5130: A Choir and a Community


Ellie Keniston, Staff Writer

Voices echo throughout the P-wing hall as you make your way to room P100, or the choir room at Erie High School. Thalia Burd, the choir teacher at Erie teaches anything and everything to do with choir at Erie. Along with all the other choirs, she teaches 5130, the a cappella and jazz choir. 

Burd has been singing since a very young age, “I officially joined choir in 6th grade and then I’ve been in choir pretty much every year since.” She was in Colorado All State Choir junior and senior year of high school, which is what most inspired her to become a music teacher. Although she always knew she wanted to do something with music, “[singing] was always a really big part of my childhood. My family was really musical,” she remembers.

 Not only did Burd sing, she also participated in theater when she was younger, “so I wasn’t really sure if I wanted to go the choir route or the theater route or a combination of both.” Evidently, she moved more towards the choir path, but she still helps out with the musicals here at Erie. 

Burd graduated college with a Bachelor’s degree in Vocal Performance and Theater, and later she continued her education and graduated with a Masters degree in Music Education and Conducting. Now, she sings with a semi-professional choir in her free time. 

There are six choirs at Erie High School, only three of which are audition choirs- 5130, CR5, and Topaz. These choirs mostly focus on advanced vocal techniques, skills in music theory, and stage presence. The non-auditioning choirs- Treble choir, Briggs Street Baritones,and Concert choir mostly focus on intermediate level music and blending choral sounds and skills. 

5130 is one of the auditioning choirs here at Erie High School. It’s called 5130 because of Eries’ elevation which is 5,130 feet above sea-level. This choir mainly focuses on pop, show tunes, vocal jazz and contemporary a cappella. To join this choir, students must have a good understanding of music theory, be able to sight-read, have a great sense of pitch, intonation, and rhythm. 

Burds favorite aspect of 5130 is how distinctive it is, “the fact that we focus on jazz and pop a cappella music makes us unique… and then we get to go do certain special events or competitions that are just for that style of music.” Some of those events include the Greeley jazz festival and 5130 also gets to open for FACE a cappella vocal band every February. 

5130 is one of the smallest choirs here at Erie, Burd added that because of this the community is extremely close knit. “With a smaller group you can get to know each other better.” Burd Stated.

Cooper Chudleigh, a Sophomore in 5130 also affirmed that his favorite part about the 5130 choir is the music and people, “The music is fun, and the people are fun.” Burd always knew since she started working at Erie almost four years ago, that she loved the community and the amount of support from the parents, and admin. “And I knew the students would be amazing, and they have not disappointed, they brighten my day every time I see them,” she reflects.

When Burd first came to Erie High, 5130 wasn’t as well known around the school, like most of the other choirs, “[5130] didn’t always perform at concerts, so they would perform only at outside type events so they weren’t really visible,” Burd commented. Now 5130 performs at every single concert like all the other choirs which made people know them more and made them more respected around the school.

While Burd teaches all the choirs here at Erie, in her professional opinion, 5130 is by far the most competitive choir to join. Burd added, “to be in 5130 you have to also be enrolled in a traditional choir class, …so not only do you have to be enrolled in 2 choirs at the same time, you also have to make sure you do a separate audition that focuses on jazz skills.” These skills are also some of the same skills that students use to audition for Colorado All State Choir. 

While 5130 is one of Eries’ smallest choirs, it makes it that much more competitive, “so even if you’re really really good, you might not make it because we have to keep it small to a certain size, like under 19 [students] because that’s typical for jazz choirs.” Burd states

Practicing is a massive part of being in choir, making sure you know all the music and knowing how it is sung is extremely important. “[Students] are expected to practice outside of class, like any other audition choir, because they have more difficult music and they really have to master it, so it takes more than just showing up to class everyday,” Burd added, “[students] have an expectation to learn music over the summer as well.”

5130, and all the choirs at Erie High have a very close community and relationship with their teacher, Mrs.Burd. Chudleigh added “[Burd] strives me to be better..she holds me accountable.” According to Burd, she feels the exact same way, “[the students] make my job the best job in the world.”