Sharing Talents

After 33 years directing the Buffalo High School choirs, Mike has retired from his day job but is staying active wherever community music is happening.

I believe strongly in the importance of sharing your talents, whatever those are. For me that is helping others to express themselves through music.

Mike taught in St. Louis, MO, and Pewaukee and Waukesha, WI, before coming to Buffalo in the 1980s. A highlight of his career was being recognized as the Minnesota Music Educator of the Year in 2010. He is the founder and director of the Wright County Chamber Chorus, a founding member of the Buffalo Community Theater, and plays the French horn in the Buffalo Community Orchestra.

When I started the Wright County Chamber Chorus there seemed to be a need in the community for people who wanted to sing in a choir other than their church choir. I was invited to help with the beginning of Buffalo Community Theater but theater has always been a love of mine having been involved in plays and musicals since high school and in numerous communities. Both organizations have been going for over 30 years and were started within a couple years of my having arrived in Buffalo.

Mike was raised in the United Methodist Church and has directed choirs in Methodist, Catholic, Episcopal, Unitarian and Lutheran churches.

That has taught me a great respect for the very individual way that faith is expressed and its importance in people’s lives regardless of their particular beliefs. I see what a difference music makes in the life of a person whether they are making the music or listening to it. Music can make a tremendous difference in what people feel about faith and about life.

Mike has been Zion’s Senior Choir director and Coordinator of Music for over 25 years. Beyond directing the choir, this position also involves overseeing other choir directors and special music.

I get to work with such an incredibly dedicated group of people. Many members of the Senior Choir have been singing with choir since long before I came here and are absolutely steadfast in their work and attendance.

His favorite hymn is Be Thou My Vision, because of his Irish heritage and the hymn’s Irish source.

Mike is still active in education as a judge and clinician. He has enjoyed travel all over Europe with the Wright County Chamber Chorus and the Minnesota Ambassadors of Music (high school students), and is looking forward to more travel in his retirement. He has three grown children.

My daughter Dr. Cora Walsh is a family physician in the Twin Cities and lives with her husband, Luke Hollenkamp, and my grandson, Anders, in Minneapolis. Eva Walsh is a musician and works for Johnson Strings, and lives with her husband, Jon Dorn, in Fairhaven, MA. My son Logan Walsh lives in Madison, WI and is studying to be a massage therapist. Erin Walsh is my ex-wife. She taught music at Montrose for many years, directs the Bravo Strings and is a director and choreographer for BCT.

Zion’s Senior Choir welcomes singers from high school students through adults of any age. Rehearsals are in the sanctuary at 7:15pm on Wednesday evenings during the school year. Contact Mike, any choir member, or Sherilyn in the church office for more information.

Music Ministry at Zion