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Support Ascend Performing Arts and our Blue Knights Ensembles via Colorado Gives.

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Your Contribution Matters

Thank You!

Ascend Performing Arts is powered by YOU. Without you, we would not be able to complete our mission of furthering the education and growth of young people through the performing arts.

Your continued support allows Ascend to achieve excellence across our 4 mission areas: Education, Ensembles, Events, and Entertainment.


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Since 1958 the Blue Knights have provided a variety of educational opportunities through its many ensembles and programs. Now, as Ascend Performing Arts, thousands of young people – across the country and around the world – have had the experience of a lifetime as a result of their involvement with us.

By contributing financial gifts or your time to Ascend Performing Arts, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, you help shape the lives of young people for the better. There is deep gratification knowing how you have helped them further their goals, achieve their dreams, and pursue excellence in the performing arts.

Why Support Ascend?



All youth have a need to belong. Unlike the vast number of opportunities in sports, there are few extracurricular arts activities available for musicians. Ascend programs provide a much-needed outlet for those interested in music, dance and marching arts.



Members of Ascend Performing Arts ensembles gain a transformational life experience through the lessons that competitive performance uniquely provides.



Using skills gleaned through their participation, former members have developed into effective leaders in the areas of music, at both scholastic and collegiate levels while others have found great success in areas of business, finance, law, medicine, education, philanthropy, and the military.



Ascend programs and sponsored events create an opportunity for anyone to support and celebrate the accomplishments of youth performance at the world-class level.



Attendance at Ascend sponsored clinics and participation in the Friendship Cup High School Band Competitions provide a large number of students an experience that rewards, motivates and inspires participants to reach for higher levels of performance in all endeavors.

The Arts

The Arts

Ascend programs provide a much-needed outlet for those interested in music, dance and marching arts. The organization provides opportunities for youth interested in the arts to expand their level of skills while developing them into contributing citizens.

Ascend Students need your Help

There are many ways to support Ascend. Your charitable gifts and precious time are invaluable to sustaining the lifeblood of Ascend’s mission. It would be impossible to run and organization of this size and magnitude without your support – and for that we are extremely thankful.


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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