BHS Choir Director Mike Walsh Honored as Minnesota's Music Educator of the Year

Mike Walsh
Friday Feb 18, 11
Concert Choir and Band also Honored with Performance at Concert

Mike Walsh, Vocal Music Director at Buffalo High School (BHS), has been named the Minnesota Music Educator of the Year and was honored at the Minnesota Music Educators Association's (MMEA) Convention on Friday, February 18. Walsh is in his 26th year at BHS, directing three curricular and two co-curricular choirs, and teaching advanced placement music theory, classical music listening and American popular music classes.

In addition to Walsh's honor the Buffalo High School Concert Band, under the direction of Scott Rabehl, and Concert Choir, under the direction of Walsh, were selected to perform at the MMEA Conference on Thursday, February 17 at the Minneapolis Convention Center. This performance compares to other activities advancing to a state tournament level of competition.



In his 31 years of teaching, Walsh has also taught middle school choral and general music, and elementary classroom music in Wisconsin and Missouri.  His students have always been active participants in solo & ensemble and large group contests; and his choirs have consistently received superior ratings at regional and national festivals.  Since coming to Buffalo, he has also established and directs a biennial madrigal dinner, serves as musical director for the annual high school musical and is sponsor of the Buffalo High School Tri-M Music Honor Society chapter.   He has coached teams for the Minnesota State Music Listening Contest since near its beginning, and has advanced with a team to the state contest 13 times, placing 1st, 2nd  (2010) and 3rd place (twice) over the years.

A graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a Bachelor of Music Education and a Masters in Choral Conducting from Webster University in St. Louis, Missouri, Walsh has continued his post-graduate education with study at the University of Minnesota, the Oregon Bach Festival, the Voice Care Network and regular attendance at the MMEA Mid-Winter Clinic and the MN-ACDA Dialogue.

Walsh is an active member of MMEA/MENC and ACDA, having recently served as Region 7-8 AA Representative, twice as a section leader for the All-State Men's Choir, music representative to the Region 2AA Committee, and as a region representative on the MN-ACDA board.  An advocate of the Tri-M Music Honor Society, Walsh has served as chapter sponsor at BHS for 25 years and as state chair.  He has also been a presenter for sessions at the MMEA Mid-Winter Clinic on music advocacy, Tri-M and the Minnesota State Music Listening Contest.  An active member of the Music Listening Contest Board for 11 years, he served as that board's chair for two years.

Walsh is also musically active in his community as founder and director of the Wright County Chamber Chorus which is celebrating their 25th  year in existence.  He directs the Senior Choir at Zion Lutheran Church in Buffalo and plays French horn in the Buffalo Community Orchestra.  He also was one of the founders and (nearly) annual musical director of Buffalo Community Theater for which he currently serves as a board member and will be doing musical direction for two productions this season.   He has three children who he is proud to say were each in one of the All-State Ensembles (Choir, Orchestra & Band), and he is happy that he has passed his love of music on to them!

Drawn to music from a young age, he credits having had the opportunity of being taught by great music educators as the inspiration for his teaching.  From his high school choir directors in Waukesha, Wisconsin, to working with Dr. Robert Fountain and Dr. Tony Barresi at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, to having the opportunity to have a Wisconsin state music-educator-of-the-year as his student teaching supervising teacher, he was blessed to have the opportunities he had to learn from master teachers.  After teaching in St. Louis, Missouri, and Pewaukee and Waukesha, Wisconsin, he was again lucky to come to a community that has been so supportive of music.  Buffalo has been a wonderful place for his children to grow up and for him to have the opportunity to share his passion for music.   

"I am very grateful to MMEA for this unexpected honor and to my colleagues in Buffalo who are such wonderful collaborators in this daily adventure of bringing the joy of music to our students.  In particular, I would like to thank Lee Kjesbo, Scott Rabehl, Jill Starr, and Mike Knutson who have made and continue to make such a wonderful difference in my life and in the lives of our students."    

(Photo provided by Lunderby Photography)