Condolence: Mary Helen began teaching at Augustana when I became full time in the fall of 1965. Since then we played many concerts, including well after I started teaching at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1979. Of all the many fine pianists I have heard and with whom I have played she was really a unique, outstanding talent both musically and technically ( I also remember her playing a pretty good recording of her soloing on the last movement of the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto when she was in high school; she also played in a Twin City Youth Orchestra). I also remember her as a brilliant soloist in the Rachmaninoff Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini with the Sioux Falls Symphony while I was the concertmaster and my wife Janet was principal cello. We did so many concerts and a very broad repertoire with her as a trio over quite a number of years. We got to know her pretty well and always being with her and got along well, but she was a complex person with severe personal issues. Both of us are really sorry that much of her life was not happier. However, she has many grateful students as well as former audience members. It's too bad that more information about her is not posted on the internet or in her obituary.
Condolence: I just heard of Mart Helen's passing. She was my teacher at Augustana and I learned so much from her. I also was encouraged by her in my career - she was full of sage advice, and always pushed me to do my best. Being both a pianist and organist meant that she had to work doubly hard and long to keep up both instruments. I know she grew all through her life as a musician and was devoted to modeling musicianship and teaching. She was a gift to Augustana College and to her students there. There is a special place in heaven for those who have given so much beauty so that others could worship. May she Rest In Peace and light.