, Becky Paschke

 


Abraham Eng

First joining the drum corps for the 1999 season, Abraham Eng aged out after a second year as Horn Sergeant in 2003. After the heartbreaking end to that season, the visual caption head and visual designer (and future Blue Knights Hall of Fame inductee) Rob Billings asked Abe and several other age-outs to help fill out the staff for the following season. That year, 2004, in front of a home-town finals crowd at Mile High Stadium in Denver, the Blue Knights returned to DCI Finals after a three year absence.

After another year as a visual tech, Abe was asked to take on the role of visual caption head; a position he held for three years. After moving on from being on full-time staff, he provided minor contributions to the 2009 and 2014 seasons.

Back in 2003, while on the bus during the latter half of his age-out season, Abe and other age-outs Jeff Desmarteau and Abe Smith lamented the lack of winter performance opportunities for brass musicians in the same vein as indoor color guard or percussion. From these discussions, the Blue Knights Winterbrass Ensemble was born, with Abe as the Director. First starting as a small rotating group of musicians meeting at the corps hall with very limited performances in 2003 and 2004, the 2005 ensemble produced their first true indoor show, a full ten years before WGI launched a Winds division. The 2006 and 2007 seasons saw the ensemble grow and the large number of shared members with the drum corps created tangible growth in that ensemble as well. Unfortunately, logistics issues and other complications prevented the ensemble from continuing into 2008.

Abe has stayed active as an alumni and supporter since leaving the drum corps and winter ensemble. He was a performer with the Blue Knights-Bahrain group and performed as part of the Blue Knights Alumni Corps 60th Anniversary in 2018. When Ascend Performing Arts decided to try again to produce a winter winds ensemble, Abe was tapped to be the director. In their first season, the Blue Knights Winds were the silver medal finalists in WGI Open Class Finals and their sophomore season was shaping up to be a significant improvement over the already successful freshman outing, but was cut short due to COVID-19; a devastating blow. He continues to serve as the Blue Knights Winds director in 2021. Since 2001, Abe has also taught for many Denver-Area marching band programs. Currently he is the visual designer for D’Evelyn Jr/Sr High School.

Nominated by: Blue Knights Hall of Famer, Gregory “GM” Kuzma



Pat Salwerowicz

Pat Salwerowicz’s involvement with Blue Knights began in the 1983 season when her oldest daughter, Vicki, joined the Blue Knights Drum & Bugle Corps. Both of her other daughters also joined the Blue Knights, so she had kids in the drum corps for nine years: 1983 to 1991. The family started working Blue Knights Bingo and that has continued for Pat since then! She has done every bingo job there is including bookkeeping and state reports.   Pat used vacation time to travel on tour with the drum corps.

On tour with the Blue Knights, Pat was considered a “Jill of all trades” as she she drove the van, learned to back up a trailer, sold souvenirs, and served as “chief cook and bottle washer.”  She did lots of grocery buying and other errands that needed to be done like taking uniforms to cleaners (which she shared was a smelly ride!)

Pat also served on the Blue Knights Booster Board, serving in all office positions including serving as President and as a result, represented the Boosters on the Blue Knights Corporate Board. During that time, the Blue Knights bought the first souvenir trailer (that wasn’t a camping trailer) and bought and outfitted the first food trailer. Pat shared that it fantastic to be able to watch all the shows on tour and cheer for the Blue Knights, like the year Blue Knights made finals for the first time in 1991. As a volunteer, she saw a lot of the country, met a lot of people, and made lasting friendships and continues to volunteer in 2021.

Nominated by: Blue Knights Hall of Famer, Mark Arnold


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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