REXBURG — The Eliza R. Snow Evening of Honors was held March 23 at Brigham Young University-Idaho to honor Robert and Kathleen Nelson and Roger and Gwyn Harris for their significant contributions to the community and BYU-Idaho in music, art and dance.
The event was put on by the Eliza R. Snow Society. This society helps students reach their potential in the areas of art, dance, music and theatre. Donations are used for scholarships, instruments and additional specialized equipment.
The two long-time married couples were awarded during the event held inside the Taylor Chapel that evening.
On receiving this honor, Gwyn Harris thanked Rick’s College/BYU-Idaho for sponsoring programs such as the Eliza R. Snow Society.
“One of the things that I am most grateful for is the arts and for the children in the home, that it has been a wonderful language of the spirit and it has been so much easier to teach the gospel through the arts with our family,” said Mrs. Harris. “It’s been a wonderful bond for them as we’ve participated and danced in the kitchen.”
Mr. and Mrs. Harris have contributed much to the community. Together, they received the Idaho Governor’s Award for the Arts for their community “Support the Arts.”
In addition to teaching theatre at BYU-Idaho, Mr. Harris worked for years on helping maintain and restore The Rexburg Tabernacle and the Romance Theatre. Mrs. Harris organized the Rexburg Tabernacle Orchestra along with getting the city to sponsor it.
An elegant dinner was served at the beginning of the evening. The night included a harp performance, a scene from “Man of La Mancha,” by the BYU-Idaho Theatre department, musical numbers performed by the Nelson and Harris families and much more.
Kathleen and Robert Nelson were also honored for their contributions to the community.
Mr. Nelson taught in the college theatre department and helped bring the new round turning stage table to Ricks College. Mrs. Nelson was a studio teacher for 45 years and helped direct plays with her husband.
“It is my position that theatre is family and in our house, family was theatre,” said honoree Kathleen Nelson.
Kathleen spoke on behalf of her husband. She talked about the close friendship her husband shared with Roger Harris.
“There is a great bond forever between our families, and especially Bob and Roger. They would do anything for each other,” Mrs. Nelson said.
Drawn out set designs created by Bob and Roger layered the tables at the event. Mrs. Nelson said that Roger designed almost every show that Robert directed.
Mr. Harris said that many emotions traveled to his mind during the evening. For 30 years, he was able to work with Mr. Nelson at Ricks College.
“Bob Nelson and I are attached at the hip,” said Mr. Harris. “We were the best of friends and for all of those 30 years, I don’t think we’ve ever had a cross word said to each other. He was a great man and still is and that’s one of the things I have to look forward to is seeing him again.”