Kobe Burton: not another brick in the wall

The Man in the Mirror

Singer, thespian, composer and superhero nerd are just a few of the traits that embody student Kobe Burton, senior. Music has always been a major factor in his life. Since a young age, Burton has focused on instruments like the piano and most recently the guitar. “I think more than anything music has helped me push through trials and stuff that have knocked me down” Burton said. 

Through his years in high school, Burton has committed himself to several extracurriculars, the most prominent being his involvement within the theatre and choir departments where he holds major roles.

Allison Martinez, senior, has worked closely with Burton for five years. Martinez emphasized that while she works hand in hand with Burton on different artistic endeavours, his leadership and kindness is abundant. 

“Kobe is most definitely a leader. In everything he does… (he) is someone we can all look to for guidance when we need it,” Martinez said. “He treats each and every person he encounters with a huge amount of respect and kindness. His happiness is just infectious.”

Singing in the Rain

Burton’s main two extracurricular activities are choir and theatre, both of which he excels at. These two activities were the reason that Burton decided to go to NPHS. Burton originally got interested in both choir and theatre because of his sister, who graduated from NPHS in 2012.

Compared to when he first joined theatre his freshman year, “(Kobe)’s grown absolutely in terms of his craft. His comedic timing, he has developed over the course of the four years.” Marilyn Strange, theatre teacher, said.

Burton has put a lot of time into theatre to get to where he is now. “He’s every director’s dream. He listens. He retains. He goes home and he practices. And he comes in and has educated questions about his character and about the blocking and about what’s going on. He thinks about things,” Strange said.

With the dedication Burton has put on stage through the school theater programs, he has put equal effort into his role within the choir department. Burton has been part of choir since his first year on campus and is now representing Concert Choir, Chamber Singers, Men’s Chorus and Barbershop Chorus.

Working closely with Burton, John Sargent spoke of how Burton plays a crucial role in his department. “I would say Kobe’s greatest strength lies in his ability to lead entire rehearsals; a skill that very few students have at his age. His positive attributes as a leader and a thoughtful performer are quite advanced. The other singers respect him deeply and he shows care and empathy towards others,” Sargent said. 

Take it to the limit

Just last year, Burton had no idea of what greatness he could achieve with composing. Now, Burton is on his way to attend Biola University for music composition and vocal performance.

The road to Burton’s success has been a tricky one. However, Burton has been reading music and playing piano since he was very young, so he already knew the general idea of music composition.

Along with the knowledge gained over the years, Burton benefited a lot from trial and error.“I tried different things out,” Burton said. “If it didn’t work, it was out and if it did work, it was in.”

Burton has also been aided through his music journey by John Sargent, the choral music director. “I connected (Kobe) with professional coaching and mentoring pertaining to his study of music and voice,” Sargent said.

Sargent has been the most pivotal person in Burton’s life in regards to music. “Without (Sargent) I probably wouldn’t have thought about doing music in college,” Burton said.

The Music in Me

Music is very important to Burton, as he believes it is a form of communication. “You are trying to convey to this person a certain feeling, emotion or memory that you want them to think. And if you get them to think exactly what you want them to think, and in the end really move them, I think that is a job well done by a composer,” Burton said. 

A composer that Burton believes does this very well is John Williams. John Williams is the most influential composer to Burton, as “whenever I listen to John Williams, that’s basically when I realize this is what I want to do. This is without a doubt, something that I want to try to achieve,” Burton said. “It’s really an experience to listen to his music and really be sucked into whatever world he’s trying to take you to. I think it’s just one of the coolest things that you can ever do.”

Burton hopes to become influential in his music composition one day. For now, he is going to try to pursue both acting and composing. “Whatever works out is what works out,” Burton said. “We’ll go from there.”

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