The Blue Knights Drum and Bugle Corps is a World Class (formerly Division I) competitive junior drum and bugle corps. Based in Denver, Colorado, the Blue Knights are a member corps of Drum Corps International.
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 director is Mark Arnold. Ascend sponsors not only the drum and bugle corps but also the Blue Knights Percussion Ensemble, the Blue Knights Winter Brass 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.
Note---Both the percussion ensemble and winter guard have won Winter Guard International championships.
Gold background indicates DCI Championship; pale blue background indicates DCI Class Finalist; pale green background indicates DCI semifinalist.