How Can I Support Ascend Without Spending A Dime?

How You Can Help

(Your skills and connections are often worth more than money to us!)

So many of our friends and family have asked the very simple question “How Can I Help”?

During these difficult times, we are all searching for ways to make a positive difference in the lives of others.  We may be tempted to be confused or angry at everything we see right now… but this situation has created an opportunity for you to make a positive difference.

There are so many organizations, especially nonprofit organizations such as ours, that need your help to enable them to continue their important missions.  At Ascend Performing Arts, we are committed to continuing our mission through these times and well into the future. For the kids who choose marching band, color guard, and percussion ensemble as their way to express, develop, and achieve excellence in life, we must be here for them.

Of course, monetary donations are the foundation of our existence right now and you can go to  to donate, but there are other ways to help us out that do not require the cash so many of us lack at this time.  Here is a listing of many of these items.


Could you, or people in your life help us with the following:

  • Vehicle storage – We are currently paying to store our 53-foot equipment and kitchen trailers.  Do you know someone who has a fenced and lighted storage lot we could place them in for free?  Would you be willing to make that ask? 
  • Transport – If we get free storage space for our trailers, do you know someone who could donate the use of their truck, so we can pull them to their new home without renting a tractor?
  • Equipment storage – Currently we are paying rent on a 10’ x 30’ storage pod behind our office.  Do you have a connection with someone who could donate a little storage space?
  • Who are those connections you have who might be willing to partner with us, financially, to bring our mission to youth?  Can you make a personal connection?
  • Be creative!  How can you help?


At Ascend we support the efforts and advice of our health experts to keep us and those around us safe during these challenging times.  Proper sanitation and social distancing are key to these efforts.  WHEN it becomes possible to do so, we will need help in our office, as we continue moving forward with limited staff.  Some of these items listed below can be classified as certainly “nice to have” over the next three years remaining on our office lease.

  • We are seeking help answering the phone and performing administrative support functions.
  • Our vans need some TLC (cleaning, oil changes, etc).
  • We need help reorganizing our warehouse after the hasty shut down of our indoor ensembles and drum corps.
  • We need help reorganizing and storing archival uniforms and accessories.
  • We would really love someone to take ownership of a project of displaying our historical pictures in our office.  We have a great legacy to show off!
  • We are looking for some cabinets for our break room: a sink base, drawer base, and overhead cabinets AND for someone to install these items.
  • Be creative!  There are ways you can help us to preserve the marching arts and the inherent benefits to the youth we serve.  We would love to hear your suggestions.

Your help is needed now more than ever to ensure that Ascend remains a viable organization now and in the future, fulfilling the dreams of young adults who choose pageantry arts.  In joining our resources, connections, skills, and ingenuity, our community can make this happen.


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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