Staff

TONY LYMON

Artistic Lead
Tony Lymon

Tony has spent the past two DCI seasons serving on the design team and Audio Caption Supervisor for Carolina Crown. He currently serves on the design team for United Percussion World and UP2 where he shares multiple roles, including: creative design, sound design, and arranger. He recently completed a twenty-four year tenure as the co-music arranger/show designer for the Petal High School marching band in Petal, Mississippi and is the director and show designer for the Petal Indoor Percussion Theatre, a national WGI Percussion Scholastic World Class Finalist. He has twice been awarded the Outstanding Junior High Director of the Southeast Mississippi Band Directors Association and the 2008 Mississippi Bandmasters Association AE McClain Outstanding Young Band Director Award. Tony was also the Founder and Director of Eminence Indoor Percussion Ensemble (2003-2005), a regional and national WGI Open Class finalist and championship ensemble.

Tony holds a Bachelor’s degree in Music Education from the University of Southern Mississippi and a Certification in 3D Architectural Rendering from The 3D Training Institute of New York. He was a member and principal percussionist in the world renowned Southern Miss Wind Ensemble and Southern Miss Symphony Orchestra. While at Southern Miss, Tony was the percussion arranger for the Pride of Mississippi Marching Band and USM indoor percussion ensemble. Tony was also a member of the World Champion Star of Indiana Drum and Bugle Corps (Bloomington, IN) from 1991-1993. In his three years of DCI experience, he won the DCI-Midwest Solo Timpani Champion and the 1994 Percussive Arts Society International Solo Timpani Award. Tony’s original marimba composition “Of Thoughts and Thinking” has become a standard in percussion literature. The piece was most recently recorded by German percussion artist Cornelia Monkse on the CD “Marimba 2” and was featured in the French documentary film “Le Ciel.”

After college, Tony pursued a professional performance career for eight years with the pop/rock band King Konga . While with King Konga, Tony toured the world selling out venues nationwide. The group did a post September 11th USO tour for the U.S. Military in Hawaii and South East Asia. The four-piece band gained critical acclaim reaching #81 on the AC Hot 100 Pop Charts with “Something Good.” With a rare accomplishment by an independent band, King Konga captured the eyes and ears of many major record labels and the band went on to perform at Woodstock ’99. Tony has also performed with The Mississippi Symphony, Mobile Opera, Hattiesburg Civic Light Opera and The Meistersingers Orchestral/Choral Ensemble.

He has also served as Sound Designer for The Madison Scouts Drum and Bugle Corps in 2018 and Creative Designer for Pacific Crest Drum and Bugle Corps 2019-2020. In the WGI arena, Tony has contributed to creative and aesthetic design with Pulse Percussion, POW, Chino Hills HS, Vision Percussion, United Percussion World, UP2, and feniX Independent World Guard. He is the owner of Eidetic Creative, a multimedia creative designs solution business. He currently resides in Petal, Mississippi with his wife Emily and 16-year-old daughter Colette.

Quotes from Tony:

“It is a tremendous honor to step into this role at such a storied drum corps with a rich history of excellence. The possibilities of Blue Knights growth is infinite with the assembling of this new team of like minds.”

“The most exciting part of this new journey is being a part of a creative team building on the decades of success Blue Knights has established and also creating new perspectives on BK’s identity. A task I hold with the utmost respect and enthusiasm.”

Quote from Daniel:

“We couldn’t be more thrilled to welcome Tony Lymon to the Blue Knights family as our new Artistic Lead. Tony’s impressive and diverse background in music, design, and performance brings a wealth of experience and creativity. His dedication to the craft, evident in his years of service in the marching arts, aligns perfectly with the Blue Knights’ commitment to excellence.

As we embark on this exciting journey with Tony, we are confident that his informed perspective and innovative ideas will not only build on our storied legacy but also propel us into a bright and dynamic future. Tony’s authenticity and positive energy are contagious, and we believe his presence will not only enhance our creative team but also inspire our members to reach 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