Season Recap: 2017 Blue Knights Show Seen by Many

DENVER, CO – Another season of drum corps has come to an end and with it audiences saw great achievement for the Blue Knights Drum & Bugle Corps.

From a competitive standpoint, the Blue Knights placed 8th with a final score of 90.400. This is the first time the Blue Knights have placed in the Top-8 for 4 consecutive years. The drum corps ranked 6th in Percussion, 7th in Visual Proficiency and Brass, 8th in General Effect-1, General Effect-2, Visual Analysis and Music Analysis and 9th in Color Guard.

More importantly than the scores and rankings, the Blue Knights performed a compelling show, aptly named “i” that helped viewers see a new perspective inside themselves as well as society. The Blue Knights used mirrors on the field as a reflection of one’s self and the outside world.

Spectators across America spoke highly of the Blue Knights and how the drum corps has been astounding over the past few years:

“I love the Blue Knights and they are one of my favorite DCI corps.”

“I love the concept of “i”, loved the brass, loved the percussion, loved the uniforms, loved the individuality. This show is still the BK I love and I don’t want them to change a bit.”

And crowds appreciated how the Blue Knights did not take to overusing electronics.

“Kudos to them for playing a truly fantastic series of arrangements and blowing you away without absurd amplification.”

“My favorite music book of the year. No hornline amplification or electronics overdose needed.”

The Blue Knights appreciates their fans and the support they have seen over years. They are looking forward to next season that starts this coming November. Learn more here.

In addition to a successful year on the field, Ascend Performing Arts continued to see high attendance at Drums Along the Rockies with over 10,000 in attendance and Corps Encore with over 4,000 in attendance.

Also, Ascend Performing Arts held a Spark! Ideas Conference for music educators in Ogden, Utah for the second year. Plans are in the works to continue the program and help refuel the passion for music performance and expand attendees’ professional networks next year.

Ascend Performing Arts saw a record attendance at our three BKXperience-Perform! Clinics the Blue Knights hosted in Grand Junction and Denver, Colorado and in Ogden, Utah. Blue Knights staff taught and inspired almost 500 participants with the Denver group performing on the field at Mile High before the Drums Along the Rockies show began. A special thank you to the Broncos Stampede Drum Line and Broncos Brass performers for their support of the BKXperience-Perform! Clinic at Drums Along the Rockies.

A special thank you to our wonderful Partners to whom without, we would not be as successful as we are. Thank you to Jupiter Brass, Mapex Drums, Majestic Percussion supplier of brass and percussion instruments; The Band Hall for custom designing our drum and bugle corps uniforms; REMO, Inc. supplier of drum heads; Vic Firth, Inc. supplier of sticks and mallets; Zildjian supplier of cymbals, sounds, and gongs; Pickett Brass supplier of custom built mouthpieces; Director’s Showcase International supplier of shoes, color guard equipment, gloves and band supplies; Treeworks supplier of wind chimes and sound effects; Award & Sign supplier of age-out plaques, member jackets and other recognition; Field & Floor supplier of special digital printing for flags, props, and floors; Heartland Trailways is the official transportation provider for our drum and bugle corps; Stick Tape provides drum stick support; Halftime Magazine highlights the sights, sounds and spirit of the marching arts covering high school, college, drum corps, indoor percussion, winter guard and more; Bring Music to Life collects donated musical instruments, repairs them and then awards those instruments to deserving schools throughout Colorado, and Colorado Creative Industries provides financial support through a grant for our drum corps and indoor percussion programs. The Blue Knights would like to welcome to our new partner, Pageantry Innovations is a producer of props, pit carts, and more that support our drum and bugle corps and percussion ensemble.

The 20i7 Blue Knights showed audiences across the nation their interpretation of “i”. Ascend Performing Arts would like to thank all of the Blue Knights members, instructors, admin staff, media team, volunteers, supporters, donors, alumni, fans and the BK Nation for making us all very proud of everything they have done to let the world know the Blue Knights are as strong as ever and ready to ascend to new heights.


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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