February 12, 1896 - January 5, 1988
About Belle ...
Belle Mehus was born in Brinsmade, ND. The daughter of Mikkel and Anne Mehus.
She attended Oak Grove High School in Fargo, ND. After graduating from high school in Brinsmade, she studied for three years under E.A. Boehmer at the Dakota Conservatory of Music at Fargo. She graduated with honors from the American Conservatory of Music, Chicago, having studied with Henoit Levy, a great musical technician. Post graduate study in children's work was done under Louise Robyn. Additional piano study followed in Berlin, Germany, with Adele aus der Ohe, famed pupil of Franz Liszt. She also spent numerous summers studying with the famed pianists, Madame Rosina and Josef Lhevinne.
As a student, Belle Mehus always included one graphic art class in her educational program. She studied design and worked principally through the media of water color, charcoal, and pottery.
Her professional background was varied and extensive. She established and taught Theory and Piano at McMurry College, Jacksonville, Illinois, for two years. She served as chairperson of the Piano and Theory Departments at Augsburg College, Minneapolis, for five years. Prior to locating in Bismark, ND, Belle Mehus was on the Senior Staff of MacPhail School of Music, Minneapolis. Her public appearances included traveling as a pianist on the Chautauqua Circuits for four years, accompanying opera singers and leading symphony string muscians in Minneapolis, performing at the Twin City Music and Dramatic Club, and appearing on Thursday Music programs.
In the fall of 1928, Belle Mehus moved to Bismarck, ND and opened a piano studio, which later became the Mehus Conservatory of Music. Her locations were the Eltinge Building, 119 1/2 North Third Street, the Hart Building, and her last site at 721 East Rosser Avenue, a former church edifice which she purchased and remodeled for her studio and residence.
During the 1930's, Belle presented a series of weekly radio musical programs which were done by the faculty and students of the Conservatory. These half-hour productions were broadcast over Bismarck and Mandan, ND stations.
Drama was also an interest Belle Mehus retained from her early student days. While in Minneapolis, she was active in the Twin City Music and Dramatic Club. In Bismarck, she supported the Bismarck-Mandan Community Theatre, having attended its organizational meeting. In her latest appearance, she played the role of Leonora Fiske in "Ladies in Retirement", which was presented by the Bismarck-Mandan Community Theatre under the director, Charles Schoregge.
Belle was an enthusiastic supporter of the New York Metropolitan opera season in Minneapolis. She was a charter member and guarantor, having attented every performance since its inception in 1944 to its conclusion in 1985. Only three individuals attended all 284 performances.
From the Life of Belle Mehus...