Spark! Ideas Conference in 2018

DENVER, CO – The Spark! Ideas Conference is an exhilarating afternoon of creative inspiration designed for marching band directors, music instructors, college students; anyone who wants to refuel a passion for music performance and expand their professional network.

The conference is produced by Ascend Performing Arts and falls under Ascend Education. This year’s Spark! is sponsored in part by Jupiter BrassMapex PercussionMajestic Percussion, Colorado Bandmasters Association and the Utah Music Educators Association.

Topics presented by Blue Knights design team and educational staff include:
  • Show Program Design
  • Electronics & Sound Design
  • Music Ensemble Techniques
  • Visual Techniques
  • and more!
There will be a session held this year at the following locations:
  1. Corps Encore: July 11, 2018 at Weber State University, Ogden, UT.
  2. Drums Along the Rockies: July 14, 2018 at Mile High Stadium.

Detailed schedule will be emailed out to registered attendees. Here is the general timeline:

  • Check-in/Registration: 12:00pm
  • Conference: 1:00pm-5:00pm
The Spark! conference fee is $75 for general admission, $50 for university students includes:
  • Access to Spark! conference
  • A meal and refreshments
  • A “premium ticket” to the show (either Corps Encore) PLEASE NOTE: DUE TO LIMITED SEATING, PREMIUM TICKET IS NOT GUARANTEED AND MAY BE SUBSTITUTED WITH ANY TICKET AT SHOW EVENT. 

Parking: Download the Ogden parking pass here for Lot A9 or W7 and enter the Browning Performing Arts Center at Weber State University.  Download the Weber State University map here.

Conference Fee:
  • General Admission:
    • Early Bird (online): $75
    • At the Door: $85
  • Student Admission:
    • Early Bird (online): $50
    • At the Door: $60

Additional premium tickets for Corps Encore can be purchased for Spark! guests not attending the conference. Contact tickets@ascendperformingarts.org to order your tickets.


Conference Facilitators include:

  • Jay Bocook is the Brass Arranger for the Blue Knights Drum & Bugle Corps.  Jay is a native of Clearwater, FL, a Furman University graduate and an internationally-recognized composer, arranger, conductor and educator. Jay’s work has been heard during the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles, the 1996 Centennial Olympic Games in Atlanta and the 2002 Winter Olympic Games in Salt Lake City. In the summer of 2003, his music transcriptions of noted film composer John Williams were premiered by the U.S. Marine Band in a concert at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. and conducted by Williams himself. An encore performance featuring Mr. Williams and the “President’s Own” took place in the summer of 2008.In addition, Jay was a contributing arranger to a new musical, CyberJam, which opened at the Queen’s Theater in London to rave reviews in the fall of 2003. His arrangements were also featured in “Mix,” which opened in the fall of 2008 in Japan. In 1982, Jay was appointed Director of Bands at Furman University where remained until 1989. He rejoined the Furman faculty in 2000 as Director of Athletic Bands. He has served as Assistant Conductor of the Greenville Symphony Orchestra and remains a principal composer and arranger for the Hal Leonard Corporation, where he has published over 600 compositions and arrangements.In 2009, Jay was inducted into the Drum Corps International Hall of Fame. He is also a member of the American Bandmasters Association and a 2010 inductee to the South Carolina Band Directors Hall of Fame.
  • Kevin Shah is the Music Coordinator, Percussion Composer & Arranger for the Blue Knights Drum & Bugle Corps. Kevin Shah is an active designer and educator in the the world of the marching arts. As a composer for winds and percussion, Kevin owns and operates www.projectRISEmusic.com, which features many of his works for marching band and percussion ensemble. Kevin is very involved in winter percussion and is the music designer for Arcadia High School and  Broken City Percussion. Kevin also serves on both the WGI Board of Directors and Percussion Steering Committee. As a longtime fan of drum corps, Kevin marched bass drum with Pacific Crest in 1999 and 2000 and aged out with the Santa Clara Vanguard in 2002. Kevin served as the Sound Designer for the Bluecoats from 2010 – 2013, and was the Front Ensemble Arranger for the Mandarins in 2013 and 2014. Kevin joined the Blue Knights in 2014 and serves as Music Coordinator and as a Composer/Arranger. Kevin also serves on the DCI Rules and Systems Task Force (RSTF). Kevin holds a B.M. in percussion performance from UCLA where he studied with Mitchell Peters, and an M.M. in percussion performance from the Juilliard School of Music where he studied with Greg Zuber, Daniel Druckman, Gordon Gottlieb, Joseph Pereira, and Roland Kohloff. Kevin is a Yamaha Performing Artist and also endorses ProMark Drumsticks, Evans Drumheads and Sabian Cymbals.
  • JedWeeksJed Weeks currently serves as the Program Coordinator for the Blue Knights Drum and Bugle Corps. He was on the brass staff for the Santa Clara Vanguard from 1996-2003, serving as the brass caption head in 2002-2003. He was also a member of the Cavaliers brass staff in 1994, and the Sky Ryders in 1991. Jed earned his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from of the University of Houston and is currently in his fifth year as the Director of Bands at Byron Nelson High School in Trophy Club, Texas.
  • NeilAdkison - Version 2Neil Adkison is the Visual Caption Head for the Blue Knights Drum & Bugle Corps. Neil became involved with the drum corps activity in 1996 rocking a 2-valve soprano with the San Diego Earthquake. Two years later he made the Concord Blue Devils, where he spent the remaining 5 years of his marching career as a lead soprano. Upon aging out in 2002, Neil began instructing on the staff of the Santa Clara Vanguard, Carolina Crown, Madison Scouts and with numerous high school and college band programs. This will be Neil’s 2nd year serving as the visual caption head with the Blue Knights. This winter, Neil will be working with Rhythm X and Rhythm X Winds and is a full time teacher at the Warren County Learning Center in Franklin Ohio.
  • Brandy DuBose is the Color Guard Caption Head for the Blue Knights Drum & Bugle Corps. Brandy DuBose is the director and choreographer for the Arizona State University Sun Devil Color Guard. Brandy was born and raised in Texas, where she attended Texas State University-San Marcos as a Dance Performance major, and also taught the Bobcat Marching Band Color Guard and Millennia Independent Open Winterguard for 11 years. In Texas, she taught the Seguin High School color guard for 10 years, from 1995-2006. After moving to Arizona in May 2006, Brandy began working with ASU.
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