CLASS OF 2020: Featuring Lily Kate Blevins. Creative! Committed! Courageous!

Student Interviews on the Impact of the Arts

The Burbank Arts for All Foundation is proud to highlight students in the CLASS OF 2020 who have been part of the robust arts community in Burbank Unified School District classrooms. We hope you enjoy reading about their experiences and getting to know them as we celebrate an important milestone in their lives: high school graduation.

Today, we present to you Lily Kate Blevins, who performed in musicals through the John Burroughs High School Vocal Music Association. Lily will attend Boston University this fall where she will be focusing on Psychology and Music in the hopes of one day becoming a music therapist. Congratulations Lily!

I came in looking for a platform to express my love for music, and I got so much more than I could have ever imagined. From countless hours of practice to breaking down sets to early morning workouts to traveling all across the country, I learned so much about life.

Lily, pictured above. Photo courtesy of Lily Kate Blevins.

My name is Lily Kate Blevins and I am 17. I have performed in the John Burroughs Vocal Music Association’s musicals throughout high school.

What was your first experience with the arts while in the Burbank Unified Schools? My first experience with the arts while in BUSD was in the talent show when I was in fifth grade at Stevenson Elementary. My friend Mary and I decided to sing Popular from the musical Wicked, and that performance led me to my love of being on stage. I remember being extremely scared but then so filled with happiness and love from the rush of being on stage and the people supporting me. I had never sung in front of anyone besides my family, but after this, I could not stop.

What art experience in the schools are you most proud of and how did it impact you? I am most proud of my time in the John Burroughs High School Vocal Music Association (JBHS VMA). Being in that program taught me so much about hard work, responsibility, and dedication. When I first entered as a freshman, I was timid and intimidated by the insane amount of talent around me. That fear quickly vanished, however, as I realized those same people would make up the most significant and most supportive part of my life. I was welcomed with open arms, which allowed me to push myself to step out of my comfort zone. I even got to sing country music with no judgment! I was not afraid of messing up or looking stupid because I knew that I had people to lean on. I could just be myself. I got to travel, compete, be a part of amazing gigs, but my favorite part of the VMA by far is the people I met. As I went through my years in high school, I decided that I wanted to have the same influence on new students as the upperclassmen did for me, so I became an ambassador for the VMA as well as a mentor for Decibelles, the intermediate women’s choir. I would not be the person I am today without the experiences I was involved in and the incredible people who shaped me, pushed me, and supported me.

What advice do you have for younger students interested in doing something like what you do? I would tell any student who is even just a little bit interested in the vocal music programs to take that leap of faith and join. I was terrified to jump into the performances at first, but I cannot imagine going through high school without being in the choir. From making that single decision of joining the VMA, I gained a tremendous amount of confidence, found my best friends, created the majority of my favorite memories, and truly learned who I am. I came in looking for a platform to express my love for music, and I got so much more than I could have ever imagined. From countless hours of practice to breaking down sets to early morning workouts to traveling all across the country, I learned so much about life. I still cannot fathom how lucky I am to have had this program be available to me. I am a better person because of the choir.

Please share your plans for your future after graduation. Are you going on to college? If so, where and what do you hope to study? After graduation, I will be attending Boston University. I plan on focusing on Psychology and Music in the hopes of one day becoming a music therapist.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years? Do you expect the arts to continue to play a role in your life and if so, how? In five years, I see myself newly out of college and, hopefully, studying music therapy. I want to continue to perform throughout my life, and I am sure the arts will play a significant role in my life forever.

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