Walpole High’s Music Department Enjoys Success


Mackenzie Wilson

If one were to walk into Walpole High and walk through its lobby, he or she would notice a number of trophies for athletic and academic accomplishments.  If they were to continue to walk down the art wing of Walpole High, he or she would see students’ art projects decorating the walls, and on their right, one would notice a long, largely untraveled hallway with a huge room at the end. That room plays host to one of Walpole High School’s most hard-working, often unrecognized departments: The Music Department.

Walpole’s Music Department does not keep its trophies in a fancy case, instead holding them on the back table behind the percussion section, displaying their success in a more simplistic manner. These awards came from competitions over the years, but they are not the only way this under appreciated department has found success. The Music Department is also involved in five festivals over the course of the year: Junior and Senior Districts, Junior and Senior SEMSBA, and All States. Walpole students have performed in all festivals with the exception of Junior SEMSBA. Music department head, Mr. Michael Falker, also has appeared in SEMSBA as the Orchestra Director.When asked, Falker described being Orchestra Director as a privilege and said he was very excited to see how it unfolds. He plans on putting just as much effort in as he does with his own students in Walpole.

Falker’s standards for each student and group definitely are a part of the reason that so many students’ achievements over the year. The students always try to live up to these standards, in hopes of successful auditions or a win in a competition. One of proudest moments of the Music Department this year was a Walpole student’s acceptance to All States.  For the first time in three years, Walpole sent a student to All-States — Senior Steve Salenik-Raccuia, playing the bass in the orchestra.

This festival, only letting in the best musicians in the entire state, is without a doubt a great privilege.  Eight hours of practicing the same musical pieces over and over again were a great challenge. In the end, however, Salenik-Raccuia praised All States and said: “It was really hard. But in the end, [it was] the best players in the state, so we sounded professional.”

Although he constantly jokes about retiring, Falker can always be counted on to come back each year. Falker remains, as ever, the head of the department and the reason that it keeps coming back strong each year. He is the one who finds competitions to showcase his students’ skills, help organizes the ever popular Pops Night, and shows high school students that music can be fun–as long as they stop talking, of course.

The Music Department’s success continues on as the year progresses, but, even then they often go unnoticed in school. But that does not stop them from trying. Whether it is in the fall, with Pep Band keeping fans’ spirits up at football games, or in the winter when Jazz Choir can be found caroling from house to house, everywhere one looks the Music Department can be found, working its hardest to keep up the high standards that Falker has held them up to. Despite their lack of recognition, Walpole’s Music Department is forever hard-working and will continued to be rewarded with success.