Thalia Burd: The Importance of the Arts

Thalia Burd: The Importance of the Arts

Ella Valania, Staff Writer

The sound of students’ voices ringing through the P-winchoirg can only mean one thing, one of Thalia Burd’s  classes is in session.

Burd teaches a variety of choir courses at Erie High School, including Women’s Ensemble, Briggs Street Baritones, and Concert Choir. She also teaches three auditioned choirs, Topaz, CR5, and 5130.

Although this is her first full year teaching choir at Erie, Burd is no stranger to the arts, as she comes from a musical family.

“We were always watching operas and going to the symphony, and things like that, so music was kind of in my blood,” says Burd, ”My grandma was a music teacher too, which is kind of cool.”

From an early age, Burd knew that she wanted to be involved in the arts.

”I realized that music was really my passion when I was in a musical for the first time. It was the Wizard of Oz, ” explains Burd, ”And from there, I joined choir and continued doing musicals and choir all through my high school and college career, and that led me to become a music teacher.”

As Burd continued to participate in choir, she was accepted into the Colorado All-State Choir, which played a big role in her decision to become a music teacher.

“I had my first All-state experience with so many like-minded musicians and people who cared as much as me, and I got to work with these amazing conductors,” comments Burd. “That was one of the most life-changing experiences I have ever had. I remember singing the first note with the choir and just being like ‘wow, this is so cool.’ That made me realize if I could be the one in charge, I could help other people to have the same experience that I am having now.”

Despite being the teacher, Burd’s choir classes help her learn and grow as both a musician and a person.

“Teaching choir keeps me on my toes for sure, especially in an online setting,” explains Burd, “I am learning how to do choir, in a completely new way. It definitely forces me to be a stronger musician because I need to know the concepts that I’m teaching to my students. I also learn much from the students. I feel like they have this amazing hope, energy, joy, and passion in them. ”

Burd is not the only one who benefits from her participation in the arts. Any student who participates in the arts learns and grows in a variety of areas. 

“Participating in the arts really teaches you all sorts of things like empathy, humanity, creativity, and just general connection,” explains Burd, “There are also all kinds of studies that show if you participate in the arts, you are better at math and science, and just more prepared for life in general. I think it not only teaches you about beautiful things like art, which our world needs more of, but also useful life lessons.” 

Claire Huber, a freshman, and member of Burd’s Topaz choir, has experienced the benefits of an arts program firsthand. 

“Participating in choir this year allowed me to express myself and provided me with another family,” explains Huber.

Burd is a huge advocate for participation in the arts and would encourage any student who thinks that they might be interested in the arts to try it.

“If someone wants to join a class like choir or theatre for the first time, I would say absolutely go for it. You will have so much fun, meet some of your lifelong best friends, and grow so much as a person,” says Burd, “Even if you cannot sing, I promise that I can get even the most tone-deaf person to match pitch and to have fun being part of the choir, and the shyest person to get out of their comfort zone to be part of a theater experience.”

Burd knows more than anyone just how important it is for schools to allow students to participate in the arts.

“Art is something that we desperately need in our society. We are starving for human connection, we are starving for beautiful things, and that is what art teaches us,”  says Burd, “It is something that you just do not get from your math class. Having the arts in schools truly makes the world a more beautiful and loving place.”

With the recent outbreak of Covid-19, the arts are needed more than ever. Burd knows just how important it is to have programs such as choir in a time like this. 

“The arts are a much-needed outlet, especially right now. Some kids have expressed that the only thing keeping them going in this online or hybrid setting is being able to look forward to their art classes. I think it would be a tragedy if art programs ever got taken away, and I truly hope that never happens.”

Thalia Burd’s passion and dedication to choir help students gain an appreciation for the arts and grow as both musicians and people. Whether it is by providing students with a much-needed outlet or giving them opportunities to express themselves, Burd makes Erie High School a better place.