Blue Knights-Bahrain Daily Blog Post (4.14.16)

Thoughts and feelings from Drum Major Ashley Drayer
Today. Was. Hot! But amazing! Up early for a beautiful breakfast at the hotel, where there were legitimately too many options…. Good thing we have a couple days to try it all, believe me, I will be taking full advantage of the wonderful options. I walked outside this morning thinking “wow, it’s actually really nice right now! I can do this all day!” Then got slapped in the face with the reality that it was 6am and about to get A LOT hotter. The ride to the track was really cool. It was amazing to see the architecture, houses, and environment of this country. Also, a nice chance to ground myself a little before rehearsal on the track. The set up to the track was quite incredible. Love sacks, kid areas, a dinosaur exhibit (yes, you read that right), a LOT of food, tents, stages…. Everything. We got on the track for the first time to time our parade to the Grandstands, got to relearn some staging, as a racetrack and a football field are VERY different to move and perform on. We didn’t play a note until our final run through (as today was mostly visual) but DANG, it sounded good! Couple more things to work out, but definitely in good shape thus far.
We got in some sectional time to work out a couple issues and made some fast, strong changes. All the while my skin burnt to a crisp whilst residing on the surface of the sun… Note to self, more sunscreen tomorrow… Too much is never enough. We got to enjoy some of the food at the track and hear some of the F2 cars race, setting up for all the F1 cars soon to follow in their footsteps. I have never been to a race before…. So needless to say I was just in awe a lot of the time.

  

After rehearsal we had some very necessary jet lag recovery time. I had some pretty high ambitions of showering, taking a short nap, then getting out and doing something. I got as far as showering and crashed. HARD. The sun can really take it out of you!

We got to have a wonderful dinner at the hotel, complete with entertainment. It was really nice to sit back, relax, be social with an amazing group of people and remember just how lucky we all are for this opportunity. Also, Nick got our entertainer (a belly dancer) to teach Mark AND Abe some sweet moves…. If you know either of them, PLEASE get them to show you.  I think we are all just barely scratching the surface of all the amazing things to see and do here, and sadly will not have time for it all, but I am definitely soaking up every second. So far I have been nothing but humbled and amazed by the entertainment, people, food, and environment here in Bahrain. It is truly beautiful. But now, time to rest, rehydrate and re-energize for tomorrow’s adventures! Good night from this magical land.

Be sure to check in each day of our Bahrain trip for Ashley’s insights as she leads this group of passionate performers to a place where no drum corps has gone before!!

∴ Read all blog updates here!


 

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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