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Gowns and curtseys were all the rage as 44 Symphony Debutantes took their bows at the 38th Annual Dallas Symphony Orchestra League Presentation Ball on Saturday, February 10 at the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center. In a symphony of elegance and festive jubilation, the 2024 Debutantes took center stage and the spotlight was on the debs, their families, and dapper members of the Honor Guard. 

Gracious Presentation Ball Chairman Kristin Cordiak welcomed the debutantes, their esteemed honor guards, and families.

“To the debutantes and Honor Guard being presented tonight, my greatest wish is you remember and carry these moments this evening and from the past season as the precious memories of family, friendship and music that they are, always,” said Kristin. “Please continue as the philanthropic leaders of tomorrow as we celebrate you and your families tonight. Keep the music in your hearts as that is the stuff of dreams.”

In welcoming those attending to the Meyerson, DSOL President Nancy Labadie reminded all of their shared mission, “I am tremendously proud to be a part of the greatest symphony orchestra in the country. Through the leadership of our innovative CEO Kim Noltemy and under the musical direction of Maestro Fabio Luisi, our Dallas Symphony delivers unparalleled musical experiences for all ages and engaging educational programs to the children of our city. These programs are not just adding to our cultural future, they are changing lives every day in everyday ways.”

The DSOL has been integral to Honorary Chairs Margaret and Barry Hancock, who wereasked to stand and be recognized. They had met when Margaret made her debut in 1992 and Barry was her Honor Guard escort. All of their children have participated

in the Presentation Ball. Daughter Mary Margaret was presented in 2016, son James was an Honor Guard escort in 2020 and daughter Katherine was presented in 2022. 

Tradition runs deep and there were many families returning with a second debutante  including the Clay Smiths, the Scott Wheelers, the Adam Stiles, the Eric Gambrells, the Thomas LeVoyers, the Max Swangos, the David Harts, and the Glenn Thurmans.  Laura and Jason Downing witnessed their third daughter's debut, exemplifying the enduring allure of the Presentation Ball.

For the Honor Guard, tradition also runs deep with Vance Miller and Robert Peacock representing a third generation of dedication.

Emcee Stan Gardner formally introduced each debutante, and they were joined by an honor guard escort for the presentation.


There were many brother escorts for the debutantes, truly making it a family affair: Carson Hart, Bennett Handler, Mujin Kwun, Luke Gambrell, William Greening and Max Swango.

Celebrating their debutante Electra Wallace Ford were Kelli and Gerald J. Ford. Daffan and Doug Nettle along with Gayle Sands were parents of twin daughters presented. Other proud parents were Kristina and John Hallam, and Dena and Vaughn Miller. 

Under the direction of Densil Adams and assisted by Mia Davis, the debutantes had perfected the Texas Dip bow which isan impressive, all-the-way-to-the floor full court bow.  

After the presentation, music and dancing were followed by a formal seated dinner. 

The Dallas Symphony Presentation Ball is an annual tradition that transforms each passing year into a symphony of unforgettable moments. This elegant evening not only showcases the city's cultural richness, but also lasting friendships are formed among its attendees with the bonds created during this special time lasting a lifetime for many families.  

The 2024 Debutantes are: Helena Breland Bach; Erika Mae Batson; Mia Lane Blanton; Claire Elise Cahoon; Ripley Elizabeth Cooley; Kennedy Claire Downing; Electra Wallace Ford; Sarah Rose Gambrell; Ellie McClain Gidden; Catherine Lee Grayson; Camille Anne Greening; Meredith Elizabeth Hallam; Grace Soleil Handler; Caroline Parker Hart; Catherine Bradford Hunt; Isabella Ann Jackson; Ashley Elizabeth Jaynes; Ellen Taylor Jones; Minje Kwun; Emannuelle Grace LeVoyer; Claire Michael Levy; Riya Kaur Luthra; Elizabeth Myers Madison; Avery Pilar Moore; Finley Elizabeth Nelson; Day Gilmire Nettle; Lillian Susan Nettle; Mina Hiranmayee Raj; Bailey Erin Robirds; Courtenay Christianson Sands, Kathryn Bunker Sands; Caroline Robertson Smith; Sheridan Michelle Spencer; Caroline Story Stiles; Leslie Katherine Swango; Caroline Parker Teegarden; Payton Grace Thurman; Megan McKamy Dyer Underwood; Lauren Alexis Watkins; Charlotte Nicole Webb; Kelley Caroline Wheeler; Abigail Archer Willingham; Claire Anh Wooley; and Sophia Corina Yung. 

The Presentation Ball, which was first held in 1987, is the largest fundraiser for the Dallas Symphony. This annual celebration, dreamed of by visionary Tincy Miller, has become a cornerstone of the DSOL's mission. 

Since its inception in 1946, the Dallas Symphony Orchestra League has embraced the mission to support the Dallas Symphony Orchestra through service, education, and fundraising, contributing over $22 million to outreach and education programs. 

In the grand symphony of philanthropy and tradition, the 2024 DSOL Presentation Ball was a celebration of legacy, elegance, and the enduring spirit of giving.

 

Photos by James French Photography