Breezes November Musician Spotlight: Judith Thomas, MHS English Teacher

Karen Rose, Staff Writer

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It is no surprise that MHS houses a great number talented artists— their creations are always showcased along the art hallway walls, and their musical talents shared at the beloved Coffeehouse performances. Not only do students carry this artistic flair, but teachers as well. This Breezes artist spotlight showcases none other than the fabulous Judith Thomas– who has a passion that goes beyond teaching English to high school students.

Thomas has always been involved in music. Currently, she plays electric and acoustic guitar and does some singing and songwriting. However, it wasn’t until fairly recently that she started to pursue gigs around town, and playing on her own. This musical endeavor was set in motion after she was invited to sing with students at Coffeehouse.

“I remember the moment of looking around as we played and sang—people were really listening and into it—and it was this beautiful experience I wanted more of,” Thomas recounted. She said that starting this journey at age fifty has been fun, especially since she does not need to put food on the table with the gigs she gets.

“It feels more like an opportunity to give. And I think it’s cool to keep finding new creative outlets no matter what your age”, she said.  

     Besides the students who helped to get this ball rolling, she has many other inspirations whose work she has studied: Bonnie Raitt, Mavis Staples, and Joni Mitchell.

“It has become almost cliché to cite Joni Mitchell as an inspiration,” Thomas admits, “but she really is one of my heroes. Her writing is the perfect poetic blend of intellect and emotion. She is fiercely and uniquely herself.”

Also on this list is Keri Noble, who she has been studying voice with; she pushed Mrs.Thomas to try writing a song.

“I never thought I could do it, and initially resisted it, but as it turns out, I just needed to be pushed out of my comfort zone and have someone believe in me.”

One could find Thomas playing at the 318 Café in Excelsior- one of her favorite venues. Naturally, she gets nervous before gigs, but to her it adds fuel to the performance. However, her advice to performers who may let their nerves get the best of them is to remember that in the moment, it’s not really about you,-

“You’re just the delivery system for the words, for the feels. Just deliver them up as honestly as you can. Get lost behind them.”

The stage is her home— whether it be in the classroom, or at the Finnish Bistro in St.Paul— she says she’ll continue performing until she dies.

“Music is a gift. And it’s hard work. It’s pure. It’s healing. It’s a blast, man.”