Visuals of “Because…” Introduced

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Blue Knights 2015 uniforms introduced.

The word “Because” has a realm of possible explanations. At the same time, it does not have to be interpreted in any specific way. The 2015 concept is in fact “very Blue Knights” with the newfound identity that the drum corps has developed after a game-changing year in 2014.

In the words of Tommy Keenum, Blue Knights’ Program Consultant and Designer, “This drum corps show is truly its own thing. When you are trying to create something fresh and new, it’s best to let it breathe and grow and become what it’s supposed to be as time goes on. ” The arrangers, designers and instructional staff are taking this exact route in order to produce a creative production unlike any of the others.

Taken from The Beatles “Because” piece from 1969, the show revolves around these lyrics:

“Because the world is round, it turns me on…

Because the wind is high, it blows my mind…

Because the sky is blue, it makes me cry”.

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Music by Regina Spektor, Eric Whitacre, Adam Watts, and the Beatles, of course, are prepared beautifully by our arrangers (Jay Bocook, Kevin Shah, Mike Jackson) encompassing the invigorating feeling of being alive, being grateful for the opportunities life gives, and experiencing the wonder of “why” it is all there in the first place. “Because” seems like the appropriate answer: ”Because we’re here, there are so many things to be excited by, and turned on by just by being alive.” –Tommy Keenum

The 2015 version echoes the older 90s style drums.

“Because the world is round,” Blue Knights have proudly kept their circle theme alive; the 33 props on the field are shaped in half-circles resembling mirrors, and there are several mirrored effects both in the drill and choreography. The horn-line has had tremendous movement training this season, which has translated to what makes the production unique. The color guard maneuvers around the props, and spins S-shaped wooden staffs. The aesthetic as a whole can be considered a slight “trip” with kaleidoscope patterns and a striped theme, which complement the new signature corps uniforms and vintage style drums.

While we’re here on earth, what possibilities ensue? There is a sense of wonder and excitement of the world that has the potential to turn people on, blow minds, and even shed tears. From now on, “Because” will always be a valid excuse as to why Blue Knights are doing things the way they do, and it seems to be working out well thus far.

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Blue Knights singing “I Go On” after their Rose Bowl performance in Pasadena, CA on June 27.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

sarahandersonSarah Anderson is graduating with a Bachelor’s of Science in Communication from Arizona State University in 2015.  Her experience in the marching arts consists of 3 years with The Academy Drum & Bugle Corps color guard (2011-2013) and has aged-out with the Blue Knights Drum & Bugle Corps color guard in 2014.  Sarah also performed three seasons with the world class Winter Guard International finalist FeniX Independent winter guard under the instruction of current Blue Knights Drum & Bugle Corps Color Guard staff.

Sarah has been surrounded by an entire family of musicians and has played both the piano and violin since early childhood. Sarah is very excited about what this summer has to offer and will now have an opportunity to look at the other side of things, from a previous insider’s perspective.

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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