Gowns and curtseys were all the rage as 26 Symphony Debutantes took their bows at the 37th Annual Dallas Symphony Orchestra League Presentation Ball on Saturday, February 11 at the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center. The spotlight was on the debs, their families, and dapper members of the Honor Guard.
The Honorary Chairs for the Ball were Lisa and Clay Cooley, longtime supporters of the DSO and the Dallas community. The Presentation Ball Chair was Karen Cox and DSOL President is Cynthia Beaird. All knew well what to expect during the debutante season. The Cooley’s daughter Ciara made her debut in 2016 and Karen’s daughter Isabella was presented in 2020. Cynthia was the Presentation Ball Chair in 2011 and her daughter Jane made her debut in 2008.
“Serving as the Dallas Symphony Orchestra League Presentation Ball Chairman has been a distinct honor and a true joy,” said Karen. “Our 2023 debutantes are bright, accomplished and driven to make a positive difference in their communities. Our Debutante families and our generous donors are making a lasting impact on our beneficiaries, the extraordinary education and outreach programs of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra.”
The incomparable Jan Strimple was given recognition on the stage as this was her final year as Choreographer of the ball. She is turning the reins over the Densil Adams who cofounded Preston Center Dance in 1990. Assisting Densil will be Mia Davis, who has had two Debutante daughters. Jan brought grace and sophistication to each of the presentations for the past 24 years and has taught close to a thousand girls how to do the Texas Dip with poise and confidence.
There were several legacy families who have been involved with the Presentation Ball since its founding.
Vaughn Miller’s mother Tincy Miller founded the event in 1987 and he was among the first Honor Guard group in the inaugural year. This year, daughter Gigi made her debut and brothers Vaughn and Vance served as Honor Guards.
Members of the Averitt/Duvall families were present for the debut of Natalie Duvall. Her mom Susan Averitt Duvall made her debut in the inaugural presentation ball and sister Madelyn Duvall was presented in 2020. Susan’s brother Mark Averitt was a member of the first group of Honor Guards, and brother Don Averitt worked behind the scenes and graciously greeted the guests. Their work and support has continued since that time. Don is on the Honor Guard Board of Governors, his wife Barbara Averitt has assisted the debutantes since the first ball and sister-in-law Kendra Averitt has worked with the honor guard for many years. The Averitt family has continued their support of the Dallas Symphony for the past 37 years.
There were numerous parents who have had debutante daughters in prior years including Heather and Bill Esping, Megan and John Pigott, and Dawne and Patrick Tribolet, along with Michelle and Erik Ward.
Among those in attendance included Sarah and Mark Hardin, Linda Burk and John Gilmore, Kim Noltemy, Marena Gault, and Kristi and Ron Hoyl.
The 2023 Debutantes are: Britton Barcus, Margaret Bracken, Stephanie Ciarochi, Kate Clark, Sarah Crow, Elena Dewar, Gracie Dix, Natalie Duvall, Arden Eiland, Charlotte Esping, Kaitlin Ann Kelly, Celeste Lay, Ella Marks, Ellie Michaelson, Gigi Miller, Lydia Pigott, Morgan Potter, Sasha Schwimmer, Ellie Steindorf, Catherine Stiles, Elizabeth Thompson, Lucy Tilden, CeCe Tribolet, Danielle Ward, Paige Williams, and Nicole Zimmer.
The Presentation Ball was created with the vision of long-time League member Tincy Miller, who also chaired the first ball.
The Presentation Ball, which was first held in 1987, is the largest fundraiser for the DSOL. Over $13 million has been raised for the Dallas Symphony Orchestra through the annual event.
Founded in 1946, the DSOL's mission is to support the Dallas Symphony Orchestra through service, education and fundraising activities. Since 1998 the League has contributed over $21 million in support of the Dallas Symphony Association’s Community Outreach and Education programs, which help bring the wonder of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra to thousands of youths and adults in the Dallas Metroplex.
Photos by GITTINGS and Deborah Brown