CVIM Celebrates Graduating Music Seniors

By Lori BODNAR, intern

Plato said, “Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and life to everything.” Even the global COVID-19 pandemic can’t stop music – during it people have been singing and playing instruments from balconies, porches, and sidewalks, or even virtually together over the internet. Crescenta Valley High School Instrumental Music held a Virtual Awards Ceremony on Friday, June 5 to honor their student musicians. The instrumental music department usually has a celebratory banquet and awards ceremony at the end of the year but due to the current restrictions, the ceremony was held virtually through Zoom, with over 200 participants taking part.

Mathew Schick, instrumental music teacher at Crescenta Valley High School, has been a fixture at the school for 20 years where he teaches six different music classes.

“Being virtual, it was quite lonely for me speaking to everyone because I couldn’t see them [in person] and feel their live energy,” Schick said. “However, I was happy that we had many people watching and opportunities for kids to chat and comment while we went through the awards. We had many more people involved making slides, organizing to drop off items afterward, and compiling the information needed for the ceremony. On one hand, I like the idea of listing awardees in slides because it was a wonderful way of recognizing the students and when we go back to live ceremonies I want to continue that aspect of it. Crescenta Valley Instrumental Music [CVIM, the parent volunteer boosters organization] did an amazing job of helping to convert a live event into a great online experience.”

Kimmie Blood is an 11th grader at CVHS and is in the marching band and jazz band. Blood plays trombone, piano, clarinet, flute and percussion. She is also the assistant drum major this year and will be the drum major next year as a senior. 

“This year’s awards were on Zoom and were a bit disappointing that we couldn’t share in each other’s excitement in person,” she said, “but I’m thankful that through modern technology we could still be connected and celebrate with our music family. I loved being able to see everyone’s faces again. It’s been hard being separated from these wonderful people for so long.”

Andrew Kim, an 11th grader at Crescenta Valley High School, is in marching band and plays the saxophone.

“Obviously with the whole pandemic situation we could not have an actual in-person banquet,” he said. “The emotional aspect of being with each other and celebrating the awards at the end of the year was missing. Although we could not physically be with each other, we had separate Zoom calls going so we could talk to each other and emotionally support each other during the banquet. The virtual award ceremony gave me a sense of normalcy and in a way some closure to the year. Even though it was not in-person, the awards banquet was still something and for that I am very grateful. It was really nice getting to see all of the faces that I haven’t seen in a while, and in a way it was fun because we could still celebrate the accomplishments of my peers and friends even if it was through a screen.”

The awards ceremony featured videos of the musicians playing music, recognized CVIM parent volunteers, recognized the seniors and acknowledged the students and their hard work throughout the year. Announcements were made of awards for the students, plus a picture slideshow was created by Andrew Kim that summed up the year. The different music classes at CV are marching band, string orchestra, symphony orchestra, wind ensemble, jazz band, and color gu


There were 45 seniors in the instrumental music department this year. Many seniors were in instrumental music throughout all four years of high school, an amazing accomplishment. Some seniors joined music in their last year of high school.

“Our CVIM Foundation put together senior gift swag bags and delivered them the day after the award ceremony. It had gift items for everyone as well as what they earned at the awards ceremony. We always give perpetual tickets to every four-year senior that grants them free admission into any CV Instrumental Music Concert for life, as long as I’m the director. It also had CVIM mugs for everyone as well as some fun and special keepsakes to recognize and acknowledge our musical seniors who are graduating for all they have accomplished.”

The students worked hard throughout the whole year and, in marching band, the music students even labored last summer in band camp to learn their music and field formations. In each instrumental music class, there were student officers who help out with tasks in the classroom. The students volunteer to be student officers and gain leadership experience.

Blood was a drum major assistant this year for marching band.

“Being drum major assistant allowed me to give back to an organization that has blessed my family for over two decades as well as to serve the most kind, deserving people I know,” she said.

Next year, Blood will be the president of jazz band in addition to drum major of the marching band. 

“I am super excited to lead the jazz band next year. We have enrolled a really talented and dedicated group of musicians so I know it will be a fantastic year,” she said.

Andrew Kim was vice president of the marching band this year.

“I was able to help a lot of people, and was essentially a catch all for problems that needed to be resolved,” Kim said. “This was by far the most rewarding portion of my role as I could see a physical representation of my work, whether it was working alongside our equipment crew, or fixing broken props, or taking pictures, I was able to make a difference.”

Kim will be the marching band president next year.

“I am very excited to be the next marching band president because of the strong leadership team that we have this year. All of my fellow peers have been working so hard for this upcoming year and I cannot wait to see what we as a group accomplish musically,” he said of his new role. “Although the role of the marching band might change in the coming year due to COVID-19, I am confident that we, as a group, will have a very memorable year. I cannot wait to see what is in store for us.”

The music students performed in the Winter Concert, although the Spring Concert was cancelled due to COVID-19. However, the music students kept practicing and playing music via remote learning.

There is also an equipment crew who helps load the trailer and U-Haul for performances at football games and festivals, and assists with other tasks such as checking the instruments and helping with the lockers.

Additional awards were given for the most spirited, outstanding musicians, and outstanding initiative in the different music classes that were voted for by the students. Students also made awards for their peers such as the three musketeers, most likely to be Tik Tok famous award, walking history textbook, and best hair.

Scholarships were presented to exceptional music students. The national awards presented at the CVHS Instrumental Music Virtual Awards Banquet were the Director’s Award, Louis Armstrong Award for Jazz Band, National Orchestra Award, and John Philp Sousa Award.

Alexa Hernandez, a senior who was in both marching band and string orchestra for four years, won the Director’s Award. Hernandez was also the president of string orchestra this year.

David Januzik won the Louis Armstrong Award. Leo Gonta won the National Orchestra Award. Nicholas Sandoval, the drum major of marching band for this year, won the John Philip Sousa Award. The criteria for these awards include private lessons, commitment, enthusiasm, dedication, growth, involvement, leadership, citizenship, dependability and musical accomplishment. The students who won these awards are clearly dedicated to music.

The marching band usually has band camp in the summer.

“Band camp will happen, but depending on what the District allows us to do, I’m not sure if we’ll be doing virtual or in person,” said Schick. “I’m planning for both so when we know I can implement a fun and worthwhile experience either way.”

The memories and skills that these students take with them will not be forgotten.

“Marching band has a special place in my heart because of the bond that we share amongst members,” said Kim. ‘Due to the amount of time that we spend with each other, we become very close with one another and, in a cheesy way, they are like your family.”

And through music there might be direction on how to handle current uncertainties.

“I know right now we are all grasping how to deal with the current situation,” said Schick. “I find that music helps give us purpose and an outlet. Whether we just listen or play, music can give us a way to express how we feel without having to verbally articulate it. We will get through this period in our life and we will have fantastic stories to tell our kids and grandkids. Look ahead to the time we get to be around each other again and don’t take the little things for granted when we can get together because as we’ve learned, those things can be taken away at a moment’s notice. Appreciate those around you and do your best to make life better for them.”