BATESVILLE — A seasoned instrumental music education teacher with past leadership experience in the United States Marine Corps Band has been selected as the next band director for the Batesville Community School Corporation, according to Batesville High School principal Andy Allen.
Upon approval at the April 19 meeting of the BCSC school board, Michael Walker, currently the music director at Las Plumas and Oroville High Schools in California, will be joining the BCSC staff this summer as the band director at both Batesville High School and Batesville Middle School. Jon Porter is currently serving as interim band director for the 2020-21 school year.
“We are grateful to Mr. Porter for stepping up to help us complete the current academic year,” Allen said. “Mr. Walker’s varied musical experience – from serving in the USMC Band to leading marching band, concert band, and jazz band, as well as other musical endeavors, at other schools – makes him a perfect fit for our needs here in Batesville. With the parent and community support the bands enjoy, we look forward to the program continuing to grow under Walker’s leadership.”
“One of the great things about coming to a new school and working to build a successful program, is how the community rallies around it,” Walker said. “A band program can elevate so many things about a community. The music at the football games can energize the stands to cheer louder and motivate the team to play harder. The band can stir the emotions of the audience which elevates their hearts and minds. I am so excited to be coming to Batesville.”
Under Walker’s guidance, his current high school bands in California were awarded the top overall music ensemble at the Heritage Music Festival in Seattle, Washington, and were invited to perform at Carnegie Hall. While serving in the USMC Band, Walker was an Enlisted Conductor, Drum Major, and Platoon Sergeant, responsible for selecting and rehearsing the music for concerts and ceremonies.
“In a community like Batesville, that has a strong commitment to the arts and cultural enrichment programs, it was a bonus to see that Walker has been the director of the Oroville Community Concert Band since 2018,” Allen said. “Additionally, he has taught private lessons to music students of all ages for 27 years.”
Walker received his Bachelor of Science degree in Instrumental Music Education from North Dakota State University, as well as an Associate of Fine Arts degree from Casper College. He is a current member of the California Band Director’s Association and is a founding and current member of the Band of America’s Few. This unique band is one whose ranks are filled with retired and honorably discharged Marine Corps Musicians.
Walker and his wife Nicole, who will be a law school student at the University of Cincinnati in the fall, have two grown children, Peter and Ariel, who both live in Seattle.
“For those who want to know a bit more about me, I love football, am a certified movie nut, and love to travel,” Walker said. “But my biggest passion is music, as I think it can represent the community in a way that is different from all others. I cannot wait to get started to work with my students in Batesville.”