Blue Knights Announce Scholarship Winners

Ascend Scholarship Program

The Development Team works year round to collect funds for the Ascend Scholarship Program to provide financial assistance to members of the Blue Knights Drum & Bugle Corps, The Blue Knights Percussion Ensemble, and the Blue Knights Winds. 

  • Ascend provided scholarships for4  members of the 2022 Blue Knights Percussion Ensemble and 19 members of the Drum & Bugle Corps.

2022 Scholarship Recipients

General Scholarships

This Blue Knights General Scholarship was established through fundraisers such as Online Bingo games, Raffle Sales or from donors who wish to help the scholarship fund.  This fund has been established by Ascend Performing Arts to help future members in need of financial assistance so they would be able to experience the thrill of marching in drum corps.

The 2022 recipients are:

Ellie Vogelsberg

Caleb  Manuere

Gregory Williamso

Jasmine Ifeakanwa

Ámhra Mussak



Alumni Scholarships

This Blue Knights Alumni Scholarship was established by the Alumni Association in 2017, which include alumni from the Blue Knights Drum Corps and Percussion Ensemble programs. The Association has sponsored fundraisers so that future members would be able to get financial assistance in order to march with the 2022 Blue Knights Drum and Bugle Corps.

The 2022 Alumni Scholarlship recipients are:

Chris Perez

Owen Tierney



Del and Dinah Owens Memorial Scholarship


This Memorial Scholarship was established in memory of long-time volunteers Del and Dinah Owens. They both spent over 20 years as volunteers. Del volunteered at drum corps camps doing airport shuttle runs; registration, shako fitting, food service, merchandise preparation and Dinah managed Merchandise and was instrumental in establishing souvenir sales as part of Ascend’s income. The Owens considered Blue Knights as family and the members their “children”!


The 2022 Del and Dinah Owens Memorial Scholarship recipients are:

Hailie Eaves

Sarah Cooper



Daniel J. Burke Memorial Scholarship 


The Daniel J Burke Memorial Scholarship was established in 2012 when Dan lost his valiant battle with cancer. This scholarship hopes to carry on Dan’s love and legacy of the Blue Knights Drum and Bugle Corps and World Percussion Ensemble.


Music was a passion in Dan’s life and he was involved with the Blue Knights Drum and Bugle Corps of Colorado for many years. He started as a snare drummer in the Corps. After “aging out”, Dan assisted the Corps’ Instructional staff and also served as percussion instructor for local high school bands. Eventually, Dan served as Director of the World Champion Blue Knights Percussion Ensemble, with three championship titles under his direction. He served as Vice President of the Ascend Performing Arts Board of Directors. As a devoted teacher and inspiring mentor, he helped young musicians develop their crafts and life skills.


The 2022 Daniel J. Burke Memorial Scholarship recipient is:

Javier Garza



Jeff Queen Snare Scholarship

Jeffery Allen Queen (better known as Jeff Queen) is a professional musician, who is a specialist in rudimental snare drumming.  Jeff marched with Canton Bluecoats, the Velvet Knights, Santa Clara Vanguard,  and the Blue Knights.

As a Blue Knights member, Queen was the Drum Corps International Individual and Ensemble Snare Drum Champion in 1994 and 1995 as well as the Percussive Arts Society Individual Snare Drum Champion in 1994 and 1995. He first rose to popularity while performing in Blast!, a Broadway musical.[2] Queen has appeared on Late Show with David Letterman and performed at the 2001 NBA All-Star Game.

Jeff donates as a recurring donor to support this scholarship for snare players.


The 2022 Jeff Queen Snare ScholarshipRecipient is:

Matthew Pletcher


The Gene Herring Memorial Scholarship

 This scholarship was established in 2006 in memory of Gene “Geno” Herring, a longtime Drum Corps International volunteer, and a former corps director, by Gene’s son, J.P. and his wife Joan, residents of Loveland, Colorado and long-time supporters of the Blue Knights.  

Based on the recollections of people who worked closely with Gene Herring, he was remembered as a remarkable volunteer whose first priority was to provide for the needs of every corps member.  They saw him as a calming and loving force at events.  It was this fondness for the corps members that guided J.P. and Joan to establish this memorial scholarship to support members of the Blue Knights Drum & Bugle Corps.  Recipients of this honor demonstrate a passion for the activity, display leadership skills and exhibit an overall concern for the people around them all qualities that Gene Herring saw in many of the members he served. Priority is given to families with a history of volunteering for the drum corps, so go ahead and thank your mother for her contributions as a volunteer for the Blue Knights 

The 2022 Gene Herring Memorial Scholarship Recipient is:

Cleo Washington


The Renaissance Scholarship

This award is made possible by an Anonymous Donor who is aware of the hard work and time commitment individuals need to devote to perform their best.  Many times, this leaves little or no time for employment to raise funds.  The donor hopes that the scholarship aid will remove the pressure to pay fees and give members the time to prepare for the summer show.   Renaissance, in this instance, refers to many talents. There are members in this drum corps who made commitments to march in other ensembles during the winter. Therefore, this scholarship’s goal is to help members who request financial assistance and have marched in Winter Guard International sanctioned ensembles: color guard, percussion ensemble, or winds.


The 2022 Renaissance Scholarship recipients are:

Delaney Wirtala

Max St-Denis

Eric Day

Evan Turner

Joshua Dennis

Erich Brady

Liam Maxwell



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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


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


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


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


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


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


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