Whether on the drums or a service project, this CV youth has a willingness to help and a “can-do” attitude.
By Isiah REYES
For the past nine years, Crescenta Valley High School senior John Blood has been drumming a steady rhythm into the hearts of everyone who has had the pleasure to hear him play.
“My favorite experience with drumming occurs on the football field when we are expected to march and move while we play,” Blood, 17, said. “It is exhilarating to perform with the drum line and marching band in a choreographed field show.”
Blood began drumming in the fourth grade playing in the Monte Vista Elementary School orchestra in the percussion section, and his favorite of all instruments was the snare drum. In the seventh grade, he joined the Rosemont Middle School concert band and jazz. It was when Blood secured a spot on the newly-formed Rosemont drum line that he knew he had a passion for drumming.
It is no surprise Blood has a love for music. He comes from a family of musicians. His mom plays the piano and flute. His dad plays the piano, trombone and guitar. His five siblings, all younger than Blood, play instruments including piano, flute, piccolo, violin, trombone and clarinet. The youngest member of the family, Charlie, 2, loves to dance and sing.
Blood said an important person in his learning experience was his drum line head coach Kyrt Hensch.
“[Hensch] has put his heart and soul into training the middle schoolers to be prepared to succeed in the rigors of the high school marching band,” Blood said. “I feel so lucky to have learned from him.”
Hensch has been teaching drums for almost 20 years and has been involved with such groups as Black Knights, UCLA, San Diego State University and numerous high schools in the Los Angeles and San Diego areas. He described Blood as a well-versed drummer.
“He studies jazz as well as rudimental drumming,” Hensch said. “He is very thorough in his pursuit of rhythm. He’s always up for a challenge, and will always approach with a good attitude.”
Hensch knows a thing or two about drumming, as he has participated as a marching member with the 15 time World Champion Blue Devils Drum and Bugle Corps as well as the World Silver Medalist Black Knights Drum Corps from Burbank.
“[Blood] as a person is very trustworthy and an excellent leader,” Hensch said. “One of the best student leaders I’ve had up to date. He’s been instrumental in moving our program at Crescenta Valley forward.”
Currently, Blood is the drum captain and center snare of the Crescenta Valley High School winter line, which is a smaller version of the full marching band. The drum line and pit exclusively perform in competitions all over Southern California. They train roughly 20 hours a week and sometimes have eight to 10 hours of rehearsal in a single day.
“I am so impressed with the dedication of my 30 teammates and our incredible coaches Kyrt Hensch and Sean McDermott,” Blood said. “And, of course, I am grateful for our marching band director Mat Schick.”
Blood was also a member of the Crescenta Valley High School jazz band for three years. The band performs at over a dozen community events and concerts throughout the year.
“My favorite jazz band gig is the Jazz Band Swing Dance,” Blood said. “Jazz is meant to be danced to. I love watching my friends and family swing to the music we provide. The joy on their faces is priceless.”
The drums are not the only musical instruments Blood knows how to play. He has played the piano since kindergarten and, although he still plays piano, he said he is more enthusiastic about rhythm than he is about note reading. He does, however, credit his piano teacher Chloe Ross for stressing theory, counting and rhythm. Blood said that type of training made the transition to drumming and jazz band much easier.
Bent Hansen, Blood’s Scoutmaster, said Blood demonstrates responsibility and leadership like none other.
“Blood is an exceptional young man,” Hansen said. “He maintains high personal standards in his studies, personal morals and is someone whom you can count on. If [Blood] says he will do something, he will do it with no reminder needed. He has always shown me a ‘can-do’ attitude with no grumpiness or reservation.”
Blood is involved in many service organizations, including National Honor Society and California Scholarship Federation and has logged over 400 hours of community service in the past three years for local organizations.
“What inspires me to volunteer is a desire to give back to this great community,” Blood said. “I realize how blessed I am to grow up in a loving family and surrounded by a community that cares about each other … I want to make my parents and grandparents proud of me, but most of all I want my savior, Jesus Christ, to be pleased with me.”
Blood plans on serving a two-year mission for his church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
“John always stands for what he believes,” Hansen said. “While many might waver depending on the situation, John maintains his standards no matter what else is going on around him.”
After graduating from high school, Blood hopes to attend Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, majoring in economics or business. Blood plans on auditioning for the Brigham Young University marching band in the spring.
“[Blood] has been an absolute pleasure to have as a student, and will always be the model for what I think a section leader should be in the Crescenta Valley High School drum line and marching band,” Hensch said “He’ll be graduating this year, and will leave some very large shoes to fill for his predecessor. We’ll miss him.”
Overall, Blood wants people to volunteer and to make the days better for those surrounding them. His message is to choose to serve others because it will make everyone feel great.
“It is hard work to go over the same rhythms for hours on end, but I love the final result,” Blood said. “After we individually sacrifice to practice and learn our part, we come together and make something really amazing. It’s all worth it in the end. I think that is the same as being in a community. We need to all give our best to end with a better society.”