The Blue Knights Drum and Bugle Corps has ​been performing ​their 2014 production “That One Second” ​for thousands nationwide​. The show and its concept that “life is a gift” is continuing to create waves in the drum corps community as people begin to reflect on their own personal “one second”. The following story was submitted to us by Joseph Preiser, a drum corps ​veteran, who was inspired to tell us about ​his “one second” …

“That One Second For Me”

I wanted to take a moment to mention how excited I am for the Blue Knights’ 2014 show. I am intrigued by the idea of how “One Second” can have such a lasting impact on life so I’d like to tell you about my “One Second” that changed my life at the Drum Corps International semi-finals show in 1991 at the Cotton Bowl.

Back when I was a student at the University of North Texas, I eagerly made my way to the stadium to watch DCI semi-finals to cheer on my old drum corps the Star of Indiana (I played contra bass bugle with Star in 1987). During the show, I was particularly pleased to see the Blue Knights in a position to make finals for the first time. During Aspen Jubilee, I remember watching the sopranos march along the front sidelines when I noticed one young lady who was quite a bit shorter than the rest of the section. My father and I chuckled over “the short chick” in the soprano section during their performance. Later, we found out the Blue Knights made history by making DCI Finals for the first time ever.

Fast forward a year where I was a young Private First Class in the United States Marine Corps stationed at the Armed Forces School of Music at the Naval Air Base Little Creek in Virginia. As it was a predominately male school, word traveled fast when a female checks-in. So it was one day that I caught word of a new girl checking in who played trumpet with the Navy.

As young men are known to do, I struck up a conversation with this new sailor named Melissa Harman. It wasn’t long before the topic of drum corps came up. She mentioned that she had been in the 1991 Blue Knights. I told her that I really enjoyed that show and how I could remember a a short girl in the soprano section.

Her demeanor changed as she said she had played soprano bugle.

I thought I’d be cool and brush it off by saying that I was sure it wasn’t her. Then, I was further embarrassed when she told me she was the ONLY girl on the soprano section that year.

I thought to myself, “you blew it Preiser.” Thankfully, I was wrong and not only did we start dating from That One Second, we have been married for 21 years (this July).

This has become a favorite story of ours to tell. Even people who are not drum corps fans get a laugh with how we managed to cross paths before we ever actually met. What I think is even more odd is that I came very close to signing a contract to go into the intelligence field in the Marine Corps rather than the band field. The intelligence school was located in Dam Neck, Virginia. And as students, Melissa and I played a change of command ceremony at that same school. It seemed fate had a contingency plan for us if we had not meet at Little Creek-we would have most likely met there instead.

Anyways, that’s my “One Second” story. Melissa and I look forward to seeing you when you come to Seattle, WA this summer. We had a blast volunteering at your food truck in 2012 when you were in town. We’d love to help out again.

Best wishes for the upcoming season,

Joe Preiser
Proud Husband to a Blue Knights Alum

If you would like to share a story about “that One Second” that has changed your life in some way, please contact us at

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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