Shelle Sills had a busy first weekend of June. In addition to running Neiman’s flagship store in downtown Dallas, she hosted the announcement party for the Dallas Symphony Orchestra League debs Friday, June 1, an afternoon reception and gown presentation the next day for the debs, attended the Oates’ “absolute perfection” of a wedding at Brook Hollow and had to do it solo because husband Dr. Michael was in New York tending to his dad.
But when you’ve been involved, like NM has for 20 years, with the ultra-fundraiser for the DSO. . . well, you’ve just got to pull out that space maker on your daytimer for the debs.
But before the announcement of the DSOL deb class of 2012-2013 took place, the debs, parents, honor guard officers and DSOL hierarchy were cocktailing and getting to know each other. Outgoing DSOL President Marena Gault was back again but in a different role. She and husband Roger have signed up to be on the other side of the presentation. Daughter Marielle LeMasters will be one of the debs.
Still another deb veteran parent Leslie Mohr, whose daughter Brooke bowed in 2005, will be mother-henning daughter Molly this year.
Underwriting Chair Sharon Ballew, fresh off presiding over the Dallas Arboretum’s Women’s Council, admitted 2013 was going to be interesting. “There are so many wonderful parents and operations that are supporters, year after year. . . Despite what the economy is doing, they always come through for the Ball.”
Promptly at 8, the guests took their seats along the aisle leading from the mezzanine to the Chanel boutique.
With deb doyenne Barbara Averitt watching from the sidelines, master of ceremonies Chris Trowbridge, with former deb/wife Rachel smiling on the front row, followed protocol perfectly introducing the key players including DSOL President Sharon Barbee, who announced that Myrna and Bob Schlegel would serve as honorary chairs for the 2013 ball.
Then deb ball founder Tincy Miller explained the history of the mega-fundraiser that will take place on Saturday, February 2, at the Meyerson. Here is a brief summary of how it all came about:
In 1985, Tincy visited Atlanta’s Piedmont Driving Club and was impressed by the beautiful deb tradition there with pink and white peonies picked from the gardens. “I saw happiness; I saw strong” family tradition,” she said. Then she wondered, “Is Dallas ready for a formal presentation?” After many discussions and research, the efforts started in November 1986 were underway with Tincy chairing the first ball with the support of her mother-in-law the late Juanita Miller, “the most inspiring woman I’ve ever known.” After a power lunch with the late Ann Draper at The Mansion, it was full steam ahead. For that first presentation ball in 1987 they had 37 debs and 50 young men at the Fairmont Hotel with 1,000 guests, and netted a whopping $260K.
Tincy credited Sharon and Mike McCullough for the naming of the debs’ escorts, “The Honor Guard.” According to Mike, “they guard and protect our young ladies.”
In conclusion, Tincy explained in addition to raising money for the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, “We are introducing our young people to the arts. . . It is the Camelot experience. It is the happiest time of your life.”
Chris then announced the names of the debs — both present and MIA for the evening — including Claire Burdette, Happy Carlock, Lauren Carrozza, Lizzie Colton, Ashley Corrigan, Cassie Corrigan, Madeline Crank, Emily Early, Katie Ferguson, Alex Frankel, Kathryn Furlow, Kendall Furst, Hannah Gill, Jessie Haggar, Eleanor Hamm, Caroline Hardin, Madison Hassell, Maggie Hood, Rachel Huber, Deidre Huffines, Jessica Jones, Manning Jordan, Jordan Kerr, Caroline Leffert, Marielle LeMasters, Megan Lethbridge, Elizabeth Metzger, Isabel Miller, Molly Mohr, Caroline Moore, Aubrey Moralf, Margaret Phillips, Rachel Pickett, Solange Pittet, Margaret Rote, Brenna Routh, Kelsey Routh, Lauren Savage, Clara Seddelmeyer, Katherine Smith, Margaret Sone, Haley Vander Linden, An-Rhiel Wang, Laura Weil, Amy Weissler and Mackenzie Williams.
With cameras rolling and parents glowing, one by one each deb appeared on the landing, was joined by an honor guard escort and walked down the staircase for that picture-perfect moment on the next to the bottom step. Only “oops” came when one or two or three of the debs took one step too many and had to step back up. Actually, the misstep simply provided some levity for the girls, escorts and parents during the read-out of the 46 names. After all, absolute perfection can be boring at times.