About The Group
The Walker Sisters, Wilma and Donna, were the fifth and sixth daughters of Herman and Ruth Walker. Their family lived on a farm southwest of Kipp, Kansas. Kipp is located due north of Wichita and west of Topeka in central Kansas.
The girls had a love for music at an early age, even before they were in school. Their dad always played the fiddle. He encouraged his children to learn musical instruments as well as sing. Wilma and Donna became known as the Walker Sisters and were entertaining audiences at many types of events and functions during their high school years.
Their talents got them noticed by another performer in the area at the time at KSAL in Salina, Kansas - Sonny Slater. They were both offered jobs at the station - before they graduated from high school. Donnwas the music librarian for the station while Wilma was the front desk receiptionist. The girls also had their own live radio broadcast every day from 12:15 to 12:45 on what was called the "Kansans" program.
On Saturday mornings, the girls were a part of another KSAL feature program, the "Barnyard Frolics" along with Sonny Slater. That show aired at 10:30am. The show not only featured the music of its stars, but also offered prizes for the oldest and youngest mothers in the audience.
Sonny and the Walker Sisters did many personal appearances around the Salina area at venues such as the local fairs and other events. On occasion, they would perform as part of a package show when a star from the WSM Grand Ole Opry would be in the area.
One such memorable occasion was when the girls got to perform with Pee Wee King and his Golden West Cowboys at Memorial Hall in Salina. Their singing talents were well thought of and they had an offer to record in Nashville. But the girls chose to stay in Kansas, content to be housewives, tending to and raising their families
The Walker sisters entertained audiences over KSAL from 1954 to 1957.
Donna Walker Griffith now lives in Salina. Wilma Walker Howie lives on a farm southwest of Abilene, Kansas. Both sisters have children and grandchildren.
The musical tradition in the Walker family carries on with the daughter of Wilma, Lori Ann Howie Jennings. Her talents include playing the banjo, fiddle and dobro. For a time, she performed with an all girl bluegrass band known as Petticoat Junction. Lori now lives in Salina and works as a medical transcriptionist. While Lori was growing up, she did appearances with her mom.
Credits & Sources
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