Mindy and Tim Walz, both Lutheran educators, have strived to give their children the best possible opportunities to be successful; whether that be in academics or whatever they seem to show interest in. In most cases, that interest would be music.
As a result of having a mother who was a music major in college, as well as a piano teacher, Mindy, an English teacher at Concordia Lutheran High School, obtained great musical ability that was further passed down to her oldest son, Nathan, and set of twins, Joshua and Caleb.
Nathan, who is a 2018 graduate of Concordia, explains that when he was younger he was eager to take piano lessons and was immediately drawn to music.
With Nathan starting out the tradition at Concordia in Marching Band, his younger brothers followed in his footsteps and shared that same special relationship with music as the rest of the family. From Nathan, who is an exceptional trumpet player and former drum major, to Joshua, who plays trombone, and Caleb, who works percussion, for this year’s Marching Cadets, it’s easy to see the commitment this family has to the program.
“Marching band is a family thing,” Mindy said.
But the children aren’t the only ones who play a big part in the band program.
Mindy is one of the many parents who prepares meals, and Tim, who is the principal at St. John Lutheran School in Kendallville, Ind., works in the pit by helping to set up, tear down and transport the often grand props that are a part of the band’s shows each year.
A regular competition day for the family involves an early morning wakeup call with a late arrival back home; yet the Walzes make it work due to the value that the fine arts at Concordia have on their family.
Mindy says that the band program gave her boys a better social connection at school, being incoming freshmen coming from Kendallville, as well as promotes work ethic and team camaraderie.
“Music makes you smarter,” she added.
Out of the many benefits that are highlighted about marching band at Concordia is the message they’re able to send about Christ through their music.
Nathan reflects back on his time at Concordia, as he’s now a freshman at the University of Notre Dame, and appreciates all the values and experiences he took for granted.
“You don’t realize how that faith spreads into every aspect of what you do until it’s not there anymore. I really miss it,” he said.
He continues to share his message however he can while he is away at college and transitions into his new band family.
Tim and Mindy also place great importance on the value of Lutheran education, not only in their home, but also with the students they encounter.
Mindy explains having parents who were also Lutheran educators added to the value she found in education.
“I grew up in school,” she said.
Mindy and Tim have always stood firm on the belief that faith and education go hand and hand, and that same belief has been implemented in their children.
Tim explains that having family who were also Lutheran educators and going to a Christian university showed him the importance of having education that was rooted in faith.
The Walz’ family’s devotion to not only Lutheran education, but, specifically, Concordia Lutheran High School is evident not only through their involvement in the school’s band program, but also the journey they take and resources used to attend there.
The Walzes live in Kendallville, which is roughly 30 miles from Concordia with 30 miles back every day. Mindy explained that there were many public schools she could have taught at that were closer to home, but she felt God wanted her in a place where she could share her faith freely.
God was pushing her to apply to Concordia, and although she knew how big of a commitment it would be for herself and her family, through prayer and lots of thought she decided to take that job.
She explained that even six years later, it it still a struggle to work so far from home as well as have the boys attend Concordia and be involved in various activities. Every week isn’t perfect, and Mindy became emotional while sharing the struggles she faces when some days are more difficult than others. However, she holds firm to the belief that God wants her here and that she is truly making a difference in this school’s community.
“I see the way that people here have invested in my kids,” she said.
This is what encourages and reminds Mindy to be that same role model in her students’ lives that her kids have been able to have.
Through all the hectic schedules and sacrifices that the Walz family have made, they continue to look to God in everything and remain firm in their faith. Every member of the family has been able to share the gospel in their own way whether that be through music or their role as an educator or leader.
When asked what advice they would give other families who are in similar situations, the family advises to always stay healthy. Not only physically, but emotionally and spiritually as well.
The Walzes try to find moments where they can spend quality time together whether it’s taking a walk, eating dinner together, or having a group FaceTime session with Nathan, away at college.
“It won’t be easy, and it will be messy, but you will be making a difference,” Nathan said.