Freshman performs the works of Giacomo Puccini

As a freshman, Amandalynne Walker has already starred in “Hairspray” and performed the works of Giacomo Puccini.

Earning a degree in music is the first step for Walker, a vocal performance major, in a long list of goals that includes Broadway shows, The Julliard School for Music and singing opera.

“A teacher of mine told me that if I could imagine myself doing something other than music, I should go do it. I can’t imagine that, so I am here,” Walker said.

Growing up, Walker had many musical influences like Renee Flemming, “The Sound of Music” and Luciano Pavarotti, but it was not until she discovered opera that she was truly inspired.

“Everything I ever listened to was empty until I heard Puccini’s works,” Walker said. “From then on, a new door was opened to great operas and a new way to love music.”

Before coming to Oakland University, Walker was cast in various musicals, including “Urinetown,” “Hairspray” and “Annie Get Your Gun,” where she played the lead role of Annie Oakley.

According to Walker, she would not be majoring in music if it was not for her high school voice teacher, Alta Dantzler, with whom she worked while enrolled at Rochester High School.

“She has opened my eyes, my heart and doors to things that are possible for the future, and as my first voice teacher, I couldn’t have asked for more,” Walker said.

Walker is now part of the Symphony Chorus and Chorale at OU. She is also the recipient of the Betty and Shelly Appleton Critical Difference Endowed Fund, which was established to provide financial support for students majoring in political science, music or dance.

Walker’s practice schedule varies from day to day, depending on the academic strain from classes.

“Occasionally I will take a break and sing for enjoyment,” Walker said. “Practicing is work, not play time — it deserves all my attention.”

Along with classes and rehearsals, Walker will be performing this semester in “Suor Angelic,” a famous opera by Puccini, at Varner Recital Hall Jan. 19 at 8p.m.

“I am amazed that I have the chance to perform my favorite composer’s work as a freshman in college,” Walker said.

The music program at Oakland is just the place for Walker to be, according to associated professor of music Michael Mitchell. He said that many music performance students go on to get a Master of Music in Vocal Performance degree, or they move to different areas of the country or to Europe.

“Oakland has a strong vocal program is known nationwide for producing terrific classical singers,” Mitchell said.