Blue Knights Drum and Bugle Corps
Blue Knights "Dots" logo
|Uniform||(2019) Black sparkled tunic w/silver on black left sleeve & shoulder,|
right sleeve & side light blue
Black sparkled pants
Black shoes & socks
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. Operating under the umbrella organization Ascend Performing Arts, the corps is known for their dark show concepts and musical themes.
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. 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 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.
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. 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.
In 2014, Mark Arnold, Blue Knights director since 1985 was inducted into the DCI Hall of Fame.
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.. 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.
Show Summary (1975-2020)
Gold background indicates DCI Championship; pale blue background indicates DCI Class Finalist; pale green background indicates DCI semifinalist.
|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
|1978-1981||Parade Corps Only||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
|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
|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)
|1987||Savannah River Holiday by Ron Nelson / Ritual Fire Dance (from El Amor Brujo) by Manuel de Falla /
Requiem by Andrew Lloyd Webber
|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
|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
|1991||Savannah River Holiday by Ron Nelson / Outdoor Overture by Aaron Copland / Aspen Jubilee by Ron Nelson||87.700||9th|
|Billy the Kid / Corral Nocturne (from Rodeo) / The Red Pony / Chorale and Shaker Dance
All by Aaron Copland
|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
|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
|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
|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
Brass and Percussion
|Trittico For Brass Band by James Curnow / Partita For Band by Edward Gregson||92.500||7th|
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
|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
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|
|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
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
|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
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
|2012||Avian||Danse Infernal, Berceuse & Finale (from Firebird Suite) by Igor Stravinsky||86.700||10th|
|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
|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)
|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 / Fly to Paradise by Eric Whitacre
|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)
|2017||i||Wave by Beck / Concerto for Percussion and Orchestra by Joseph Schwantner /
107 Steps by Björk / Hide and Seek by Imogen Heap
|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
|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
|2020||Season cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic|
- "Corps". Drum Corps International. Retrieved 24 February 2018.
- "Enshrinement Festival presents Drum Corps International Competition Aug. 6". Canton Regional Chamber of Commerce.
- A History of Drum & Bugle Corps, Vol. 2; Steve Vickers, ed.; Drum Corps World, pub.; 2003
- "History for Blue Knights". Maher Associates, Inc. Retrieved August 23, 2015.
- "Introducing the DCI Hall of Fame Class of 2014". Drum Corps International. April 16, 2014. Retrieved 2014-05-15.
- "Board of Directors". Ascend Performing Arts. Retrieved 2015-03-15.
- "Programs". Ascend Performing Arts. Archived from the original on 2014-09-19. Retrieved 2015-03-15.
- "Blue Knights Percussion Ensemble". Ascend Performing Arts. Retrieved 2015-03-15.
- "About". Opus X Winterguard. Retrieved 2015-03-15.
- "Blue Knights/Repertoire". DCX: The Drum Corps Xperience. Retrieved 1 March 2018.
- "Blue Knights Announce 2018 Show: The Fall and Rise". Ascend Performing Arts. 2018-05-11. Retrieved 2018-05-13.