Robert Boen Walls was Professor of Music at Oregon State University from 1947 until his retirement in 1974. He directed all OSU choral activities for 27 years and was head of the Music Department from 1947 until 1965. He established the Choralaires, a select choir with the most talented singers form the larger men's and women's choruses and led European tours by the Choraliares in 1971 and 1973. Walls was honored as OSU Alumni Distinguished Professor in 1974.
Walls was born in Spirit Lake, Idaho, on December 24, 1910. He received his early schooling in Washburn, North Dakota and earned a bachelor's degree in music and education from Moorhead State Teachers College. Walls completed his master's degree in 1936 at the University of North Dakota. He taught at Valley City College in North Dakota and at the University of Idaho, before joining the Oregon State College faculty in 1947. He died in Corvallis, Oregon, on September 10, 1997.
The Robert B. Walls Collection consists of sound recordings of Oregon State choral performances made and assembled by Walls. The recordings include 64 reel-to-reel audiotapes; 47 phonograph records; and 4 compact discs. The bulk of the recordings are of performances by the Choralaires; however, other Oregon State choral groups such as the A Cappella Choir, Glee Club, and Madigrals are included. The performances include Christmas concerts, tributes to the state of Oregon, classical and sacred works, KOAC radio broadcasts, songs about Oregon State, and selections from the Choralaires' European tours in 1971 and 1973. The audiotapes include recordings of choir performances in Baker (1956) and Beaverton (1968), Oregon.
The phonograph records include presto discs as well as mass-produced phonograph records (with jackets for some items). They include recordings from workshops on spirituals and gospel music led by Jester Hairston in 1961 and 1963. Recordings of Oregon State songs, Songs of Oregon State College and Within a Vale of Western Mountains, are included as well as the Face of Oregon, a 1959 concert commemorating the Oregon centennial.
Recordings of performances by Nancy Allworth, Jerry Christopherson, and Byron Walls are included in the collection. The compact discs are reproductions of several recordings within the collection, including highlights of the 1971 and 1973 European tours; The Robert B. Walls Years: 1947-1974; and Within a Vale of Western Mountains, which is also available online in the Best of the Archives. Songs of Oregon State College and Face of Oregon are also available online.
The collection also includes three handbooks on music conducting, notation, and harmony that were owned by Walls.