Spring 2017

Giving voice

Arnold Walker and Helen Rice Walker, both U of M graduates, performed in New York and the Twin Cities.
Courtesy of Anne Walker Langaard

Anne Walker Langaard, ’81 B.A., grew up in a house filled with music. “I routinely came home from school to rehearsals of singers and ensembles,” she recalls.

It’s not surprising given her parents’ professions. Langaard’s mother, Helen Rice Walker, ’45 B.A., was a gifted soprano and voice teacher renowned on Broadway and in the Twin Cities. Her father, Arnold Walker, ’62 B.A., ’68 M.A., was known for his mellifluous baritone voice. He enjoyed singing and acting success in New York, followed by a 35-year career at the University of Minnesota, where he created and produced programs for KUOM radio and the instructional television division. He also emceed Minneapolis Pops Orchestra concerts at Lake Harriet for 25 summers. Helen and Arnold often performed together and were founding members of the Minnesota Opera.  

“After Mom died in 2012, it was only natural for Dad to establish a scholarship in the School of Music,” Langaard says. “Mom taught voice at the U. Plus, my parents, brother [Adam Walker, ’78 B.A.], and I all graduated from the U. But the real driver was that my folks had a profound belief in education as the key to a better life and a better world.”

The Helen Rice and Arnold Walker Scholarship supports undergraduate students who are studying voice, vocal performance, or opera.  

The first recipient, Sullie Ojala-Helmbolt, ’17, sang at Arnold Walker’s memorial service in 2016. 

Hear Sullie at his junior recital