Helen F. Stokes, age 81, once a leading soprano

May 28, 1991

Helen F. Stokes, once a leading soprano with the former Baltimore Civic Opera Company, died Saturday. She was 81.

Services for Miss Stokes will be held at 1 p.m. Friday at Grace Methodist Church, Charles Street and Belvedere Avenue. Burial will be in Lorraine Park Cemetery.

Born in Crisfield, Miss Stokes began her vocal studies while attending Western High School, in Baltimore. She won scholarships to the Peabody Conservatory and then to the Juilliard School of Music in New York.

In 1930, Miss Stokes won the Atwater Kent radio contest and the following year two national honors: the National Opera Auditions and the National Federation of Music first prize. She studied in Europe at the the Austro-American Conservatory.

She made her debut with the DeFeo Opera Company, on short notice, learning the role of Siebel in "Faust" in two days.

For 39 years, Miss Stokes worked in fund-raising and public relations at Church Home and Hospital, where she also directed the Nurses' Glee Club.

Miss Stokes was associated with the Baltimore Civic Opera Company, now the Baltimore Opera Company, for more than 30 years, first as a singer and later in volunteer roles as director of costumes and wardrobe, and after 1957, as a member of the auditions committee.

As a soloist, Miss Stokes sang at local churches of all denominations. She was choir director at St. John's United Methodist Church and Brooklyn Methodist Church.

She performed with local choral groups, including the B&O Glee Club, the Grachur Club, the Jeunger Maennerchor and the Deutscher Damenchor; with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and the United States Army Band, at Memorial Stadium. Miss Stokes also gave private voice lessons.

Miss Stokes has no surviving relatives. Funeral arrangements are being made by her longtime friend, Victoria Leshinski.

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