Walter Kemp Obituary, Death – Walter Kemp, who had been the longest-serving programmer at CKDU, passed away yesterday at the age of 84. He had been the longest-serving employee. Whenever he went anywhere, his daughter accompanied him. The Saturday Morning Musical Box has been hosted by Walter ever since CKDU began broadcasting on February 2, 1985, making him the longest-serving host in the show’s history.
This started during CKDU’s very first week of broadcasting to the public. His performance, which he modestly dubbed ‘classical and associated repertoire,’ went way beyond the traditional ‘easy-listening’ classics, reaching all throughout history through his omnivorous ears. The title of his performance was “classical and related repertoire.” He was able to debate with the same level of seriousness and attention a piece of folk music from the 1960s, an opera aria from the period of the Enlightenment, or a hip-hop tune that caught his ear.
All three genres of music were equally interesting to him. It is not an exaggeration to argue that the majority of Nova Scotia’s classical music infrastructure simply would not exist if it were not for Walter’s zeal and sponsorship; he was largely responsible for its creation. Legend has it that he advocated for and promoted Dalhousie’s music and arts programs with unrelenting energy.
Walter began his academic career at Toronto before moving on to Harvard and Oxford. He was born in Montreal. Between the years 1967 and 1976, he served as head of the Music Department at Wilfrid Laurier University, which he had founded and directed. In 1977, he uprooted his life in order to accept a position as the Head of the Music Department at Dalhousie University in Halifax.
Soon after that, he would be appointed to a position on the joint faculty of the University of King’s College and would be appointed to the job of Music Director of both St. Paul’s Anglican Church and the King’s College Chapel. Both of these positions would be handed to him. During the last years of his life, he worked as the Artistic and Administrative Director of Opera Nova Scotia.