Member Spotlight: Sarah Pichardo

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Sarah with Blue Knights in “That One Second”, 2014

DENVER, CO – Sarah Pichardo, 21, has been a Blue Knight for 5 years and has reached her final season, “Because”. She is the only 5th year member of the drum corps this year, and among few who have stayed loyal to the Blue Knights Drum & Bugle Corps year after year. From El Paso, TX, Sarah graduated from Americas High School. She has rarely missed any rehearsal time since she began marching, with a 10 hour bus ride each way to the Blue Knights camps. Sarah and her family do not live in the wealthiest part of Texas, but she has consistently been able to pay off her fees from year-to-year, a little at a time.

Sarah is expected to graduate in the summer of 2017 with a degree in advertising, and a minor in graphic design from the University of Texas at El Paso. She even expressed interest in earning an Associate’s in Dance sometime down the road, along with the many skills she has learned from her experiences both in the classroom and in the performing arts. Whether she is performing on the field or on the winter guard floor, Sarah never fails to exude pure happiness for the activity. Her positive personality bursts of encouragement towards everyone around her, and is always there to lend a hand to someone in need.

Mark Arnold, director of the Blue Knights Drum & Bugle Corps, spoke highly of Sarah when talking about what he looks for in a leader.

“Sarah is one of the most dedicated and encouraging individuals in the Blue Knights Drum & Bugle Corps right now,” said Mark Arnold. “Her positive energy affects those around her and I have no doubt she will be another strong force to lift our color guard up for another unforgettable season in 2015.”

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Sarah with FeniX Independent Winter Guard, 2014

Sarah Pichardo feels the same way about the drum corps organization here in Denver, and how she decided to return and contribute her incredible value to others.

“I return because I love what the Blue Knights stand for, and how hardworking we are as a family. This is the only place that truly feels like home, a second home that I can look forward to every summer. I have been exposed to many different types of staff, techniques, and experiences, and it has impacted my way of thinking and approaching things. I hope to work for Drum Corps International or Winter Guard International in the future as a graphic designer and overall advocate for my passion in life!”

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Sarah Pichardo with Drum Major Myles Giller, 2014

In 2014, Sarah marched FeniX Independent winter guard from Arizona State University, and would drive a total of 13 hours every weekend to make it to and from rehearsals. After several years and several thousand dollars of her parents’ support, Sarah is now continuing the activity on her own. As a full-time college student with a full-time job teaching Franklin High School’s color guard, it has been difficult but possible to fulfill her dreams.

As the captain of the Blue Knights color guard for 2 years, Sarah is determined to make her last season with the organization she loves worthwhile.  She constantly motivates herself to be a better example to her peers, and accepts both good and bad situations with open arms and makes the best of it. Much more than a spotlight needs to be put on Sarah Pichardo; the Blue Knights color guard is in good hands with her loving spirit.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

sarahandersonSarah Anderson is graduating with a Bachelor’s of Science in Communication from Arizona State University in 2015.  Her experience in the marching arts consists of 3 years with The Academy Drum & Bugle Corps color guard (2011-2013) and has aged-out with the Blue Knights Drum & Bugle Corps color guard in 2014.  Sarah also performed three seasons with the world class Winter Guard International finalist FeniX Independent winter guard under the instruction of Brandy DuBose, Rob Jett, and Adam Selby, all of whom are current Blue Knights Drum & Bugle Corps Color Guard staff.

In addition to her experience with color guard, Sarah has been surrounded by an entire family of musicians and has played both the piano and violin since early childhood. Sarah is very excited about what this summer has to offer and will now have an opportunity to look at the other side of things, from a previous insider’s perspective.

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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