Growing up, Barbara J. Belew was exposed to the piano through her mother, who was a piano teacher. Naturally, she developed a love for music and began playing the piano at the age of five. After experimenting with the harp, she realized that she enjoyed the instrument greatly and wanted to pursue a career in music. Ms. Belew earned a Bachelor of Music from Hardin-Simmons University with summa cum laude honors in 1951. Moreover, she concluded her academic efforts with a Master of Music from Indiana University in 1953.
A certified music teacher, Ms. Belew excelled as an associate professor of music at McNeese State University for many decades. In addition to this appointment, she currently serves as a harpist with the Lake Charles Symphony – a position she has held since 1958. In the past, she contributed as a harpist for the Rapides Symphony Orchestra as well as the Baton Rouge Symphony Orchestra. A dedicated educator, Ms. Belew prides herself on creating a relaxed environment for her students to thrive in. Her core values include embracing imperfection while always striving to achieve better with each attempt at anything.
Ms. Belew attributes her success to her faith and her passion for the work she does. In a career filled with highlights, she is most proud of performing at her graduate recital. Due to COVID, she has been forced to conduct her music classes through video chat to her students, which is something that she found particularly challenging. She prefers to teach face to face because, she believes that her students grasp the material better.
Throughout her career, she has been greatly influenced by her past harp teacher, Margaret Klate. Additionally, she was encouraged and constantly inspired by her graduate teacher, Sydney Foster. Civically, Ms. Belew remains active within a number of local organizations. A member of the Harp Camp, she also maintains affiliation with the Trinity Baptist Church, where she currently serves as a Sunday school secretary. Ms. Belew also founded the Louisiana Chapter of the American Harp Society, Inc., for which she held the positions of vice president, ensemble coach, and a member of the National Board of Directors.
In the past, she served as the recording secretary for the Lake Charles Piano Teachers Association. Today, she contributes as a parliamentarian of Delta Kappa Gamma Society International –an organization she has been aligned with for more than 50 years. A celebrated Marquis listee, Ms. Belew has been features in several editions of Who’s Who in America, Who’s Who in the World, and Who’s Who of American Women.