Ascend Performing Arts

A nonprofit organization

$891,744 raised by 1,957 donors

Ascend Performing Arts is a non-profit youth performing arts organization dedicated to transforming young people into incredible, high performance adults using marching music as its vehicle. Emphasis is on Education, Performing Ensembles, Events and Entertainment.


Janet Archibeque
Chair, Ascend Corporate Board

Have you ever wondered why the kids in marching bands seem like they have a place where they belong-like they are a family? Activities like marching band, drum corps and indoor groups like percussion and wind ensembles challenge young adults physically and mentally with music and dance performance in a collaborative environment where, literally, everyone in the group counts. Nothing transforms and brings a diverse group together better than a determined effort to reach a common goal to which each is devoted.

Ascend Performing Arts has been in existence since 1958 and provides that very environment for young adults to grow and thrive through entertaining and meaningful shows like the most recent Winds Ensemble Show, "A Little Variation", the Percussion Ensemble's "Schism" and the drum corps' show, "Vibe". 

Ascend's mission is to further the education and growth of young people through participation in high-caliber performing arts programs that promote teamwork and discipline, develop leadership skills, and enhance self-esteem. 

Given that the applied mission of the organization is the development of large groups of young adults to perform on national indoor and outdoor stages, the high transmission of COVID-19 and the resulting and continuing supply chain issues posed serious logistical  and financial challenges  for Ascend as we found ways for our ensembles to travel safely to various performance venues this year. The difficulty in finding and securing the vehicles that Ascend's ensembles need to move members and equipment, the shortage of available drivers, high gas costs, and the inflation-bloated food costs are examples of the challenges faced this year.  

With your donation, you can help us recover from the significant and unavoidable expenses required to bring live performances back to appreciative audiences this Spring and Summer.  Your donation will allow Ascend to continue to offer the time-tested and effective programs we offer to young adults.  The efforts in which these young adults partake towards the goal of performing on a national stage promote the very characteristics that we want to see in our young adults-a respect for diversity, a strong work ethic, the ability to collaborate, to maintain discipline, and to build  self confidence. 

Support the future of Ascend Performing Arts, its Blue Knights ensembles, and the Friendship Cup High School Band Competitions today!


Mark Arnold, Ascend Performing Arts, Chief Executive Officer
2014 Drum Corps International (DCI) Hall of Fame and 2019 Blue Knights Hall of Fame Inductee

Ascend Performing Arts is a Colorado based organization dedicated to transforming hard working kids into high performance adults through the lessons that only competitive musical performance provides. The Ascend programs have grown into a multi-faceted, internationally recognized youth performance and event organization directly impacting thousands of young people each year.

We can look to the achievements of our past with great pride and sense of accomplishment, but we also remain aware of the ongoing struggles the organization faces in maintaining this tradition of service to youth. With a proud 60 + year tradition we have proven our resilience yet NEVER have we faced a challenge as great as the current COVID 19 pandemic. The 2020 Drum Corps season was canceled and with it the revenue from performance fees, souvenir sales and our largest fundraiser, Drums Along the Rockies. Aiming to get back to a full marching season in 2022 has proven to be a huge challenge.  Inflation affected the cost of food and fuel prices.  Supply chain issues made us deal with shortages of vehicles and drivers. To overcome the impact of these losses, we will require the assistance of our Ascend community to assure our continuation as an organization. 

Through the years, our greatest strength as an organization has always been in our mission, focused upon the development of the young people we serve. Before the pandemic, young people were coming to us in record numbers to audition for and participate in our groups. Their desire is to be a part of something special and to perform with others who are passionate about their craft. They come to join each other in a common pursuit... a pursuit of perfection in performance... a pursuit of greatness. In the process, they are transformed into incredible human beings. 

Our mission is solid and relevant to those we serve and will continue to be when we return to a semblance of normal in our new world. Our goal is to be here for these kids when it does!


The mission of Ascend Performing Arts is to further the education and growth of young people through participation in high-caliber performing arts programs that promote teamwork and discipline, develop leadership skills, and enhance self-esteem.

Background Statement

Vanishing extracurricular activities become an increasing reality in our schools today. Ascend Performing Arts programs provide a much needed outlet for those interested in music and dance performance.

Ascend Performing Arts provides the opportunity to experience music performance at its highest level and has developed into a multi-faceted youth performing arts organization each year, since its inception in 1958 as a drum and bugle corps. Performing arts programs, educational outreach, multiple performance events, and groups developed to entertain all speak to an organization that has evolved through time, meeting the needs of the Blue Knights and the community it serves.

In 2009, the Board of Directors of the Blue Knights Drum and Bugle Corps began the process of reorganizing to create a framework which would more accurately express the scope and impact of the Blue Knights Drum and Bugle Corps, better positioning the organization for future growth and funding. In 2010, after a thorough re-branding process, the Board of Directors announced Ascend Performing Arts as the name of their umbrella organization. Currently Ascend offers two dynamic performance programs, two premier competitive events in 2 states, a high school band competition, and educational hands-on clinics. Members and participants expand their level of technical skills while becoming more proficient performers. Members on the Ascend Entertainment Team perform for the enjoyment of their audiences, including all-expense paid International trips.

Ascend Performing Arts uses its unique programs, educational outreach, events, and its entertainment groups to completely teach youth to develop independence, responsibility, leadership and teamwork by influencing and nurturing the skills needed to become responsible contributing members of their communities.

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Organization Data


Organization name

Ascend Performing Arts

other names

APA, Blue Knights Drum and Bugle Corps

Year Established


Tax id (EIN)



Arts, Culture & Humanities


3538 Peoria Street, Suite 500
Aurora, CO 80110


3538 Peoria Street Suite 500
Aurora, CO 80010


3538 Peoria Street, Suite 500
Aurora, CO 80010


3538 Peoria St Suite 500
Aurora, CO 80010

Service areas

Arapahoe County, CO, US





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