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Riverland salutes a 'shining star'

A shining star will be remembered Friday evening at Riverland Community College's Frank W. Bridges Theatre.

Friends of the late Katie Nelson will be presenting "A Shining Star, Katie Nelson Remembered," a collection of songs, scenes and dances that were performed by Nelson at Riverland before her death last year.

Nelson died of a brain tumor, and she is missed by all who knew her, especially those who had the opportunity to witness her talent as an actress on stage at Riverland theater, said Jerry Girton, who directed many of the productions in which Nelson acted.

"She was a vibrant, eclectic personality," he said.

Nelson studied music and theater at Riverland before transferring to Minnesota State University-Mankato to complete her bachelor’s degree. She later returned to Riverland and was working on a degree in massage therapy at the time of her death.


The event will also raise funds to endow a scholarship in Nelson’s name at Riverland. The scholarship will be awarded each year to a student who is majoring in music, theater or massage therapy at Riverland.

Shirley Nelson, Katie’s mother, said, "Having a celebration of our daughter Katie's life is such a kind and gracious thing which will not only raise money to help other students at Riverland College follow their dreams, but also provide a happy platform for Katie's circle of family and friends to share their memories. Our laughter will honor her, as also her presence in our lives did."

Sara Albino, who performed in many productions with Nelson said, "Katie had a personality that sparkled. She never let anyone be unhappy, and she always gave 110 percent to every production she was in. She was an actress who was always willing to help behind the scenes, too. She often arrived early to help with hair, makeup and costumes and was usually one of the last people to leave after each performance."

Auction items donated by community members and businesses will also be available.

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