Student Profile: Chase '13

Middlesex School
photo by Jay Welch '13

For a long time saxophone player who had also taught himself the guitar at the age of eight, you might be surprised to hear that Chase De Grood '13 didn’t consider himself a music enthusiast when he first arrived at Middlesex. His guitar had been in hibernation for years, and at times Chase felt his saxophone had lacked spark. But this was all about to change as Chase, a consummate lover of new opportunities, arrived at a school teeming with musical possibility.

Chase’s passion for saxophone reignited when he joined the Middlesex Jazz Band and discovered that there was nothing better than jamming with friends to some of the world’s most innovative and moving tunes. The saxophone, he learned, was not merely destined for the brass section of a campus marching band. It was also a rock instrument, to be performed by Chase with a student band as they performed “Mr. Brightside” by the Killers at the Middlesex Freedom of Speech Concert series.

Even with his rekindled love of the saxophone, Chase’s passion for music was still not fully satiated, and he couldn’t help himself when he learned that Middlesex offered dozens of music lessons. He soon picked up the guitar again and now takes lessons three times a week. And as if that wasn’t enough, Chase also takes voice lessons so he can reach his goal of joining a band this summer in the musical hotspot of Myrtle Beach near his hometown in South Carolina.

While Chase receives instruction in several varieties of music, he somehow also finds time to do some teaching himself. Stop by the dock of Bateman’s Pond at 5 pm, and you’ll likely find Chase surrounded by a circle of classmates as he demonstrates the proper techniques of fly-fishing. The president and founder of Fishing Club reels in bass until the pond freezes over, at which point you’ll likely find Chase in the wrestling room. He had never wrestled before Middlesex, but the opportunity was there, and he enjoyed Brazilian jujitsu, so why not?

Having never stepped on the mat before Middlesex, Chase is now a four-year member and senior leader of the wrestling team. After matches he talks technique and strategy with Coach David Gutbrod, but, as usual with Chase, music is not far from the discussion. Coach Gutbrod is a classical pianist, and of course Chase needs to hear all about it, as piano is one of the next instruments he wants to master. But that’s down the line. Next up: banjo. 

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