Choir teacher Michael Walsh has been teaching for 38 years, and he has been at Buffalo High School for 33 years. During his time at Buffalo High School, Walsh has helped many students grow and become the best musicians that they can.
“It’s been amazing working with Walsh, truly fantastic,” Sophomore Jack Lanners said. “He has taught me so much over only two years, and he has been a huge impact in my high school career.”
He has influenced the music department and the lives of many students.
“Lots of people see him as mean and crabby,” Sophomore Amanda Krinke said, “but he really isn’t. He just wants all students to be their very best, and he has helped me and my classmates do that over our years at BHS.”
Walsh taught students about music theory and how to sing the correct notes, but he also taught them something you can’t learn in a textbook.
“I hope that music has given them a mean of expression,” Walsh said. “That’s what real music is about, expressing yourself.”
Ending a Career
Walsh is retiring, but he isn’t going to quit conducting and making music.
“I quit my day job,” Walsh said. “I still conduct church choir, a community choir, and a community theater and I intend to keep doing those things. So, I’m not giving up conducting, I’m just really giving up teaching kids during the day. I’m going to miss being able to make this great music and see kids grow and become so much better musicians it’s amazing the amount of talent that Buffalo has, just amazing, I’ll miss that but you know there are other things I want to be doing too.”
“When Walsh first told us that he was retiring we were all really upset,” Junior Kayli Hansen said. “He is a very good choir director and he’s been very good at inspiring us to want to sing and to not just sing for performance, but to love it ourselves.”
Walsh has impacted many kids lives and has given many of them the skills that they will use forever.
“He has helped me explore new areas of my voice involving my range and discovering new music,” Lanners said. “He has also shown me how to grow in the Music Department, and how to get involved.”
A Fresh Perspective
Walsh’s retiring means a new choir director will need to take his place.
“Mr. Walsh is unique and he knows what he is doing,” Senior Jesse Mayer said. “We’re getting a brand new director like he is not even 30 and he’s got to fill the big shoes of Mr. Walsh.”
Zach Carlson is going to teach choir next year when Walsh is gone. Before deciding to come and teach at Buffalo, Carlson taught choir to students in 7th to 12th grade at Dassel-Cokato. He also helped with their fall musical.
“I am very excited for the new director,” Lanners said. “Zach Carlson seems like he has a lot of experience, and I think he will become a huge benefit to the Music Department. He is filled with talent and I believe he will take the position with ease.”
Students are sad to see Walsh leave but they are also looking forward to a fresh perspective.
“[Mr. Carlson] is younger and I think it could be good for the music department because he will bring new ideas to the department,” Hansen said. “We’ve met the new teacher before and he seemed very intelligent and seemed to have a good passion for music.”
Students’ Favorite Memories
Walsh has made choir a fun experience for his students and has created memories that they will remember forever.
“One of my favorite memories of Mr. Walsh is one day we were in sectional rehearsals, and it was altos and sopranos, and he started doing this awesome Scottish impression,” Krinke said. “I thought it was hysterical and I started laughing so loudly. Now, my laugh is pretty distinct and obnoxious; it kind of sounds like a screeching bird mixed with a snort. Anyway, I couldn’t really recover from that and he looked at me and said, ‘And now she’s doing her Miss Piggy impression,’ referencing my laugh, and that only made me laugh more. Getting roasted by Walsh is a favorite pastime of mine.”
Mayer’s favorite memory of Walsh was ‘Talk Like a Pirate Day’.
“He would do that every year and he always tells the worst pirate jokes or the best depending.”
Students aren’t the only people who will have good memories of the years they spent with the choir department.
“I had many great experiences,” Walsh said. “Trips with students, performances that we did in orchestra hall, state conventions. Those are all big memories.”
Walsh is a teacher that will be missed and remembered forever.
“The entire Music Department will miss him,” Lanners said. “He has truly transformed the Music Department for the better.”