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Memories of the Harris Fine Arts Center
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I cleaned the HFAC in the early morning for nearly two years during my undergrad. I've been in every single room in the building. The best rooms were the animation rooms where you could see the students' interesting, creative, and out-there story boards and drawings.
- Dillon F.
The Harris Fine Arts Center (HFAC) holds a very special place in my heart, for it was here I gained my testimony of the the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
- Rosemary F.
Though they were more difficult than I could've imagined, the classes I took at the HFAC shaped me into a better person.
- Kaden K.
Here I walked the halls with charcoal on my fingertips, paint on my wrist, and hope in my heart. The students and professors here were my family. Speaking directly to the building, which at this point I'm sure has a soul - thank you for everything.
- Anna W.
The De Jong will continue to ring with the final glorious chords and the spirit that once filled its seats will never leave. We are so grateful for this building, a wonderful vessel of hope, pain, tears, frustration, learning, love, and joy.
- Kayla R.
It was in the HFAC that I became the first college graduate in my family since immigrating to the US.
- John S.
I wasn't the singer or the dancer ... I was the guy that polished the floors every morning (in the HFAC) at 4:00 AM. I vacuumed; I cleaned; I was behind the scenes, and my gift to the arts was to prepare the venue for the performers.
- Britt B.
I was a freshman at BYU and was made the stake choir director. The stake conference was held in the DeJong Concert Hall and I got to conduct not only the entire congregation in singing hymns, but a stake choir rendition of "Behold the Wounds in Jesus' Hands." It was a defining spiritual and musical experience during my formative years and something I will always treasure.
- Michael Y.
I was eating lunch one day in the Cougar-eat. I had set my tree down and was sorting through my lunch. All of a sudden I hear a very deep resonant voice say, “do you mind if I join you?” I looked
Up to the somewhat hairless visage of then university president Dalin H Oaks.
- Kevin R.
The HFAC was where I spent a lot of my free time during my freshman year, and it reminds me of my passion for photography. It reminds me of the good memories I created my freshman year, and of starting a whole new chapter of my life by being able to study something I really love. I feel at home when I'm in the HFAC.
- Kimberly T.
I was 13 when I first set foot inside the HFAC. As soon I saw the art and the student films playing, I knew that film was what I wanted to do in life. Then one day I applied to the Media Arts program and got accepted after several attempts. After that I had that same feeling from when I was a kid, confirming that I was on the right path.
- Benjamin V.
I have fond memories of wandering into the HFAC on a Friday night, looking for something to do. I’d go with friends or dates or by myself. We’d write secret messages in musical notation on the chalkboards in music classrooms, or make up games involving the gallery exhibits (“you have 30 seconds to pick which piece of art you’d buy if you could only buy one,” for example, or “tell me one word that each work reminds you of”). As an upperclassman, I began recognizing more of the artists’ names in each exhibit as friends from classes or people I’d interacted with online. I never had a class in this building, but I spent many happy hours here and it played an important role in connecting me with people who are now loved ones.
- Eden B.
I went to BYU in 1980. I worked on the HFAC cleaning crew at 3am, 3rd floor offices. I met someone I worked with; he cleaned the chalk boards in the classrooms. We dated and became engaged, but a few weeks before we were to be married I broke it off because I felt it was not right. Then I came back to BYU for another semester. I met someone else working at the HFAC. He vacuumed the carpets. I was dusting a high shelf when he came to vaccum the rug in the office and asked me to homecoming. We dated and I grew to like this young man. There was a carpeted classroom that was hardly ever dirty. I tore up paper in little pieces and sprinkled them into the shape of a heart on the floor. I had declared my love for the vaccum man. We have been married now for 41 years, with 9 children and 16 grandchildren. After retiring from the USPS, he now works as BYU Events Staff. I'm still in love, thank you to the HFAC!
- Cindy B.
I was a BYU freshman in 1964. I tried out for “The Lamp at Midnight”, the inaugural play in the Pardoe Theatre. I had no appreciation at the time of the significance of the event, as my character had a significant verbal fight with the man playing the Pope, Dr. Metten. The play was directed by Dr. Harold Hansen, one of the greats at BYU. What a great experience as a lowly freshman.
- Marvin R.
To start out, I grew up with a musical family who plays widely diverse ranges of music between Classical and Jazz. I remember seeing my sister's concerts in the de Jong Concert Hall and her recitals at the Madsen Recital Hall. Many of my other siblings also played in the de Jong Concert Hall when they played for Synthesis. I also know a good number of friends of my siblings who were in the music program with them. I became great friends with them too as I saw my siblings grow in their music life.
- Ben S.
The Harris Fine Arts Center holds a very special place in my heart for it was here I gained my testimony of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I had entered BYU as a non-church member and was welcomed with much love and friendship. In 1975, I had been receiving the missionary discussions looking for truth. During the production of Right Honorable Saint, a centennial celebration musical about Karl Maeser, we had opened the show but then lost our lead. Chip Boynton jumped in at the last minute and had one week to put together such a monumental role. The second opening night came. We had an opening prayer as a cast backstage that the spirit would be with us and Chip and all would go well. He was amazing! We again gathered for a closing prayer after the show to give thanks for blessing of a successful performance. It was during that prayer that the Holy Ghost warmed my heart and testified to me of the truth of the gospel. I shall never forget the BYU Harris Fine Arts Center.
-Rosemary Gibbons Flaherty
I had many Merit Badge Camps with Boy Scouts back in the 90’s, and I understandably had my Art Merit Badge classes in the Harris Fine Arts Center. I only went into the HFAC one other time for Education Week 2018, but I heard thousands of stories of all of the plays, choir concerts and other Fine Art Events that took place there. I will sorely miss the HFAC too.
- Jeremy L.
As a music minor, the HFAC was my second home on campus. I had classes in the Madsen Recital Hall. I also had classes, music lessons and practice hours in the underground levels. I attended numerous concerts, recitals and plays in the de Jong, Madsen and Pardoe. Thinking about those rooms brings back a lot of happy memories. I'll miss you, HFAC!
- Jessica P.
The Harris Fine Arts Center has long been my favorite building on campus. The HFAC is where I go when I’m feeling sad or extra happy. I often go for no particular reason to wander the halls or play on the beautiful pianos in the practice rooms. There is so much magic and love in the building that you can sense right when you walk in. I honestly don’t know what I’m going to do without it.
- Tyler T.
I've sung many times with the men's chorus in the HFAC and seen a lot of beautiful art displayed in the atrium. One of the most prominent memories is Eric Whitacre directing the Men's Chorus in Sing Gently and Lux Aurumque. I'll miss this beautiful building.
- Seth J.
I spent many hours studying and teaching in the HFAC. One of my great memories is sitting on the grass outside the building before class talking to my wife (then girlfriend) during our courtship. The building will always have a special place in my heart.
- Val H.
It was one of my first concerts that I played in an actually nice place and it was the one of the last times I saw my friend.
- Matthew D.
I met my husband at the Slab, waiting to go into our BYU Singers auditions. So in a way, you could say that the HFAC is part of the catalyst to what is the greatest blessing of my life.
- Felicity C.
I met my wife in the HFAC! In 2015, I was the student choral clerk for Rosalind Hall (the best boss ever) and my future wife had just joined the Concert Choir presidency. She started to come into our shared office each day to gather some materials she needed for class. After a couple weeks of small talk, I asked her out -- our first date was to a Noteworthy concert, also at the HFAC, and the rest is history! We are now graduated and have three kids. We are so sad that the HFAC is being torn down.
- Drew C.
From 1992-1996 my husband, Mike Handy, sang in the BYU Men’s Chorus under the direction of Dr. Mac Wilberg. Every day during their rehearsal time, I would sit in the back of Madsen Recital Hall & do homework while listening to them practice. Also, the Men’s Chorus concerts in the de Jong Concert Hall were always so uplifting & fun. I looked forward to going to those every semester.
- Amy H.
I used to sit in the atrium of the HFAC in between classes a few times a week. I was pleasantly surprised when there started to be free concerts in the atrium on Fridays while I was already sitting there. It was so nice to have the music to listen to while I worked on homework.
- Jamie H.
I met my wife on the stage of the de Jong Concert Hall. We both worked on department of arts task force. I asked her on our first date in the de Jong, and she asked me on our second date on the Pardoe stage. Around one year later, I proposed to her on the de Jong stage. Our co-workers arranged to have a movie night in the de Jong. She showed up along with about eighty other people to watch the movie. About five minutes in the movie cut out and a movie I made about her life, featuring her family as the actors, came on the screen. There were several episodes in the movie leading to the final episode called “the proposal.” I came on screen, showed the ring, then started to propose when all of the lights in the concert hall went dark. The music from the end of Star Wars started playing, and the crew lowered me down from the rafters, where I had been attached to one of the lighting batons. There were spotlights on the stage and I called her up, where I officially proposed. She said yes. Twenty two years later we have four kids and have taken marital bliss to a whole new level.
- Casey G.
Growing up in Provo, the HFAC was an important part of my childhood. It’s where I saw some of the greatest plays, concerts, recitals, galleries, exhibits and other performances. I fell in love with music and drama because of these experiences and opened my mind to the great world around us. I also had many lessons at the HFAC while learning to play the clarinet from some of the most talented musicians. Our school’s band also performed at the HFAC every year, which was my favorite concert because I got to perform on the stage that inspired me. In college, I was able to see the Red Army Choir perform at the HFAC, possibly marking the high-water mark for US-Russian relations in my lifetime. Many fond memories that I cherish and celebrate. Sad to see such a wonderful building go.
I have so many memories of this special building. Where to start? I loved sitting in the Madsen Recital Hall while BYU Singers were practicing and doing my homework.
- Renee B.
When I started my first semester at BYU, I loved checking out piano sheet music at the library and taking a two-minute walk to the practice rooms in the HFAC. I’d play around on a piano and relieve stress at the same time. Here’s to the new building!
- Isaac N.
When I first came to BYU in the Fall of 1981, I took an Honors Intro to Theatre taught by Dr. Bob Nelson. I was introduced to the magic of this building, and the performances here became a regular enrichment to my college career from 1981-1989. From Pirates of Penzance to The Belle of Amherst by Barta Heiner, The World or Dance, Homecoming Spectacular, The Magic Flute, String Concertos, singing in University Chorale, watching a one-man show on Wilford Woodruff and so much more, even a far out Percussion Ensemble. As young newlyweds, my late wife and I would often visit art displays in the lobby. We were exposed to rich and varied visual arts. My favorite memory there was seeing the original of ‘O Jerusalem’ and we later bought a print for our home. We brought our children back there for events and just to explore when we were on campus. Our scouts came here when we were on Campus for Merit Badge PowWows. Our daughter visited it again when she attended BYU as a student. What a bittersweet surprise it was then, when my wife, Tara, and I came here to watch Merry Widow and found that it was the last, farewell performance in this building… What a treasure this building has been, and how much more valuable has been the learning and growth that has been nurtured here within!
- Steve H.
Watching all the BYU Choir concerts online and just seeing the pure talent from all the singers.
- Caroline C.
This place is my home. I was here from 2015 to 2022 as first an animation major hopeful, and then a graduated Bachelor of Fine Arts in Illustration. I love the vintage bathrooms from the ‘60s with their pink tile and pull-down panels for purses in every stall, the thin rungs of a black ladder leading to a door that probably should have been locked, but unlocked memories for years to come, an opera floating down the hallway, a cello weaving into my lecture on Paleolithic powder. Here I walked the halls with charcoal on my fingertips, paint on my wrist and hope in my heart. The students and professors here were my family. Speaking directly to the building, which at this point I’m sure has a soul—thank you for everything.
- Anna W.
Next to one of the theaters on the second floor, in a tiny little room, there was a computer and a voiceover booth. We called the room “the pocket.” Four years ago, before I graduated, I spent many, many late nights working on student capstone films and other audio projects late into the night. More than once, a security guard would poke his head in as early as 11 PM or (if I was lucky) as late as 1 or 2 AM and told me to get out of there, even though I still had so much to do. It’s weird for me to see a giant cavity in the wall where the voice booth used to be, as well as everything else stripped out. Even though I spent so many long, stressful hours in that room, I know I will miss being able to go back and revisit it. In some ways, it was like a little cozy space for me to enjoy being alone in. Goodbye, HFAC! I’ll miss you, but I’m excited for the future students who will have an incredible new facility to learn about film and theater!
- Jared R.
I attended BYU from 1987-1991 and had choir class and piano lessons in the HFAC. I used the piano practice rooms on the second level. When my boyfriend played a beautiful composition piece for me, he asked me if would marry him. I told him YES! We have been married for 33 years now!
- Heather G.
I was a freshman at BYU when I was made the stake choir director. Stake Conference was held in the de Jong Concert Hall. I got to conduct not only the entire congregation in singing hymns, but a stake choir rendition of "Behold the Wounds in Jesus' Hands." It was a defining spiritual and musical experience during my formative years and something I will always treasure.
- Michael Y.
My wife and I both have many memories in the HFAC. She was in orchestra and choir, and I did opera choruses and a music minor. We both remember all the fun conversations we had with friends at the Slab. We also have so many memories of going to BYU concerts and plays and basking in the performances of the incredible groups and soloists who have come through. Our most special memory was going on our first date to see Bishop Causee and Maestro Giusti perform their album of hymn arrangements. The HFAC will always hold a special place in our hearts, and we look forward to many more years of musical memories at BYU.
- Jacob D.
The Harris Fine Arts Center and its denizens have given me many unforgettable experiences. As a transfer student to BYU after my mission, I thought the law school was the most beautiful building on the outside, but the HFAC was the most beautiful building on the inside. I will miss its tiers, halls, alcoves, galleries and stages. I will remember my peers and roommates waltzing in the Mormon Arts balls, dancing through layers of loveliness. I will forever treasure Dr. Mack J. Wilberg, leading the Men’s Chorus in “Betelehemu.” The soprano in Mahler’s 4th symphony sings for the little children in paradise: “There is not yet any music on earth that can compare with ours.” Perhaps that is true, but on many occasions, the Harris Fine Arts Center brought us all closer to paradise.
Recently my friend Bonnie Bingham and I enjoyed such an occasion when we got to attend the VOCES8 a cappella concert in the de Jong Concert Hall of the Harris Fine Arts Center. Due to illness, I had missed their performance when they came to perform a few years before, so I was looking forward to the 2022 performance with great anticipation.
The a cappella devotional music of VOCES8 became important to me on Christmas Eve 2017 after I heard the song “Bogoroditse Devo” from the All-Night Vigil by Sergei Rachmaninoff on Classical 89 FM radio. I was sick during the holiday break that year, so I was home alone. As Rachmaninoff’s beautiful anthem began to play, I felt transported to the scene of the first nativity, and I knelt in adoration. Later, I looked for the song online and found the VOCES8 rendition of “Bogoroditse Devo.” I listened to it often and shared it with my friends, students and family members.
- Cynthia H.
I worked on the design of the Museum of Art with the architect who was in the architectural firm that designed the HFAC, James Langenheim. Personally, I enjoyed many years in the building working with many campus clients here on renovation projects with my responsibilities with Physical Facilities Planning. As a student I had many dates in the building, my wife having graduated from the music program. Our favorite photo is of us together, her sitting on the LOVE sculpture leaning on me, before our marriage over 40 years ago.
- Gene L.
I remember singing countless times with the Women’s Chorus and jumping off the risers to finish a song!
- Angela G.
The HFAC will always hold a special place in my heart, and my connection to it is a surprising one. I am not a music or arts student, but the HFAC is dear to me all the same. From 2020 to early 2021 when COVID meant that all classes had to be online, I would participate in my Zoom classes daily from the seating areas on the main floor of the HFAC. I didn’t feel guilty talking out loud as I would have had I been in the library, and I was occasionally serenaded by music coming from some random corner of the building. It was a comfortable place for me for the entirety of that year, and in the following year that “safe space” nature of the HFAC for me translated into being the reason I would frequently sit by the base of the stairs to eat my lunch. It was my comfort zone. I will also always have the fondest memories of playing Sardines with my various FHE groups, using the same hiding spots I’d acquired over the years. I’ll always miss the pink-tiled walls of the bathrooms, the enormous amount of well-stocked vending machine options found in the tunnel and the beauty of the de Jong. The HFAC was my haven!
- Cheynie W.
Singing Carmina Burana as a member of Women’s Chorus just weeks before Covid. Those performances are some I will NEVER forget.
- Emily F.
I was on BYU Theatre Ballet for 5 years, all of which I performed in the beautiful theatres in the HFAC. Some of my best college memories were made while performing in the HFAC. In March 2022, I proposed to my now wife on the de Jong stage after we performed together in Ballet in Concert. The HFAC will always hold a special place in my heart.
- Ryan H.
The Annual Mormon Arts Ball was an elegant evening for a poor college couple. Best part of the evening: trying to merge in to the fast moving polka circle without getting run over. So much laughter (even for those who fell down!). Memories for a lifetime.
- John J.
The HFAC blessed me with countless incredible music experiences. One in particular that I will always treasure is singing on the de Jong stage with my mom for the BYU Singers Reunion concert in 2022. Being able to sing with my mom in a choir and on the very stage that changed both of our lives will forever be one of my most precious memories.
- Lauren L.
We used to come here for band festivals every year when I was in high school. The building has such a cool design, but it seriously is such a labyrinth. It just gives it more personality that way.
- Josh G.
Art and music have always been a big part of my life. When I was a kid I came to the MOA and the animation department. I got to talk to a couple of students and my passion became apparent. I decided I wanted to be an animator. In 2021 I was thrilled to take pre-animation classes here to grow my skill and drive. Though they were more difficult than I could’ve imagined, the classes I took at the HFAC shaped me into a better person. Now I’m a part of the choirs and I have the opportunity to sing a requiem, a last goodbye to this beautiful place. I will miss it.
- Kaden K.
I met my husband through BYU Concert Choir in the Madsen Recital Hall and laughed at him across the room every time he dropped his music off of the front ledge. We flirted, commiserated and laughed day after day at the Slab for the last two years of our college degrees. The de Jong will continue to ring with the final glorious chords and the spirit that once filled its seats will never leave. We are so grateful for this building, a wonderful vessel of hope, pain, tears, frustration, learning, love and joy.
- Kayla R.
It was in the HFAC that I became the first college graduate in my family since immigrating to the US. Many great memories of Public Relations courses and the wonderful Dr. Laurie Wilson!
- John S.
In December 1973 at about 10 p.m., my best friend and I looked for a quiet place to be alone and talk. We settled on the HFAC, downstairs in one of the practice rooms. As we talked, he asked me to marry him! I said yes. Forty-nine years and six wonderful sons and 25 super grandchildren later, we still hold the HFAC with fondness in our hearts as the beginning of a grand adventure.
- Jerroleen S.
I loved wandering the second floor along the practice room hall and listening to the cacophony of people practicing different instruments all at the same time. It was wonderful! Also, being on stage in a combined choir concert singing Christmas music, surrounded in the most complete surround sound of 400+ singers and and orchestra, is a fabulous sublime memory.
- Callis G.
I performed in the Chorus of The Magic Flute in 2019. It is my favorite opera, and I was so excited to start college by performing in it. I had so much fun with my fellow performers, as we struggled not to laugh while onstage, and played Pokémon in the wings. I made friendships that have lasted beyond going on my mission, and hopefully after college as well. It has been an honor to study in a building with such a rich history, and I hope I join the alumni of successful musicians as I enter my career.
- Rachel M.
I have six children, ages 7-23. All of them went through the Young Music Makers program starting with Susan Kenney down through Emilee. We have come here every Saturday for 20 years. My second daughter is here now at BYU singing in Concert Choir a solo tonight in 'Johnny Has Gone for a Soldier.' Dr. Wells was in Men’s Chorus with my husband. When my daughter Glory sang 'Matchmaker' with Men’s Chorus last year, we said, “Now you’ve both been in Men’s Chorus with Dr. Wells.”
- Noel T.
I came to watch my cousin perform here. There weren’t any seats left by my extended family so I sat a few rows up. I ended up sitting next to a girl. She was very curt with me but somehow by the end I got her number. We’ve been married 10 years now. We’ve come back and visited this building many times now. Very grateful for it.
- Tyler B.
In 1964-65 I was a senior majoring in Russian at BYU. Russian cellist Daniil Shafran and his accompanist wife Nina came to BYU early in 1965 to concertize in the gorgeous but barely-completed de Jong Concert Hall of the HFAC, and I was asked to serve as interpreter for the Shafrans for a day even though my Russian then was primitive. Shafran spoke no English and was demanding; he wanted the stage piano tuned to A= 444. It was done, but not entirely to his satisfaction for some reason. He got through the first half of his concert program all right, but during the intermission Shafran announced that he would not return to play the second half of his program unless the overhead lights were readjusted to his demands. The de Jong stage manager said they couldn't do that without bringing in special equipment and Shafran threw a hissy fit. I was struggling to translate his demands and the stage manager's answers, but Shafran was adamant. Finally I gave up translating the stage manager's answers and told Shafran that this was a brand new facility and everything was not quite finished yet. Since new Soviet buildings often have problems, Sharfan immediately understood and agreed to complete the second half of his program. Later as BYU Professor of Russian I taught classes in the HFAC, loved the artistic ambience and often remembered how my Russian was put to the test back in 1965. I'm surprised to have lived to see the beginning and the end of this remarkable building.
- Donald J.
I have spent so many hours in the practice rooms in the basement of the HFAC. When I was tired (which was often), I would find a quiet place under the stairs and take a nap. I always felt safe and held by the building while I worked, rested and expressed myself through music each day. Its quiet solitude was always comforting.
- Amberlee A.
I tripped on the stairs and hit the floor right alongside my violin case. Since this building has such great acoustics, the crash reverberated and people peeked out across all three floors so see what happened. I had a friend carry me out of the building with bruised pride and a sprained ankle. I willl miss this place, but definitely not the stairs.
- Anya Searle
The music and story of "The Rainbow Academy" musical has strong connections to the HFAC. The live piano for the cast album recorded entirely in Studio Y using CASCADE Fat Head Ribbon microphones! The first full read-through of an earlier draft of the musical was done in the HFAC, and conversations regarding recording the original cast album also occurred here. The musical was almost performed in two separate locations in the HFAC, and consequently censored in another room of the HFAC. So through happy and bittersweet moments, our musical has a lot of memories there. We hope that the demolition brings closure and new, happier moments and memories and musicals to come.
- The Rainbow Academy
I did a few MASK clubs here. I made a lot of good friends and had a really fun time. The HFAC is such a labyrinth; I love it.
- Noah C.
I remember hearing from Mitt Romney and Jimmer Fredette in the de Jong, and having my first taste of Graham Canyon on its patio.
- Jamison D.
Women's Chorus and Men's Chorus held a country swing dance in the gallery! It was so much fun to dance and sing along to "Footloose"! It was a swingin' good time!
- Elizabeth G.
I LOVE the sax players ability to play the sax. I really thought they did a great job!! It was so fun to listen to them share their talent with everyone. I really liked the last song they played the best. It was my favorite. I want to bring my roommate next time because he’s my friend and I want to show him how good they are.
- Oliver S.
I cleaned the HFAC in the early morning for nearly 2 years during my undergrad. I’ve been in every single room in the building. The best rooms were the animation rooms where you could see the students interesting, creative and out-there story boards and drawings. Thanks HFAC for helping me to support my family and pay for my degree.
- Dillon F.
I will miss singing in each of the rooms and discovering their particular resonance. The large warehouse space in the basement had such a fun echo. The Madsen and de Jong will forever hold a special place in my memories.
- Carrie J.
About a week into my first semester as a freshman, I realized that there was no where I could be alone at college. I had 6 roommates and a shared kitchen, busy classes and buildings. Then I discovered the grand piano rooms in the basement of the HFAC and my introvert heart rejoiced. I wasn't a music major but I viewed the HFAC as a welcome respite and spent many spare moments between classes practicing piano or sometimes just sitting in a room that felt like my own.
- Julianna B.
I have such wonderful memories of the HFAC and the College of Fine Arts and Communications. I spent so much time in the building during my college years 1976-1982. I received both my BA and MA degrees here and remember walking across the stage in the de Jong getting my diplomas, of course with the help of the CFAC faculty, my fellow students and staff. And now, I work here at BYU (for the past 18 years) and have enjoyed so much spending time in that dear old building, from the many musical concerts, performances, devotionals, Education Week, taking classes as an adult learner and even now learning to play piano and the countless hours of practicing in the basement. BYU will not be the same with the HFAC, but it will long be in the hearts and memories of so many of us.
- Royce V.
A speech & art ed student, I cherish numerous memories of learning, creating and connecting in the HFAC. THE highlight, however, occurred at the end of a 1990s Celebration of Christmas concert when the audience was invited to join all the performing groups in singing, "Jesus, Once of Humble Birth." The sound was beautiful, both loud and reverent; the spirit, absolutely transformative! Singing that hymn now in sacrament meeting, I often get emotional at the memory and can still recall where I sat in the de Jong Concert Hall. To me, it will always be a Christmas song of praise to Jesus Christ.
- John P.
I have compiled a lifetime of memories of the Harris Fine Art Center—decades filled with performances enjoyed, classes (both taken and taught), strolls through galleries and so much more. My most vivid and treasured memories have taken place, though, in the A wing on the HFAC’s fourth floor—hallowed ground to me. That was where I first began to fall in love with a fellow student in 1979 when he and I were enrolled in different art classes held in classrooms off that hallway—he in A-430 and I next door in A-440. As time unfolded, we married, both graduated and started our family. He began a career in graphic design and I was fortunate while raising our children to teach calligraphy classes part-time as adjunct faculty for the BYU Department of Art for 26 years, a job I truly loved, full of delightful and enriching interactions with wonderful students. I taught in the same classrooms in the A wing where David and I had both been students, as well as in others off that hallway and upstairs on the 5th floor.
A few years into my tenure I was issued a locker in the A wing 4th floor hallway for storing teaching supplies—it was annually renewed by the Art Department until I stopped teaching 19 years later. I will never forget the number (944) and the combination (42-0-34) and for years afterward whenever we have happened to be in the HFAC, we have always paused in our beloved 4th floor hallway to try the combination; usually the locker doesn’t open, but occasionally it does! (We always slam it shut quickly and guiltily when that happens.) I am sad to think that I have tried that locker combination for the last time, but am forever grateful for the rich memories that I will carry with me of the HFAC A wing fourth floor and how events that took place there over many years have guided the direction of my life and forever will be a blessing to me.
- Nancy N.
The Madsen Recital Hall is a special place for me. Many of my most cherished spiritual experiences occured while listening to performances in that sacred space.
- Chad M.
I spent many many hours in the practice rooms downstairs so it was always a nice treat when I’d get a chance to practice in my professor’s office. One night after finishing up practicing in Dr. Shumway’s office I decided to turn off the lights and listen to Mussorgsky pictures at an exhibition. I opened up the blinds and looked out over campus. It was beautiful to see the lights and listen to beautiful music to finish out a long day.
- Katie P.
When I was a freshman, our Ancient Instrument ensemble, headed by Homer Wakefield, would at each week in December before Christmas, go up on the high lobby floor and play Christmas carols on recorders with Professor Wakefield on the harpsichord. Students loved our mini-concerts and the spirit of the season our music brought to the HFAC.
- Dan B.
I remember the first time I entered the HFAC as a freshman with a deep desire of studying music. When I entered through the doors, I remember being amazed by the design of the building. I saw the tall stairs, the black ceiling, and the bright but warm lights. I felt the Spirit very strong and received a confirmation that I had to study there; that that was the building I had to study in. After that day, I worked extra hard so I could be admitted into the program. I am so glad I eventually made it. The HFAC has seen me grow my talent and build my character. It has seen me single, married and now with a baby. I have learned all I know about music there. I have struggled but eventually succeeded there. I have cried, I have laughed, I have sung my heart out, and I have made beautiful music in this building.
I will always cherish all the memories I’ve made at the HFAC, which is like a second home to me. The HFAC is sacred ground for me. I am very grateful for every moment I’ve spent there and for every friendship I’ve made.
THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR EVERYTHING, DEAR FRIEND! You will always have a sacred place in my heart.
- Cristy Ruiz
For over 50 years, the HFAC has held a special place in my heart. My first official date with my future husband was to the Mormon Arts Ball held in the B.F. Larsen Gallery. A year later we were married. My husband passed away a few weeks ago and tonight I attended the last performance held in this beautiful building.
- LeeAnn B.
I will always treasure the time my family and I have come to see the musicals performed in the HFAC. It was the highlight of doing family things. I will miss this place.
- Malie N.
I love to sing. In high school I would come to the HFAC and practice singing in the practice rooms. As I’ve come for school here, those practice rooms became a safe haven for me. I was so grateful for the ability to work on my talents in such a nostalgic place for myself.
- Malie N.
I worked in the theater ticket office next to the Pardoe Theatre. I was given two free tickets to every show and loved watching the productions. In the fall of 1990 a new guy in my ward asked me on a date to a theater production. I didn’t tell him I had two free tickets to the show, so I let him buy the tickets. It was the first of many dates and the HFAC was the setting for the blossoming romance. We were engaged in February 1991. We spent a lot of time in the HFAC. We loved seeing the changing art exhibits and attending theater, dance and music productions. We have since walked through the building many times with our children (3 who have been BYU students). If we were visiting campus from Ohio - a walk through the HFAC was a tradition. I will miss that. If I had known in the fall of 1990 how much the new guy and the HFAC would come to mean to me - I probably would have used my free tickets for the date!
- Anne L.
Tuba Christmas is so fun!
- Drew G.
Last Tuba Christmas!
- Merrit H.
My first year at BYU, my sister and I would go early to the practice rooms. Once we were stopped once by custodial while belting out songs on the truck ramp ""too early"" one morning when roommates had set our clocks ahead.
Ushering at the de Jong allowed me to meet many people and share in countless concerts and performances. Band practice and performances were memorable. Once when Brother Bachelder told us on the de Jong stage we sounded too much like a marching band? Countless other memories of classes, performances, exhibits, abound. It was a joy to have my children also make and share their own memories there. Farewell, good friend!
- Jolene C.
So many productions, so many memories. At age 12, I attended “Lamp at Midnight,” one of the first productions at the HFAC. Seven years later I was in a play, “Abe Lincoln in Illinois,” directed by Charles Metten. Years later, my daughter danced in the community dance program and my sons were in BYU choirs. I will never forget the splendor and power of Beethoven’s Hallelujah with the combined orchestra and choirs. I am a part of all that I have met at the HFAC. Thank you BYU.
- Clark B.
Saw a ghost.
- Josh C.
I have so many fond memories of participating in concerts as a member of the BYU Men’s Chorus in 1997-98 and 2000-01. But perhaps my favorite memory is when I was the conductor for our BYU stake choir for an Easter performance and my “friend” and later wife was the accompanist on the organ. It started a tradition of making music together in our marriage and later with our seven children, one of whom is now a violin performance major and whom I have had the privilege of watching perform in the beloved de Jong Concert Hall.
- Jason G.
When the King's Singers came a year ago I had so much fun watching them sing and have fun on stage! I will miss this building and all of the fun amazing things that happened inside of it.
- Holly S.
I have seen and participated in performances in the HFAC since I was a kid. I especially loved coming to watch the Nutcracker here on elementary field trips. But my fondest memories include hanging out in the Madsen lobby before Concert Choir rehearsal and doing the NYT crossword puzzles with my fellow choir friends. Performing in the Christmas choral concerts were also some of my favorite. I’m so glad I could share concerts at the seeing with my own kids, VOCES8, Synthesis, King’s Singers… all so amazing.
- Heidi S.
I have been in this building for several years, watching concerts and participating in graduation ceremonies. There has always been a special feeling of sacrifice in this building of the countless people that have worked so hard on this beautiful campus. So grateful for the many moments that have brought joy to my family and friends in the historic HFAC.
- Emily W.
In this building, I gained a deep and abiding appreciation for words of truth shared through the medium of vocal music led by exceptional conductors under the life-changing influence of the Holy Spirit which lit a flame within my soul that has never left me. Thank you, dear friend, for providing me with the place that has become a Waters of Mormon for my soul.
- Nathan M.
In January of 1996, I met my wife for the first time in an HFAC art class. After a couple of weeks, the instructor asked us to choose a partner and draw them, so I spent that whole class gazing into the eyes of my future wife. A week or two later, there was a snow storm, and somehow, everyone in the class heard that class was canceled - except for the two of us. So we sat alone together and held hands for the first time. We were married just a few months later. Since the HFAC is so significant for our family, it’s fitting that our oldest son is participating in the very last concert in the de Jong Concert Hall.
- Ben C.
I was 13 when I first set foot inside the HFAC. As soon I saw the art and the student films playing, I knew that film was what I wanted to do in life. Ever since then, I felt so drawn to this building. Then one day I applied to the Media Arts program and got accepted after several attempts. After that I had that same feeling from when I was a kid, confirming that I was on the right path.
- Benjamin V.
I remember being a freshman 4 years ago and standing in front of the HFAC just crying. I didn’t think I could do it. 4 years later, I am a semester away from graduating with my music degree and will be forever grateful for the opportunity to study here!
- Grace S.
I cannot even fathom how many hours I’ve spent in this building! I’ve probably experienced the full range of emotions within its walls - joy, panic, sadness, delight, peace. Lots of happy and sad tears shed during my time at BYU. I was especially grateful to have been a member of BYU Singers from 2015-2016. What a gift to spread such quality music in such a top-tier ensemble. HFAC, you’ll be missed. Sorry I used you as a swear word replacement so often.
- Amanda R
There is a room on this campus that is unlike all the other rooms. You may not notice it if you’ve just come in for the first time, though you just as likely might. This room is alive and exciting, sharing a heartbeat with anyone who enters. Mind you, it has every reason to be weary and tired, a sort of dark and foreboding room. Every day, we come to the room, hundreds of us, and we breathe out all of our woes. This room has taken in my tears, and thousands more before mine. It has taken in heartache and heartbreak, anxiety and crippling stress, the fears and passions of those who possess them; it has felt the weight pressing on those who have stopped feeling. The room is sacred to us.
I’ve never heard a single word of protest from this room. The room doesn’t give any of our woes back to us, either. In fact, it breathes abundance. I learned in this room that there is always enough. The room pushes back at our doubtful, tired breaths that there is always enough - enough air to breathe, enough words to speak, enough of ourselves to give. “Breathe in the abundance,” the woman at the front of the room tells us. And we do. I usually take my breath from the very front of the room, high in the corner, above the organ pipes. The air in that corner is blazing with sunshine, bright blue skies and the smell of pine trees. Sometimes if I don’t want that air, I might take my breath from the middle of the room, just above my head. There the air is warm with a soft welcoming glow, even when everything else is frozen and distant.
Wherever I take my breath from, it brings focus. I learned in this room to be entirely present. The room reminds us every time we come inside that we can be excellent if we focus. Sometimes we try to do more than one thing at a time, and the room patiently waits for us to focus once more. It rewards us for our focus by singing to us. Overtones whistle over our heads and make our endorphins dance. The woman at the front of the room speaks again, her enthusiasm shining through in a sing-song Welsh accent. “Why would you ever choose to be anything but excellent?” she asks. We smile at each other, breathe together and sing.
We focus on the words. Words that give meaning to everyday worries. Words that give hope, help and healing. Words that inspire. Words like “esse quam videri - to be rather than to seem.” I learned in this room the real meaning of words. There are so many that we forget some, even most of them. But this room doesn’t forget. The room reverberates with the ageless, empowering meaning in the words. “Benedictus qui veniet - Blessed is he who will come.” The room envelops us in the words. “My sin, not in part but the whole, is laid on the cross;” “Cover my defenseless head with the shadow of Thy wing;” “Oh Praise God in His Holiness;” The room echoes the word “Alleluia,” over and over and over again.
We all have to leave this room at some point. The woman at the front is leaving soon. She’ll take a lot with her; for some she will take almost everything. In years to come, I will leave this campus and the room with it. It may well be that someday the room itself will disappear. But the air will still be there. In those days, we’ll remember the words. We’ll remember the focus. We’ll remember the abundance. The woman at the front speaks to us for the last time. “Wherever life takes you,” she says, before pausing to breathe in, “don’t ever forget the air of this glorious room.”
- Taylor R.
I applied to attend BYU in 1993 but was rejected. I talked to the admissions office and they said the only way I could get in was a half tuition scholarship from one of the departments so I went to the HFAC in the fall of 1993, found the audition board and auditioned for "Merry Wives of Windsor" directed by Barta Heiner. I told her I wasn't a student, but if I could get a scholarship, I could be. She got the ball rolling and I started as a student in the spring of 1994. I was not only in "Merry Wives of Windsor," but "Scapin," directed by Charles Metton, and "Philadelphia, Here I Come," directed by Marion Bentley. I treasured my time in the HFAC as a theater education major and later as a broadcast journalism major before dropping out of school to pursue other interests. I spent so many hours in the HFAC studying, attending performances and rehearsals and hanging out with my friends. This building was the gateway to my acceptance into BYU and I will always be grateful.
- Derek C.
During my time at BYU as a member of the Women's Chorus, the HFAC was always my favorite place to be. Through the music that we sang, I felt my soul grow closer to Christ as our songs testified of Him. I progressed as both a performer and a daughter of God, and I am so grateful for that wonderful opportunity.
- Morgan B.
I will never forget singing “Angels We Have Heard On High” under the direction of Mack Wilberg during the Christmas Celebration concert in the very early 1990s. It left such a deep impression in my heart as how it might feel to sing with the angels announcing Christ’s birth. In all my years since I hold that memory and privilege so dear to my heart. Even more profound is to see my daughter basking in the beauty of singing on that same stage having those same experiences that will impact her life forever! I currently sing with the Kansas City Symphony Choir and I know my love for choral music and the thrill of singing with the symphony started in the HFAC and on the stage in the de Jong concert Hall.
- Holly H.
My first drum solo at BYU and encounter with one of my best friends, Nate Camp, was in the HVAC.
- Kevin S.
I came to BYU as a new convert. Dr. Woodbury was director of Men’s Choris in those days. He was so inspiring. He even let me take a picture of his ear for my photography class. I was still singing when Dr. Wilburg and Staily first came to BYU. Our performance improved remarkebly. Returning in 2018 for graduate work I was overwhelmed at the excellence of performing groups and individual talent. One afternoon my spirits were lifted by Beth Christiansen’s rendition of Liszt’s Appasionata, Etude 10. I believe BYU Fine Arts is at and headed for international performance and leadership.
- Bill C.
The HFAC will always hold a special place in my heart. Ever since I went to Summerfest at BYU when I was fourteen, it just felt like home to me! I spent most of my days as a student in that maze of a building. One of the best parts is that I have been able to take my daughter to the Young Musician’s Academy- held in the same room in the HFAC that so many of my Music Ed classes were in. I’m going to miss the nostalgia that comes with being there, but I’m grateful for the memories and excited for there to be a new building!
- Emily B.
When I returned to BYU in 2015 to finish my undergraduate degree after a 15-year hiatus, my initial classes were in the HFAC. It was a great place to start, since it was a building I had distinct memories of. I took night classes in upper rooms, studied animation in basement theaters, and loved watching projects unfold in the common/display areas. I love it's unique layout and all the different ways you can access the building. I'm very sad to see it go. I'll be visiting soon to get one last walkthrough before it's gone. One of our first art projects for ART 101 in 2015 was to draw Sirius Black as a class. The attached image is our combined work laying on the main floor of the HFAC, as seen from the third floor.
- Nate F.
I went to class in the HFAC almost everyday when I transferred to BYU as an Art Education Major. I loved my art classes, figure drawing, printmaking, sculpture to name a few... As well as my art education classes, taught by great professors who really taught me how to bring art lessons to life. I gained a great knowledge and joy for teaching art while sitting in class in the HFAC, as well as life long friends with my classmates. I have used all that I gained in that beautiful building and shared it with many students as I have taught art for the past 19 years.
- Kate K.
The Harris Fine Arts Center was a huge part of my education. I played in the orchestras, took speech and art classes, and wandered the halls near the practices rooms and the tunnel. I will never forget private lessons with David Dalton and being invited to the viola master class with William Primrose, the greatest violist who ever lived. Irreplaceable will be the magical annual Mormon Arts Ball of yesteryear where orchestras and jazz bands provided the dance music on four floors, surrounded by plays, art displays, and concerts in the theaters, performance halls, and galleries. BYU students and friends in tuxedos and gowns dancing the night away in the excellence of culture which rivaled that found in the great cities of the world. Through the many years in the Harris Fine Arts Center, my treasured experiences moved the needle in awe from First Time Participant to Performing Artist and everything in between.
- Nancy N.
I have many great memories of the HFAC. There is one I find particularly humorous. I went to a practice room one evening to memorize saxophone music for the marching band. Pretty soon someone came and asked me to stop as I was interrupting a performance. I guess my playing was "show stopping."
- April F.
The night I met my husband Jason I had to call the evening short because I had to get up very early the next morning to secure my place in line to sign up for a practice room. In an effort to signal his interest in me, Jason offered to stand in line for me so I could get an extra hour of sleep. Not only did he hold a place for me, but he was the first in line! I got my preferred room, we went to a sophomore recital that night, and were married 8 months later.
- Kathryn W.
Oh beautiful HFAC, my place for reading the New Testament, be inspired by displayed art, waiting for my love to walk in, taking her to a concert for class credit. My life will not be the same without you! Thank you for warming my heart and hands on my way to the Cougar Eat.
- Robert S.
My first date with my husband was at a BYU performance of the Barber of Seville. His hand was on his leg or the arm of the chair the entire play—at least, until I leaned over to him about an hour and a half into the opera and said, "You don't have to, but you can hold my hand if you want to." He was relieved and held my hand. Well, kind of. We spent the next ten minutes trying to figure out how to comfortably hold hands over those HFAC chair arms!
- Krista R.
Fond memories of firing the gas pottery kilns late at night and having Security try to kick us out of the building. Big gas kiln roaring away, flames belching out of the top of the kiln. Told Security, “Fine, you finish firing the kiln.” They let us stay. We did have a note from the Warren Wilson, our instructor.
- Earl B.
I sat in Freshman Orientation in the de Jong Concert Hall in September of 1989. It was like a lightning bolt hit me--my major was going to be Public Relations. It has taken me to Washington, D.C., New York and now I've returned to Utah. I sat in the de Jong Concert hall at the beginning of November 2022 and watched my son joyfully play piano in the Jazz Ensemble Concert. We came full circle.
- Kathryn N.
The Harris Fine Art Center (HFAC) hair is fine art center is a piece of my family’s history. Both my wife and I sang in the choirs our freshman year of 1994 to 1995. As I was in the men’s chorus and she in the women’s chorus, we did not truly meet until years later. She was nearing graduation and attended a Men’s Chorus concert that I was singing in. During intermission, I came up to the waiting area outside of the de Jong concert hall, and she was there with a group, including a young man who had asked her out for the evening. He was momentarily distracted, and I took advantage of the opportunity to ask her on what became our first date. As they say, all is fair in love and war.
We attended the Christmas concert in 2022! It's our favorite, but our two oldest children are both singing in the BYU Concert Choir together this year, and it is the last concert that will be performed HFAC concert hall. So in a way we are also going to commemorate the building where our family has enjoyed so much music over the years. Thank you BYU music dept!
- Daniel W.
As a singer I spent a lot of time in the HFAC, but I really got to know every nook and cranny of the building when we played epic games of couples tag in there on group dates. The rules were; no running, and we had to hold hands, and keep moving.
- Julie B.
While my girlfriend was doing a semester of study abroad in Jerusalem, I would go down to the basement of the HFAC to learn 'Forever in Love' on the piano. When she got home I played her this song and knelt down on my knee and proposed to her. We've been married for 27 years now and are even more in love!
- Travis R.
As a freshman, used to get up at 3:30 AM every morning and go buff the floors at the HFAC. I waxed and polished those floors until the shined. I used to admire the student art on the walls while I worked. Good times.
- Gary G.
I spent many hours in the bowels of HFAC from the fall of 1968 until I graduated in spring of 1970. During that time I worked on the KBYU-TV remote crew. Most of that work was running camera at Devotionals, Forums and sporting events. I was pretty excited when we got our first color TV cameras, which were installed in the 40' remote semi-trailer. For one, they were much lighter that the GE image orthicon B&W cameras we had previously. My senior year I got a license so that I could drive the ""remote truck."" Backing that 40' semi down into the tunnel under the HFAC was really a challenge, but I did it on numerous occasions. My other memory was the production of my senior project with Jim Ficklin. We produced an hour-long program about Dr. Lael Woodbury's "W2-Form: An Experiment in Dramatic Form" in the spring of 1970. We documented much of the development and rehearsal of the production, that was staged in a theatre in the round in the basement of HFAC across the tunnel from the TV studio. I believe it was the first student produced program ever to air on KBYU-TV.
- David M.