Congratulations to the following Percussion Ensemble members who were awarded the following scholarships!


Sean Yates 

2021 Keith Nygaard Memorial

Sean Yates received the Keith Nygaard Memorial Scholarship for 2021. Sean, a bass drummer,  has been a member of the Blue Knights Percussion Ensemble from 2017 to 2021. 

The Keith Nygaard Memorial Scholarship was established in the fall of 2016 to honor the legacy of late Keith Nygaard, “an incredible musician who brought so much joy to this world by inspiring hundreds of young marching musicians to follow their dreams.”

Keith was from Colorado Springs, Colorado, a member of the Doherty High School marching band where he led young new musicians in the art of marching music. He continued his passion as a performer for the Blue Knights Percussion Ensemble, a world-class performing arts ensemble, in 2012 and aged out in 2015. Keith was a student at the Colorado School of Mines where he majored in Electrical Engineering with a minor in Computer Science.

Amber Lawton 

2021 Renaissance Scholarship 


Amber Lawton was awarded the Renaissance Scholarship for 2021. Amber marched with Altitude Percussion in 2016 and 2017, and with the Blue Knights Percussion Ensemble in the cymbal line, in 2018 to 2021. Amber also has a history with marching cymbals with the Battalion Drum & Bugle Corps in 2017 and Pacific Crest in 2019. 

Renaissance, in this instance, refers to many talents. There are members in the Percussion Ensemble who made commitments to march in a Drum Corps International sanctioned ensemble for the 2019 season since the 2020 season was canceled. This scholarship’s goal is to help members who request financial assistance who, having marched in a sanctioned corps, left little or no time for employees to raise funds. The donor for this scholarship wants to remain anonymous but is aware of the hard work and time commitment individuals need to dedicate to perform their best.  The donor hopes that the scholarship aid will remove the pressure to pay fees and give members the time to prepare for their respective ensembles’ shows.

Salome Castro

2021 Alumni Scholarship


The Alumni Scholarship was awarded to Salome Castro. She marched with Rise 2 Percussion in 2019 and was accepted in 2020, 2021 Blue Knights Percussion Ensemble, Rack.

This Blue Knights Alumni Scholarship was established by the Alumni Association in 2017, which includes alumni from the Blue Knights Drum Corps and Percussion Ensemble programs.  Alumni members have sponsored fundraisers so that future members of Ascend Performing Arts Ensembles, in need of financial assistance, would be able to have an education for life whether they are members of the drum corps or the percussion ensemble.



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