Q&A from the Denver November Audition Camp Parent Meeting

DENVER, CO – For the benefit of parents arriving after the parent meeting on Friday, November 21st, we are providing a brief recap of what was discussed during that meeting. If you were in attendance and have any additional questions, please refer to our FAQ page or email keith.huffman@ascendperformingarts.org.

Q: What is Ascend Performing Arts?  

A: Ascend is basically about offering more to youth than just drum corps or a world percussion ensemble.  Check out this link for more: AscendPerformingArts.org/about/

Q: How will Camp/Auditions/Callbacks/Selections work?  

A: The BKXperience Audition events this year (both 1-day clinic and 3-day camp) are built around the experience of what it takes to grow as a musician or performer and be a member.  We hold two weekend audition camps in November and December and most of our members are selected between these two dates.  Staff will evaluate potential members individually and in group rehearsal settings.  All returning members are required to re-audition with new auditionees so that equal consideration may be given. Selection of our membership is based upon an individual’s talent, attendance, attitude, physical health, and ability to pay fees.   The focus is on instruction and growth and everyone will be brought out of their comfort zone where growth happens.   Every first-time student or 5 year vet will have the same experience and receive equal instruction.   The difference is those that want to audition for the corps are pulled out to receive an individual evaluation and feedback on where the student’s strong points are, as well as, descriptions of what skills and techniques the student should work on to perform at the level of a world class drum corps.  However, even if a student doesn’t wish to march in the corps–why not go through the audition anyway to further the learning experience?  The attendee might be surprised how well they actually do.

Q: Are scholarships available?  

A: Yes they are.  Scholarships are based on need.  Interested applicants will acquire letters of recommendation and write an essay along with a few other tasks.  We also hold several fundraisers for the organization throughout the year.  Volunteering at events such as Yes they are.  Scholarships are based on need.  Interested applicants will acquire letters of recommendation and write an essay along with a few other tasks.   Applicants may also seek out Sponsors from friends, family, alumni, local businesses and other sources.  We will discuss these options further at camps.

Q: How does volunteering help pay for membership fees?  

A: We are reviewing our current policy on this.  We will post more info soon.

Q: What is the payment plan?

A: Once a prospective member is offered a contract to become a member of the Blue Knights, they are provided with additional instructions on their financial obligations.  The tuition cost to march Blue Knights in 2015 will be $2,800.  Tuition covers the full cost of participation in the corps, including spring training housing and meals, tour meals and transportation, instruction, equipment, uniforms and shoes.  The one-time Audition Fee is $75 for prospective members and FREE for returning members.  BKXperience 1-Day Clinic fees are $50 before October 1st, $75 before the clinic event and $100 at the door. Monthly tuition payments start January 2015.  Limited additional expenses may be incurred. Financial Assistance/Scholarships and sponsorships are available for volunteer service and is based upon need.  This assistance can easily add up to $500 or more.  Returning members receive a $200 tuition discount for each year marched.

DID YOU KNOW? Tuition paid by members accounts for less than 40% of the actual expense of the drum corps experience.  All members are expected to participate in one fundraising project for the drum corps.  For complete information please see the membership manual.

Q: How are students with medical issues handled?  

A: The Blue Knights take medical issues and privacy very seriously.  Members are expected to be self reliant on any medications they require.  If insulin or similar is required we can provide cool storage, but the student must monitor blood levels and self-medicate.  The drum corps travels with a sports medicine intern.   Non-life threatening injuries or medical needs are filtered through the intern for care and then escalated if needed.  Trained medical professionals are often traveling with the drum corps on tour or are available 24×7 for phone consultation.  Note: Emergency room visits or 911 will be utilized if the situation dictates such a response.

Q: What do I do about high school graduation events that conflict with Blue Knights training?

A:  We expect Blue Knights members to go to their graduation ceremonies and formal events. However, as soon as those are completed we expect them to fulfill their commitment to the Blue Knights and return to the drum corps.  Taking days away from rehearsal to attend senior graduation parties with friends and family is not acceptable.  We ask that they limit the time away from rehearsal as much as absolutely possible.

Have more questions? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions page or contact us.