Exciting Changes For the Ascend Performing Arts Board of Directors

DENVER, CO – The Board of Directors for Ascend Performing Arts recently met for their annual weekend retreat to discuss the way forward for Ascend’s programs, education clinics, and events. The retreat also coincided with a meeting of the Blue Knights Drum & Bugle Corps design team as they prepare for the 2016 program to be announced in the spring.

The Board of Directors focused their efforts on reviewing and refining the organization’s strategic plan that was put into action at last year’s annual retreat. The strategic plan guides the organization with key strategic objectives that focuses on growth and success for all of Ascend Performing Arts’ programs such as the Blue Knights Percussion Ensemble and the Blue Knights Drum & Bugle Corps, the BKXperience education clinics, and Ascend Events such as Drums Along the Rockies, Corps Encore, and the Friendship Cup scholastic marching band series.

“The Board of Directors is committed to helping Ascend touch the lives of youth through its programs. We know that these programs are ‘life changing’ and give participants the tools that enhance their lives forever,” said Darrell Griffin, newly appointed Board Chairman.  “Also, congratulations to the administrative and music education team for a fantastic 2015 season for the Blue Knights programs. We are honored to serve and are excited by what we see as a very positive future.”

Annually, Ascend Performing Arts programs and education clinics directly impact over 1,000 youth with hands-on instruction, and more than 3,400 students with the opportunity to attend or participate in programs or clinics. In addition, over 15,000 people attended Ascend Events and over 450,000 watched an Ascend program in person, online or in the movie theater each year.

Board Leadership Update

Several changes are taking place within the Ascend Performing Arts Board; Ken Adams has completed his term as Board Chairman but will remain on the board as a Member at Large. In addition, Adams will continue in his role as Recruitment Coordinator for the Blue Knights Drum & Bugle Corps. 

Assuming the role of Board Chairman will be Darrell Griffin, former Treasurer for the Board. Iris Lee, recent member of the Board and a Blue Knights alumni, will assume the role of Treasurer. 

The positions of the Board of Directors are as follows:

Chairman: Darrell Griffin

Vice Chairman: Scott Factor

Secretary: Greg Andersen

Members At Large:

Ken Adams

Jonathan Fung

Doug Kelley

George Lindstrom

Dallas Martin

Jason Robertson

Scott Weidner

Chris Winans

Ex Officio Members:

Mark Arnold, Executive Director, Ascend Performing Arts

Thelma Fung, Development Director, Ascend Performing Arts

Welcome New Board members

Chris Winans, Summit Wealth Group
Chris Winans, Summit Wealth Group

The Board also welcomed two new members; Chris Winans of Summit Wealth Group and Scott Weidner of Weidner and Associates. 

Chris Winans works with Summit Wealth Group, an independent wealth management firm whose vision was born out of a simple desire to enable clients to reach their fullest financial and personal potential. Summit Wealth Group focuses their client’s goals through effective planning, custom-tailored financial strategies to help make these dreams a reality.

Chris Winans, Summit Wealth Group
Scott Weidner, Weidner & Associates, P.C.

Scott Weidner of Weidner & Associates is a Certified Public Accountant with a firm dedicated to serving the needs of homeowner associations located in Colorado. Founded in 1996, the professionals at Weidner & Associates have over 40 years of combined experience in homeowner association audit and tax services. In addition to becoming a Board member for Ascend Performing Arts, Scott is also an alumni of the Percussion Ensemble, having been involved as both a performing member and a staff member. 

Please join us in welcoming our new Board members to Ascend Performing Arts, and thank those returning board members for their hard work and dedication!


Since 1958, Ascend Performing Arts has become a multi-faceted, youth performing arts organization dedicated to elevating life performance through the pursuit of excellence.  Ascend is recognized as the Rocky Mountain region’s most visible performing arts organization–from U.S. Presidents to international performances.  Programs such as the internationally acclaimed Blue Knights Drum & Bugle Corps and the 4-time Winter Guard International Champion Blue Knights Percussion Ensemble play an important role in providing high-caliber performance ensembles for thousands of youth performers each year.  Ascend Performing Arts also produces the Broncos Stampede Drum Line and Broncos Brass to entertain tens of thousands of NFL fans at Denver Broncos home games every season.  Educational programs such as the BKXperience allows students of a variety of performance levels to learn from the best educators in the marching arts activity.  Ascend Events, such as the Drums Along the Rockies and Corps Encore drum corps shows and the Friendship Cup high school marching contests, provide a stage which showcases the world’s top young musicians to perform at the highest level.  For more information, please visit AscendPerformingArts.org or call (303) 777-1937 or email Ascend@AscendPerformingArts.org.

Share This Post

BK hall of fame feature

Blue Knights Drum & Bugle Corps Hall of Fame – Accepting Nominations

Nominations for the first Blue Knights Drum & Bugle Corps Hall of Fame are now being accepted by the Hall of Fame Committee for the ...
Read More →

Bliss Coleman Appointed as Director of Development

Ascend Performing Arts, a leading organization in the performing arts community, is thrilled to announce the appointment of Bliss Coleman as its new Director of ...
Read More →
BKX24 staff David wp


Ascend Performing Arts is excited to announce that David Walker has joined the Blue Knights family as our new Ensemble Coordinator! David is a freelance ...
Read More →
Staff Announcement Visual Consultant

Rosie Miller Queen Joins Blue Knights

Ascend Performing Arts is excited to announce Rosie Miller Queen as Visual Consultant for the Blue Knights DBC! Rosie Miller Queen has been a seasoned ...
Read More →
Colorado Gives Day

Support Blue Knights through Colorado Gives Day

Support the Blue Knights through this annual statewide movement that celebrates philanthropy through online giving by making donations possible no matter where you live!
Read More →
Staff Announcement Color Guard Leadership


Ascend Performing Arts and the Blue Knights Drum & Bugle Corps announce the artistic Color Guard Leadership team for 2024. James Gabonay, Color Guard Coordinator ...
Read More →
Scroll to Top

Want to Stay up to Date?

Sign up for our newsletter, the Knightly Newsbrief, to stay up to date with Ascend and all things Blue Knights. 

Email Address(Required)
This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

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