Community Pays it Forward to founder of drum and bugle corps

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Mark Robinson, founder of Arizona Academy for the Performing Arts, was presented with the Pay It Forward award. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Mark Robinson, founder of Arizona Academy for the Performing Arts, was presented with the Pay It Forward award. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
Arizona Academy Drum and Bugle Corps performs.  (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Arizona Academy Drum and Bugle Corps performs. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
APACHE JUNCTION, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -

They don't miss a beat in the sweltering heat.

The Arizona Academy Drum and Bugle Corps spends the hot afternoons rehearsing at Apache Junction High School.

The high school and college students are getting ready to compete in the World Championships this summer in Indianapolis.

It's an honor that wouldn't have been possible without Mark Richardson.

"The relationships they build -- performances they experience -- it's something that will live with them and help shape them for the rest of their lives," said Richardson.

Back in 2001, the former high school band director was looking for a way to enhance the culture of music and dance, so he created the Arizona Academy for the Performing Arts, a nonprofit organization that recruits talented musicians from across the country.

Richardson said that seeing the love and passion these young people have for music is an inspiration to anyone who has ever picked up an instrument.

"When they finally get into it and become this family -- a unique unit that lives together, sleeps together all across the country -- it becomes an experience they'll never forget," said Richardson.

Over the years, Richardson has devoted his own time and money to making the academy a nationally recognized music group.

Bill Robinson has seen what a difference the academy is having in the community, so he teamed up with supporters and reached out to CBS-5 to Pay it Forward to Richardson.

Robinson presented Richardson with $500 during a recent rehearsal.

"For all the things you've done for the Corps, including founding it and nurturing it through tough times," said Robinson. "You're now the recipient of the Pay it Forward award from Channel 5 and this is for you. Congratulations."

"Not all these kids go into music," said Robinson. "Some go into engineering, some go into teaching, some into medicine or law, but they all seem to succeed."

For more information on the program and to see recent performances visit https://arizonaacademy.org.

Copyright 2017 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.


Jason Barry
Jason Barry has been reporting in the Valley since 1997.

Click to learn more about Jason.

Jason Barry

Jason Barry has been reporting in the Valley since 1997.

He is a nine-time Rocky Mountain Emmy Award winner who is best known for his weekly Dirty Dining reports, which highlight local restaurants with major health code violations.

Jason was born in Los Angeles and graduated from the University of Miami.

An avid sports fan, Jason follows the Diamondbacks, Cardinals and Suns with his wife, Karen, and son, Joshua.

His favorite stories to cover are the station’s Pay it Forward segments, which reward members of the community with $500 for going ‘above and beyond’ the call of duty to help others.

Jason, started his career at WBTW-TV in Florence, SC before moving to WALA-TV in Mobile, AL, was named the Associated Press Reporter of the Year in 2002.

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