Season Recap: “The Great Event” Has Arrived

DENVER, CO – With the return of the Blue Knights Drum & Bugle Corps back home on August 15th, another incredible season comes to a close. And there were many reasons to celebrate “The Great Event” this 2016 DCI season.

From a competitive standpoint, the Blue Knights placed 7th place with a final score of 90.738 and would be the first time the Blue Knights have placed in the Top-8 for 3 consecutive years. The drum corps was ranked 6th in Color Guard, 7th in General Effect-1, General Effect-2, Music Analysis and Brass, 8th in Visual Analysis, 9th in Percussion and 10th in Visual Proficiency.

But even more than scores and rankings, the Blue Knights created a show that made spectators stop and ponder life. Audiences from across the nation raved about Blue Knights being a fan favorite and how this year’s production of “The Great Event” is ethereal, mysterious, conceptual and amazing. “You had my favorite show of the year, and the only corps that made my cry this season, period.” “The music was gorgeous, the drill was effective, and you guys performed this show to the max.” “Please keep it up and come out with something even more extraordinary and original.”

In addition to a successful year on the field, Ascend Performing Arts also broke records at Drums Along the Rockies with over 10,000 in attendance and Corps Encore with over 4,100 in attendance! It was the highest attendance in the last 10 years for both shows.

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For the first time, Ascend Performing Arts held two Spark! Ideas Conferences for music educators, one in Ogden and the other in Denver. It was received with great response and sold out in both cities. We hope to continue the program and help refuel the passion for music performance and expand attendees’ professional networks.

We also reached new heights at our two BKXperience-Perform! Clinics the Blue Knights hosted in Grand Junction and Denver. We taught and inspired 288 kids plus 195 of them performed on the field at Mile High before Drums this year. Special thank you to the Broncos Stampede Drum Line and Broncos Brass and the Rocky Mountain Color Guard Association for their support of the BKXperience-Perform! Clinic at Drums Along the Rockies.

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As our 2016 Great Event comes to a close, we are already planning our next one for 2017!  After 24 loyal years of service, our food truck is ready to retire.  It has been patched, taped, practically glued together at the seams over the past few years.  We are in desperate need of a new one so we have kicked off Feed the Knights: Let’s Build Food Truck campaign in the efforts of raising enough money to send a new trailer on the road with the drum corps next May.  To learn more please click here.

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; FreyPhotos.com supplier of photography that captures the sights on and off the field; and Colorado Creative Industries provides financial support through a grant for our drum corps and indoor percussion programs.

The 2016 Blue Knights left everything they had on the field for “The Great Event”–an inspiration for us all. Ascend Performing Arts would like to thank all of the Blue Knights members, instructors, admin staff, social 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

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