Blue Knights Announce 2024 Hall of Fame Inductees

DENVER, CO – Ascend Performing Arts is pleased to announce the Blue Knights Hall of Fame class of 2024.

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 who have contributed significantly to the organization.

The Hall of Fame Committee has selected the 2024 inductees who will be recognized at this year’s Drums Along the Rockies event at Colorado State University (get your tickets to the show here).

∴ Read about our past Blue Knights Hall of Fame Classes of here.

Mary Kay Eichelberger

Mary Kay

Mary Kay Eichelberger’s passion for the Blue Knights Drum & Bugle Corps spanned a decade of volunteer service, from 1995 to 2004. Her involvement began when her sons, Joel (1995-1999) and Jon (1995-2000), and later her daughter Katy (1998-2003), marched with the Blue Knights. 

For those ten years, Mary Kay played a vital role in the Blue Knights’ success by managing the food program for audition camps and summer tours. These tours covered over 10,000 miles with demanding performances, requiring a well-balanced, nutritious diet for peak performance. Mary Kay ensured each member received nearly 4,000 calories daily. Her team provided 150 meals four times a day for over 70 days, keeping the Blue Knights fueled and focused throughout the tour.

Her responsibilities were vast. She developed menus for 150 people, ordered and picked up groceries, and rallied volunteers to cook and prepare meals. She also compiled lists of volunteers to help with loading, cleaning, and prepping the kitchen truck for the national tour. While she enlisted others, Mary Kay herself participated in the long, hot summer tours, working alongside the team she inspired.

Mary Kay’s dedication extended beyond meals. She volunteered countless hours with uniform fittings and alterations, ensuring the Blue Knights looked their best. During the off-season, she committed four days a week to volunteering at the Blue Knights Bingo Hall, a critical revenue source for the organization.

Her leadership extended to the Blue Knights Booster Club, serving as its Booster President. She led monthly meetings for parents, past parents, alumni, and anyone interested in supporting the Blue Knights. Her unwavering optimism and dedication were an inspiration to all involved.

Mary Kay’s ten years of service to the Blue Knights were a testament to her unwavering dedication and passion for the organization. Her contributions ensured the well-being of the members, the smooth operation of tours, and the financial strength of the Blue Knights.

Nominated by: Blue Knights Hall of Fame Committee, Jillian Oppegard

Scott Factor

Scott Factor’s 13-year journey with Ascend Performing Arts began in 2011 when his son, Alex, joined the Blue Knights Drum & Bugle Corps. Initially lured by the promise of a fun experience watching his son perform on tour, Scott volunteered as a cook’s helper or driver. Although he found the long hours and hot weather was not his forte, it sparked a different kind of passion for the organization serving on the Ascend Performing Arts Board of Directors.

During his time on the Ascend Board, Scott significantly contributed to Ascend Performing Arts in two ways: Board service and volunteer leadership. He served for six years as a voting member on the Board of Directors, including a term as Vice Chair. Scott continues today as an Advisory Member (nonvoting), chairing the crucial Governance Committee. 

Scott’s leadership on the Governance Committee was instrumental. He and his committee members dedicated countless hours to refining and adopting the Board’s by-laws, policies, and procedures. Scott recommended a formal process for selecting and approving new Board members, ensuring a smooth onboarding experience.

Beyond boardroom contributions, Scott’s generosity extended to providing a serene retreat location for the annual Board Retreat and Blue Knights design team meetings for the past six years. This tranquil setting, away from the city’s bustle, fostered a productive environment for strategic planning and collaboration.

Scott’s dedication, leadership, and sound judgment have been invaluable assets to the Ascend Performing Arts Board of Directors and the organization as a whole.

Nominated by: Blue Knights Hall of Famer, Ken Adams

Darrell Griffin

Darrell Griffin’s journey with Drum Corps International began in 2011 when his son, John, joined the Blue Knights. A supportive parent, Darrell, along with his wife Deb, readily volunteered their time. That summer, Darrell went above and beyond, driving, cooking, and becoming the unofficial “clean-up guy” for the entire tour. This hands-on experience opened his eyes to the intricate workings that make the activity thrive for both volunteers and members.

Determined to make a lasting impact, Darrell took on the Volunteer Coordinator role. He was also invited to join the Ascend Performing Arts Board of Directors. Recognizing the need for a deeper understanding of the nonprofit world, Darrell tackled this new role head-on. He actively sought knowledge through conferences, research, and open communication. This dedication translated into strong, steady leadership during Ascend’s financial hurdles through the years. Darrell encouraged the Board to consider decisions within the broader context of the non-profit landscape. He served two terms as Treasurer, followed by two years as Board Chair. Under his guidance, the Board developed long-term policies promoting financial stability. This included a renewed strategic plan and the establishment of an Endowment Program.

Darrell’s commitment to the Blue Knights extends beyond financial well-being. Throughout his term as Board Chair, he consistently attended Drum Corps International Finals, paying his own way. This dedication underscores his belief in supporting the very heart of Ascend – its people.

Darrell’s passion for Ascend’s mission is undeniable. His dedication encompasses staff, volunteers, parents, and most importantly, ensuring all efforts prioritize the well-being of Ascend’s members across all ensembles.

Nominated by: Blue Knights Board Member, Janet Archibeque

KC Michel

KC Michel’s story with the Blue Knights began in the 1970s, a time when his dedication would leave a lasting impact on the organization. It all started in 1977, at the age of 12, when a Drum Corps International Prelims competition in Boulder, CO, sparked a lifelong passion for marching arts. He joined the Blue Knights Drum & Bugle Corps as a trumpet player the following year in 1978. While the drum corps didn’t compete that season, they participated in parades, standstill performances, and other community events, an experience that instilled in him the “old school” discipline that shaped him into the successful instructor he’d become. He also went on to join as a member of the Saturday Knight Blues winter guard in 1982. 

After performing with other drum corps for seven years, KC transitioned into instructing in the late 1980s, working with the Phantom Regiment, Madison Scouts and Sky Ryders. These experiences culminated in his return to the Blue Knights as Color Guard Caption Head from 1992 to 1994, followed by Visual Caption Head in 1994. During this period, the Blue Knights achieved three consecutive Top-12 finishes at DCI Finals, a testament to his dedication and the strong connection he forged with the color guard members.

KC’s influence extends far beyond the Blue Knights. From 1986 to 1991, he taught at Broomfield High School, leading them to Colorado state championships in 1986 and 1990. His tenure at Pomona High School (1987-1994, 2004-2005) yielded Winter Guard International (WGI) Scholastic Open Class Championships. His talents as a production designer were sought after by Monarch, Legacy, Cherry Creek, Littleton, and Centaurus High Schools. He has also served as a judge for the Colorado Bandmasters Association (CBA) and the Rocky Mountain Color Guard Association (RMGCA) on numerous occasions.

KC’s impact on the marching arts community extends nationwide. As Color Guard Director at Westfield High School in Houston, Texas (1995-2002, 2008-2014), he guided them to 10 Texas state winter guard titles, two marching band state titles, and numerous Bands of America regional titles.

For over 45 years, KC has carried the lessons learned as a Blue Knight. He has applied his dedication not only with the Blue Knights but also with Rocky Mountain Color Guard Association, Bands of America, Drum Corps International, and Winter Guard International, in Colorado and across the United States. As an active alumnus, he continues to be a leader, constantly strengthening the community through his work with music educators and students.

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

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