Embracing tradition and honoring families for their civic and community work, the Omaha Symphony Guild held its 48th annual Debutante Ball on Dec. 27 at the Embassy Suites La Vista.
Donning the traditional red, white and black attire, 85 college freshmen were recognized for their family's support of the Omaha Symphony and their volunteer work and philanthropy to many of our community's civic and charitable organizations. More than 650 family members, friends and symphony supporters attended.
Denise Fitzgerald, the 2013 Debutante Ball Committee chairwoman, formally thanked the attendees for their support of the Omaha Symphony Guild. During the program, Fitzgerald presented a check for more than $100,000 to James M. Johnson, president and CEO of the Omaha Symphony Association, and Sally Stalnaker, president of the Omaha Symphony Guild. The money will support the guild's mission of promoting the continued growth and development of the symphony's educational programs.
“The Deb Ball serves an important purpose: to honor families for their leadership (and) volunteer work,” she said. “The ball also provides significant funds that help keep our symphony successful and available to everyone in the region.”
Keeping with tradition, the 47 debutantes wore full-length white gowns and long white evening gloves, and they carried dramatic presentation bouquets of ribbon-wrapped long stemmed red roses. The stags were an image of sophistication in white ties, tails and gloves, along with the traditional red sashes and red rose boutonnieres.
Suburban Bridal assisted the debutantes with their gowns. Mr. Tuxedo dressed the stags and all the fathers in their evening attire. Images of the participants, families and attendees were captured by Dwyer Photography.
Awash in candlelight, the ballroom was transformed into a stunning contemporary venue by Aaron Carlson Design. Tables covered in jet black linens and napkins and ruby red chair drapes highlighted the glass vases filled with red roses, orchids, winterberries and greenery. Centerpieces were surrounded by votive candles. The evening's program, featuring the official Debutante Ball logo and wrapped in a decorative red band, was at each place setting.
Guests dined on a mixed greens salad garnished with blue cheese, red wine poached pears, sliced strawberries and a pear and balsamic vinaigrette followed by an Omaha Steaks filet with port wine butter and Gouda au gratin potatoes, green beans almandine and a Parmesan-encrusted roma tomato. Red velvet cake provided a sumptuous finish.
The stage was decorated for the presentation of the debs and stags with draped pillars and individually painted bright red orchids. At stage front, illuminated with candles, was a long channel of flowers and greenery.
Steve Davidson, partner at Baird Holm LLP, served as the evening's master of ceremonies. Each deb, escorted by her father, made a formal curtsy at center stage and was then greeted by her mother as they exited as a family.
Each stag made a formal bow, walked to meet his parents and presented his mother with a long-stemmed rose. They made their exit as a family as well.
After the presentation, the young participants returned to take part in the Grand March set to the Lionel Richie song “All Night Long.” It was a highlight of the evening for many of the parents.
Following the Grand March, debs and stags shared an ensemble dance to “Power of Love” by Huey Lewis and the News. Fathers then led their debutante daughters to the floor for the traditional first dance and stags shared the second dance with their mothers. Jessica M. Turner served as lead choreographer for the evening, assisted by Robin Hibbard, Jonathan Liakos and Sarah Turner Mertz.
After the presentation and dinner another favorite tradition endured — family and guests continued the celebration on the dance floor to music performed by Robert Glaser and the Sing, Sing Swing Orchestra.
It was an especially moving performance as Glaser was congratulated and thanked by the Debutante Ball Committee for his 25 years of musical service to the Debutante Ball.
Members of the 2013 Debutante Ball Committee, in addition to Fitzgerald, include Kim Lubeck, adviser; Brigid Wilkening, associate ball chairwoman; and committee members Kim Banat, Anne Baxter, Laura Doll, Julie Fritz, Shelley Homa, Patty Jansen, Anne Jetter, Teresa Johns, Julie Liakos, Laura Luther, Toody Moffatt, Kyle Nelson, Sue Nemer and Beth Pusic.
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“What greater blessing to give thanks for at a family gathering, than the family and the gathering.”
— Robert Brault
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ON THE CALENDAR:
Reflection Ball presented by Midlands Community Foundation, Embassy Suites La Vista.
Girls Nite Out, featuring comedian Kelly McFarland, Girls Inc., Ramada Convention Center, 402-457-4676 or www.girlsincomaha.org.
Rosie Rocks the Roaring '20s, Omaha Theater Company, Hilton Omaha, email@example.com, 402-354-4849.
Carnival of Love Gala, Heartland Family Service, Embassy Suites La Vista, firstname.lastname@example.org, 402-552-7424.
17th annual Promise Gala — That's Amore!, Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, email@example.com or 402-397-CURE.
Heroes in the Heartland, American Red Cross, Embassy Suites La Vista, www.redcross.org/ne/omaha.
Author luncheon with speaker Rosalind Wiseman, Completely Kids Guild, Hilton Omaha, completelykids.org or 402-397-5809.
“Who's Who” cocktail fundraising event, Durham On Track Guild, contact Stacy Stohlmann at 402-444-5071 or firstname.lastname@example.org.