With the start of summer vacation came the beginning of the 2023-2024 Dallas Symphony Orchestra League debutante season - even though it seems like just yesterday that the 2023 debs were Texas-dipping into society.
The DSOL introduced 44 new debs during Announcement Weekend festivities, May 18-20, in Dallas. Their parties, philanthropy, and training will culminate with the 38th Presentation Ball on February 10, 2024.
The mega-weekend began with the Announcement Party, emceed by Stan Gardner, at Dallas Country Club on the evening of Thursday, May 18. The next day, a deb and Honor Guard family dinner was held at the El Fenix downtown. Stanley Korshak hosted a couture gown show at the Bridal Salon on Saturday morning, May 20, and Patti Flowers Design Studio presented custom gowns that afternoon. (Per tradition, each deb will wear a white ballgown to her Presentation Ball.)
The 2024 Presentation Ball is under the guidance of chair Kristin Cordiak and DSOL President Nancy Labadie. Both women will lend special expertise to this year's debs: Kristin’s daughter Bronwyn made her debut in 2018 and her son Newt was an Honor Guard this year. Nancy was Ball Chair in 2016 and her son Will was an Honor Guard in 2015. Her daughter-in-law Lizzie was a debutante in 2013.
"The Dallas Symphony Orchestra League Presentation Ball has celebrated music and family for 38 years,” says Cordiak, adding that the 2024 debs "each add to the beautiful tapestry of the event as they embark on a lifelong journey of philanthropy.”
Now, for the most important part. The 2024 debutantes are: Helena Breland Bach; Erika Mae Batson; Mia Lane Blanton; Claire Elise Cahoon; Ellie McClain Gidden; Ripley Elizabeth Cooley; Kennedy Claire Downing; Electra Wallace Ford; Sarah Rose Gambrell; 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 Le Voyer; Claire Michael Levy; Riya Kaur Luthra; Elizabeth Myers Madison; Avery Pilar Moore; Finley Elizabeth Nelson; Day Gilmer 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.
Honor Guard officers presenting the debutantes for the Announcement Party were Conner Olson, John Liptack, Matthew Melcher, Eric Hirschbrich, Nicholas Arnold, Philip Jenevein, Wyatt Awtrey, Vance Miller, Thomas Liu, and Stefan Fischer.
Debs' parents and other relatives in attendance at the launch events included Laura and Jason Downing (whose daughter Kennedy is the third debutante in the family making her debut); The Hon. and Mrs. Alphonso Jackson, John and Kristina Hallam, Dena and Vaughn Miller, Elizabeth and Eric Gambrell, Cameron and Clay Smith, Suzanne and Adam Stiles, Kathryn Wheeler, Kelli and Gerald Ford, Gayle Sands, and many more.
The Assembly, a group of former debutantes who assist the Symphony League by helping with event arrangements throughout the season, was represented by Perrin Griffin, Bronwyn Cordiak, Allie McWhorter, Katie Kottwitz, Emily Stone Young, Ava Heppner, Maddy Duvall, Maddi Hendrick, and Samantha Sullivan.
The presentation of Dallas Symphony debutantes is a time-honored tradition for many of Dallas' most influential and philanthropic families. The debs are of college age and typically are graduates of Dallas-area high schools, but may be attending college out of the area.
Participation is open to all young women. Much like a sorority, participants pay fees and participate in parties, fundraisers, classes, and other events throughout the year, all leading up to the Presentation Ball.
The Presentation Ball, which was first held in 1987, is the largest fundraiser for the DSOL. Over $15 million has been raised for the Dallas Symphony Orchestra through the annual black- or white-tie 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 $22 million in support of the DSO's many community initiatives.