Blue Knights Drum and Bugle Corps

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Blue Knights
Drum and Bugle Corps
Blue Knights logo.png
LocationDenver, Colorado
DivisionWorld Class
DirectorJordan Helwerda

The Blue Knights Drum and Bugle Corps is a World Class competitive junior drum and bugle corps. Based in Denver, Colorado, the Blue Knights are a member corps of Drum Corps International.[1] Operating under the umbrella organization Ascend Performing Arts, the corps is known for their dark show concepts and musical themes.[2]

History[edit | edit source]

Fred and Fae Taylor were former vaudeville comedians and musicians who had settled in Denver and become fixtures on local television as hosts of popular shows for adolescents. They also operated the Fred and Fae Talent School, where they taught vocal and instrumental music to young people. Fred was an accomplished drummer and a member of the Denver American Legion Grenadiers Senior Drum and Bugle (D&B) Corps, and he saw that a junior D&B corps would provide an opportunity for their music students to perform before the public. In 1958, the Blue Knights D&B Corps was formed with Fred Taylor, George Young, and Ray Route as the Board of Directors; Taylor as drum instructor; Young as horn instructor, and Route as corps director.[3] Although the intent was for the corps to be a parade corps, it entered its first field competition during its first season, and in 1959, the corps traveled to the VFW National Championships in Minneapolis. In 1963, the corps joined the Great Plains Drum and Bugle Corps Association and entered into a period extending through the sixties and seventies where they were regularly competing in Kansas, Oklahoma, Colorado, Wyoming and Nebraska. The corps did not experience much success, but it had a color guard that was quite competitive within the region. During these years, the corps remained a small corps, one that would have been an Open Class corps by today's standards, but, unlike most of its contemporaries, the Blue Knights survived, returning to the field year after year.

The Blue Knights, 2008

The corps attended its first DCI Championships in 1975 in Philadelphia, finishing 11th in the Class A preliminaries. In 1977 and '78 (and again in 2004), the Blue Knights were hosts for the DCI World Championships. In 1979, the corps renamed its home competition, Drums Along The Rockies and turned it into both a major national competition and one of the corps' primary fundraising activities.[3]

The year 1984 was to see the arrival of corps director George Lindstrom and his wife, Lynn. The Lindstroms were to instill the corps with a professional attitude toward competition; the successful bingo operation, in place since the early 80s, made it possible for the corps to purchase the equipment necessary to fulfill the goals of the new attitude. The Lindstroms departed after the 1985 season, and current director Mark Arnold was hired. Under Arnold's leadership, the corps became a major competitor, earning its first DCI Top Twelve Finals spot in 1991.[3] Since then, the corps has finished in Finals far more frequently than not, with twenty Finals appearances in twenty-four years and a high placement of 6th in 2000 and again in 2015.[4]

In 2014, Mark Arnold, Blue Knights director since 1985, was inducted into the DCI Hall of Fame.[5]

Sponsorship[edit | edit source]

The Blue Knights Drum and Bugle Corps is sponsored by Ascend Performing Arts, a 501 (c)(3) musical organization that has a Board of Directors, corps director, and staff assigned to carry out the organization's mission. The corps executive director is Jordan Helwerda, and former director Mark Arnold is CEO of Ascend Performing Arts..[6] Ascend sponsors not only the drum and bugle corps but also the Blue Knights Percussion Ensemble, the Blue Knights Indoor Winds Ensemble, the Opus 10 (formerly Oracle) Winter Guard, and the Blue Knights Education Programs. The organization also produces The Stampede, the official drum line of the Denver Broncos.[7]

Note---Both the percussion ensemble and winter guard have won Winter Guard International championships.[8][9]

Show summary (1975-2022)[edit | edit source]


Gold background indicates DCI Championship; pale blue background indicates DCI Class Finalist; pale green background indicates DCI semifinalist.

Year Theme Repertoire Score Placement
1975 Repertoire unavailable 48.150 21st Class A
1976 Battle of Britain by William Walton / Hill Where the Lord Hides by Charles Frank "Chuck" Mangione /
Battle Hymn of the Republic by William Steffe and Julia Ward Howe / Feelings by Louis Gasté and Morris Albert
1977 West Side Story Medley: Somewhere, When You're a Jet, Mambo, Tonight
by Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim /
I Get Crazy & Hill Where the Lord Hides by Chuck Mangione /
Evergreen (from A Star is Born) by Barbra Streisand and Paul Williams /
Maria (from West Side Story) by Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim
57.900 41st
1978-1981 Parade Corps Only Repertoire unavailable
1982 Repertoire unavailable
1983 Magic Flea by Sammy Nestico / Tuxedo Junction by Erskine Hawkins, Bill Johnson, Julian Dash, and Buddy Feyne /
That's a Plenty by Lew Pollack / Dixie Land Jazz (Unknown) / For Your Eyes Only by Bill Conti and Mick Leeson
51.700 31st
1984 If You Could Read My Mind by Gordon Lightfoot / Sweet Inspiration by John Cameron /
Trilogy by Keith Emerson and Greg Lake / Magician by Andrew "Andy" Leigh /
Ain't No Mountain High Enough by Ashford & Simpson /
I'm Gonna Make You Love Me by Gamble and Huff and Jerry Ross
70.700 22nd
1985 A Pirates' Tale Pirates by Keith Emerson, Greg Lake, and Peter Sinfield 68.200 31st
1986 Rockin' The Rockies Rockin' The Paradise by Dennis DeYoung, Tommy Shaw and James "J.Y." Young (Styx) /
Too Much Time on my Hands by Tommy Shaw / Since You Asked by Judy Collins / Light Up by Dennis DeYoung /
Thick as a Brick by Ian Anderson (Jethro Tull) / Feels Like the First Time by Mick Jones (Foreigner)
68.700 27th
1987 Savannah River Holiday by Ron Nelson / Ritual Fire Dance (from El Amor Brujo) by Manuel de Falla /
Requiem by Andrew Lloyd Webber
73.400 22nd
1988 Moorside March by Gustav Holst / Divertimento for Band by Vincent Persichetti /
Pie Jesu (from Requiem) by Andrew Lloyd Webber / March from The Suite in E Flat by Gustav Holst
78.600 17th
1989 Moorside March by Gustav Holst / Punchinello by Alfred Reed 81.200 16th
1990 Chichester Psalms / Offertory, I Go On, Sanctus & Agnus Dei (from Mass)
All by Leonard Bernstein
85.400 13th
1991 Savannah River Holiday by Ron Nelson / Outdoor Overture by Aaron Copland / Aspen Jubilee by Ron Nelson 87.700 9th
1992 Portraits of
Aaron Copland
Billy the Kid / Corral Nocturne (from Rodeo) / The Red Pony / Chorale and Shaker Dance
All by Aaron Copland
90.000 9th
1993 The Next Generation Battle in the Mutara Nebula (from Star Trek II: The Wrath of Kahn) by James Horner /
Clear All Moorings (From Star Trek VI) & Star Trek VI Suite by Cliff Eidelman / Little Green Men by Steve Vai
85.000 10th
1994 Trittico For Brass Band Trittico For Brass Band by James Curnow 88.400 7th
1995 Legacy Introduction, Main Theme, Adagio, Fugue & Finale
All from Legacy by Ramsey Lewis
81.300 13th
1996 Music of Ron Nelson Rocky Point Holiday & Sonoran Desert Holiday by Ron Nelson 80.700 12th
1997 Ben Hur Prelude, Overture & The Battle, parts I and II (from Ben Hur) by Miklós Rózsa /
Lithe Girl, Brown Girl (fourth movement from The Lovers) & Father In Heaven (from Prayers of Kierdegaard)
by Samuel Barber
88.200 9th
1998 Masters of the Symphony Tenth Symphony, 1st & 2nd Movements by Dmitri Shostakovich /
Sixth Symphony (Pathetique), 1st & 3rd Movements by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky /
Largo from Ninth Symphony (From the New World) by Antonín Dvořák /
Ode to Joy (from Ninth Symphony) by Ludwig van Beethoven
89.500 9th
1999 Suite for
Brass and Percussion
Trittico For Brass Band by James Curnow / Partita For Band by Edward Gregson 92.500 7th
2000 Colors of
Brass and Percussion
Movements 1 & 3 (from Montage) /
A Time for Love, A Time for Hate & A Time for Peace (from The Essence of Time)
All by Peter Graham
92.000 6th
2001 Blue Toons Cartoon by Paul Hart / Black Market Juggler by Joe Zawinul / An American in Paris by George Gershwin 83.900 14th
2002 Fear and Trembling
featuring the music of
Dmitri Shostakovich
and Samuel Barber
Piano Concerto No. 1 Op.35 by Dmitri Shostakovich / Piano Concerto Op.38 by Samuel Barber 85.500 13th
2003 Primary Colors Kaval Sviri (Traditional) adapted by Peter Liomdev / Izpoved by Krassimir Kyurkchiysky / Prologue by Mike Nevin 85.350 13th
2004 A Knight's Tale A Knight's Tale by Mike Nevin 87.600 10th
2005 A Midsummer
Knight's Dream
A Midsummer Knight's Dream by Blue Knights Staff 88.225 10th
2006 Dark Knights Piano Concerto by Samuel Barber 90.125 7th
2007 Dark Dances Piano Concerto No. 1 & Symphony No. 10 by Dmitri Shostakovich 90.275 8th
2008 Knight Reign Cloudburst by Eric Whitacre / Turbine by John Mackey / Jeux D’eau by Maurice Ravel /
Amazing Grace William Walker and John Newton
88.250 9th
2009 Shiver:
A Winter in Colorado
Winter (from The Four Seasons) by Antonio Vivaldi / Glide by Russ Newbury and Jeff Audesmore /
Landslide by Stevie Nicks / Tarantella by Phil Kline / Coronation (from Stardust) by Ilan Eshkeri
86.450 11th
2010 Europa! L'Arlesienne Suite No. 2: Farandole by Georges Bizet / W.N. & Nimrod (from Enigma Variations) by Edward Elgar /
Symphony No. 1, 4th Movement by Johannes Brahms
87.100 11th
2011 An English
Folk Song Suite
1st Suite in E♭ by Gustav Holst / English Folk Song Suite by Ralph Vaughan Williams /
Shepherd's Hey & Molly on the Shore by Percy Grainger /
Five Variants of Dives and Lazarus by Ralph Vaughan Williams
89.200 9th
2012 Avian Danse Infernal, Berceuse & Finale (from Firebird Suite) by Igor Stravinsky 86.700 10th
2013 No Beginning
No End
This Bitter Earth by Clyde Otis / On the Nature of Daylight by Max Richter
Circle One (original composition) by Jay Bocook / The First Circle by Pat Metheny and Lyle Mays
87.750 10th
2014 That One Second A Kaleidoscope of Mathematics by James Horner / Brief Eternity by Don Rosler and Roger Treece /
Hand of Fate - Part 1 from Signs by James Newton Howard /
To Build a Home by Patrick Watson, Phil France, Jason Swinscoe (The Cinematic Orchestra)
91.150 8th
2015 Because... Because by Lennon–McCartney / Head Rush by Jay Bocook, Kevin Shah, and Mike Jackson /
Apres Moi by Regina Spektor / I’m Alive by Adam Watts / Heart of Courage by Two Steps From Hell / Fly to Paradise by Eric Whitacre
91.850 6th
2016 The Great Event Gorgon by Christopher Rouse /
Flight to the Wasteland, Adagio and Transfiguration, and Arrows of the Gods Medley by Elliot Goldenthal /
Fratres by Arvo Part / The Great Event by Leonard Cohen / Moonlight Sonata by Ludwig Van Beethoven /
Air Waltz by Oliver Davis / Saturn by Ryan O'Neal (Sleeping at Last)
90.738 7th
2017 i Wave by Beck / Concerto for Percussion and Orchestra by Joseph Schwantner /
107 Steps by Björk / Hide and Seek by Imogen Heap
90.400 8th
2018 The Fall and Rise Sun King by John Lennon and Paul McCartney / The Rite of Spring by Igor Stravinsky /
Exit Music (for a Film) by Thom Yorke, Jonny Greenwood, Philip Selway, Ed O'Brien, and Colin Greenwood. (Radiohead) /
Welcome to the Machine by Roger Waters / Time After Time by Cyndi Lauper and Rob Hyman
88.925 9th
2019 ...I Remember Everything Sudden Throw by Ólafur Arnalds / Liquid by Jay Bocook, Kevin Shah, and Mike Jackson
Hurt by Trent Reznor (Nine Inch Nails) / Lonely World by Moses Sumney
92.050 7th
2020 Season cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic
2021 Always What a Wonderful World by Louis Armstrong / Rank and File by Moses Sumney / Both Sides Now by Joni Mitchell /
Lovely by Billie Eilish and Khalid
2022 Vibe Neglected Space by Imogen Heap / Wailers and Don't Worry Be Happy by Bobby McFerrin / She by Laura Mvula /
Locked Out of Heaven by Bruno Mars
85.788 14th

References[edit | edit source]

  1. "Corps". Drum Corps International. Retrieved 24 February 2018.
  2. "Enshrinement Festival presents Drum Corps International Competition Aug. 6". Canton Regional Chamber of Commerce.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 A History of Drum & Bugle Corps, Vol. 2; Steve Vickers, ed.; Drum Corps World, pub.; 2003
  4. "History for Blue Knights". Maher Associates, Inc. Retrieved August 23, 2015.
  5. "Introducing the DCI Hall of Fame Class of 2014". Drum Corps International. April 16, 2014. Retrieved 2014-05-15.
  6. "Board of Directors". Ascend Performing Arts. Retrieved 2015-03-15.
  7. "Programs". Ascend Performing Arts. Archived from the original on 2014-09-19. Retrieved 2015-03-15.
  8. "Blue Knights Percussion Ensemble". Ascend Performing Arts. Retrieved 2015-03-15.
  9. "About". Opus X Winterguard. Retrieved 2015-03-15.
  10. "Blue Knights/Repertoire". DCX: The Drum Corps Xperience. Retrieved 1 March 2018.

External links[edit | edit source]