Our News & Events
Each year the Symphony Ball debutantes participate in a community service project as part of the beginning of the debutante season. Proceeds from the Symphony Ball benefit the Symphony Orchestra. To highlight music and community service, this year the event joined efforts with two local organizations for their service projects: Huntsville Symphony Orchestra and Huntsville Hospital Foundation. The Service Project, which was held Friday, the 22nd of May, 2015, started with the debutantes gathering at the Huntsville Symphony Orchestra office wearing coordinating T-shirts.
Julie Noles, immediate-past Education Director of the Huntsville Symphony Orchestra, led the debutantes in their first service project of the day, as they cleaned the violins for the Huntsville Symphony School’s third grade violin program. Ms. Noles provided a history lesson to the group on the Huntsville Symphony Orchestra and the Symphony School and provided an impromptu violin lesson. While the debutantes were busy cleaning violins, they were entertained by the music of five young members of the Huntsville Youth Orchestra.
The young ladies then boarded the 1920’s vintage-inspired downtown Huntsville trolley for a ride to the campus of Huntsville Hospital. They were first served lunch, catered by former debutante LeeLee Wiginton from Lyn’s Gracious Goodness, at the Huntsville Hospital Plaza Resource Center. Candy Burnett, President of Huntsville Hospital Foundation, shared “tips for success,” concerning resumes, interviews, first impressions, integrity, etc. They then walked across the street to the Hospital, where they divided into two groups. One group served refreshments to families in the Surgery Waiting Room and in the ICU Waiting Area. Huntsville Symphony Orchestra’s harpist, Katherine Newman, serenaded everyone in the ICU Waiting Area. The second group put together packages containing crayons and coloring books that were illustrated by the late Bill May, father of Debutante Hughston May. The two groups then switched projects, and each group performed the other task. The coloring books will be given to Huntsville Hospital patients visiting the Pediatric Emergency Room and those in both the Pediatric Unit and the Pediatric ICU.
Huntsville Hospital Foundation employee Jordan McMullan, who coordinated the hospital visit, is also a former debutante. Debutante Service Project coordinators from the Huntsville Symphony Orchestra Guild were Lori Gregory, Bobsy Ingram, Elaine Pollard, and Karen Kimbrough. The young ladies will formally be introduced to the community during the 52nd Symphony Ball on October 24.
The debutantes thoroughly enjoyed their busy day. The Billy Joel quote on the T-shirt summoned up the event: “I think music in itself is healing…it’s something we are all touched by. No matter what culture we’re from, everyone loves music.”
An exciting season is underway for the Debutantes of 2015.
On Thursday evening, May 21st at Valley Hill Country Club, debutantes and their presenters attended a training seminar designed to enhance the beauty and pageantry of the formal presentation of the 2015 Symphony Ball, set for October 24, 2015.
Symphony Ball Chairman, Nancy Colin, welcomed the debs and presenters. Announcement photographs of the debutantes were taken by Ball photographer, Mark Jaeger.
The evening’s events were organized by Debutante/Presenter Event Chairman Josie Craig.
Long-time advisor to the Symphony Ball, Randy Roper, provided instruction to the debutantes and their presenters on formal presentation and the curtsy.
Dance instruction was provided to the debs and presenters for a choreographed waltz to be performed the night of the Symphony Ball. They will dance to the Artist’s Life Waltz, by Johann Strauss II. The dance was choreographed by Keren Gibb of Alabama Youth Ballet.
On the evening of the Ball, October 24, immediately after the presentation of the debutantes and waltz with their presenters, former debutantes of the Huntsville Symphony Ball over the past fifty years will be invited to join the 2015 debutantes in a special dance.
The Symphony Ball, sponsored by the Huntsville Symphony Orchestra Guild since 1964, is an annual fundraiser benefitting the Huntsville Symphony Orchestra.
2015 Symphony Ball debutantes and their mothers enjoyed a lovely afternoon Tea Wednesday, May 20th at the beautiful home of Guild member, Emily Moody. The previous year’s Ball Chairman hosts the annual event; and this year, Pamela Gann continued the tradition. The Debutante Tea marks the official start of the Debutante social season.
Attending the event were the 33 young women who will make their debut at the 52nd Symphony Ball, October 24, together with their mothers, and members of the 2015 Ball Committee, past Guild Presidents, and past Ball Chairmen.
Guests were greeted by Emily and Pamela, along with 2015 Ball Chairman, Nancy Colin, and Symphony Guild First Vice President, Ivy Albert. A silver wine cooler filled with beautiful spring flowers graced the entryway as guests arrived. The silver container was given in 1993 by past Ball Chairmen, in memory of Robin Lanier Stewart, 1988 Ball Chairman. It has been used every year at the Debutante Tea since 1993.
The young women enjoyed catching up after their freshman year of college as they enjoyed the delicious tea menu selected by Pamela. The Tea was catered by Narvell and included a variety of delicacies, including chicken salad tartlets, dainty cucumber sandwiches, petite tea sandwiches, mini buttermilk pies, stuffed strawberries, and other sweets. The centerpiece was a towering arrangement by In Bloom, with beautiful spring flowers of pink tulips and roses, purple accents and bright green Bells of Ireland. Punch was served by past Ball Chairmen and past Presidents Penny Bashore, Stacey Gardner, Carole Jones, Sheryl Livingston, Suzanne O’Connor, Debbie Overcash, Donna Shergy, and Amelia Summerville.
The young ladies and their mothers looked over scrapbooks of previous debutante years. They shared plans for the summer season parties and looked forward to the community service projects and their own celebrations.
The Symphony Orchestra Guild sponsors the Symphony Ball each year as a fundraiser for Huntsville’s professional orchestra.
The May meeting was a very busy, albeit productive, session!
It was with bittersweet emotion when we watched our 2014/2015 president, Beth Wise, turn the gavel over to Debbie Washburn. We’ll miss Beth’s exceptional leadership, but we also look forward to a productive year under the guidance of Debbie Washburn. The Huntsville Symphony Orchestra Guild accomplished a tremendous amount under Beth’s direction, and we very much appreciate her commitment, hard work and graciousness.
In addition to installing a new president, we:
~ installed new officers,
~ honored our 25 year members, and
~ welcomed our newest members
A Sampling of 2014/2015 Accomplishments
– establishing an Arts and Academics Study Group which has far-reaching support from the education community
– providing financial support to the following:
- To the HSO
- To the HYO
- To 14 worthy scholarship recipients
- Symphony School 3rd Grade Violin Program
- A one-time purchase of Abby Booklets for the Symphony School
- Past Presidents’ Fund Scholarships
- Tennessee Valley Music Festival
We also continued time-honored traditions, including:
~ holding a FREE family concert and Young People’s Concerts for area 4th graders
~ sharing our instrument collection not just at Panoply, but before the Free Family Concert and during the VBC’s Anniversary Celebration, and
~ providing warm hospitality for our orchestra, including a special “Georgia Bottoms” evening.
Installation of Officers
Penny Bashore installed the 2015/2016 officers. Our outgoing officers unquestionably enabled us to continue our long-established tradition of promoting and spreading the love of music, and we look forward to another dynamic year with our incoming officers!
The 2015/2016 Officers:
President: Debbie Washburn
First Vice President: Ivy Albert
Second Vice President: Nancy Richardson
Recording Secretary: Naomi DuBois
Corresponding Secretary: Susan Fredrickson
Treasurer: Kim Wright
Honoring 25+ Year Members
The symphony guild has an unbelievable number of longstanding, dedicated members whose contributions have been invaluable. The impact they’ve had on music education and appreciation in our community is unmatched by any other symphony guild; their pioneering ideas for supporting the orchestra and bringing music to people of all ages and backgrounds have led to many awards. For that, we honor you. Below are our 25+ year members. As you can see, we had to take two photographs since we couldn’t fit everyone into one frame! Again, we extend our sincere thanks to each and every one of you for the countless hours, creative contributions and funding you’ve provided over the years!
We are so happy to announce the 2015 new members and look forward to working with you!
Rosemary Latham, Naomi Dubois, Lisa Ordway, and Paige Prozan planned and organized a lovely tea at Valley Hill Country Club for our new members. At the tea, they were paired with an active member to learn more about our organization and committees and activities. WE formally welcomed them at our May meeting (photo below).
Valley Hill Country Club provided scenic vistas for photographs of the 33 young women who will make their debut at the 2015 Symphony Ball on October 24th. The young women enjoyed their first week of the season with three activities: the Debutante Tea at the home of Mrs. Jon Rice Moody, a special Debutantes and Presenters event at Valley Hill Country Club, and two service projects: one for the Huntsville Symphony Orchestra and the other for Huntsville Hospital. They continue the time-honored Huntsville tradition, which begins anew this summer.
The Symphony Ball, held since 1964, is an annual major fundraising event for Huntsville’s own professional orchestra. It entails many hours of work by the event sponsor, the Huntsville Symphony Orchestra Guild. Nancy Colin is chairwoman of the 2015 Ball, and this year will be the 52nd Ball.
The 2015 debutantes, having completed their freshman year at college, look forward to an exciting season of social activities with their families and friends. The Symphony Ball season will culminate with their debuts at a gala event on October 24th in the Von Braun Center North Hall.
Following is a list of the 2015 debutantes, their parents, their high schools, and colleges:
Callie Christina Bragg, 18, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Robert Vann Bragg, Huntsville High School, University of Alabama;
Anna Catherine Brooks, 19, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. William Gregory Brooks, Huntsville High School, Auburn University;
Lily Margaret Brooks, 18, daughter of Dr. and Mrs. William Timothy Brooks, Huntsville High School, Mississippi State University;
Mallory Frances Castellow, 18, daughter of Mrs. Carl Lowe Castellow and the late Mr. Carl Lowe Castellow, Huntsville High School, University of Alabama;
Emily Ann Clemons, 19, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Albert Alan Clemons, Huntsville High School, Auburn University;
Marian Witty Crump, 18, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Andrew Bryant Crump, Huntsville High School, Auburn University;
Stephanie Nicole Gilbert, 19, daughter of Ms. Jodi Louise Rutenberg and Mr. Scott Edward Gilbert, Grissom High School, Auburn University;
Leah Jeane Honkanen, 18, daughter of Dr. and Mrs. Frank Andrew Honkanen, Randolph School, University of Georgia;
Emily Rachel Lapidus, 19, daughter of Mrs. Alissa Cohen Lapidus and Mr. Michael Louis Lapidus, Huntsville High School, University of Alabama;
Lauren Alis Layton, 19, daughter of Dr. and Mrs. Troy Alan Layton, Randolph School, University of Mississippi;
Jordan Akin Lee, 19, daughter of Dr. and Mrs. David Alan Lee, Huntsville High School, University of Alabama;
Mary Gray Lindstrom, 19, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. William Collier Lindstrom, Huntsville High School, University of Alabama;
Lauren Elizabeth Lowe, 19, daughter of Mrs. Huettel Lowe and Mr. Peter Loftis Lowe, Jr., Randolph School, University of Alabama;
AnnaMarie Marona, 19, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Douglas Wayne Marona, Huntsville High School, University of Alabama;
Hughston Elizabeth May, 18, daughter of Mrs. William Sterling May and the late Mr. William Sterling May, Decatur High School, University of Alabama;
Keeley Malone McMurray, 18, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Bradley David McMurray, Huntsville High School, University of Alabama;
Sarah Gwin Moore, 19, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Dale Elmo Moore, Huntsville High School, Birmingham Southern College;
Allyson Elizabeth Nuwayhid, 19, daughter of Dr. and Mrs. Ramsay Paul Nuwayhid, Randolph School, Samford University;
Mary Scott Pearson, 18, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. James Calvin Pearson, Jr., Madison County High School, Auburn University;
Mary Morgan Plott, 19, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Marion Dwight Plott, Randolph School, Auburn University;
Susan Will Purvis, 19, daughter of Dr. and Mrs. Mark Thomas Purvis, Huntsville High School, Auburn University;
Mary Margaret Ragland, 18, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Edward Rowland Ragland, Jr., Huntsville High School, University of South Alabama;
Catherine Joseph Rasco, 18, daughter of Mrs. Dowdle Rasco and Mr. Mark Alexander Rasco, Huntsville High School, Auburn University;
Abbie Porter Rodgers, 19, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Christopher Stanley Rodgers, Mountain Brook High School, University of Alabama;
Madeline Jewel Rushing, 19, daughter of Mrs. Tate Rushing and Dr. David Lee Rushing, Randolph School, Auburn University;
Mary Katherine Russell, 19, daughter of Mrs. Kimberly Russell-Wright and Mr. Daniel Lewis Russell, Jr., Huntsville High School, Birmingham Southern College;
Cameron Ann Seeley, 19, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Paul Burton Seeley, Huntsville High School, University of Alabama;
Camille Nicole Shockley, 19, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Gregory Lynn Shockley, Huntsville High School, University of Alabama;
Anna Grace South, 19, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Christopher McLeod South, Bishop England High School, Clemson University;
Lauren Grace Stevens, 18, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Ben Richard Stevens, Randolph School/Excalibur Christian School, University of Alabama at Birmingham;
Sarah Reagan Tepool, 18, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Michael Alan Tepool, Huntsville High School, Auburn University;
Josephine Ann Tucker, 18, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Raymond McEachern Tucker, Grissom High School, Troy University;
Katherine Hill Vest, 19, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Phillip Lee Vest, Huntsville High School, Auburn University.
The 42nd Annual Crescen-Dough Auction took place on Friday, April 17, 2015. The Huntsville Symphony Orchestra Guild’s annual Crescen-Dough Auction is one of the area’s favorite evenings of fun and entertainment. More than 500 items were up for bidding – from the finest of jewels to one-of-a-kind parties, great vacations and incredible deals on items donated by local merchants.
The HSOG provides generous financial and volunteer support to the Symphony and to music education programs. During the Guild’s 54 years of service to the Orchestra, the Guild has raised over $6.6 million, approximately half raised by Crescen-Dough. Members of the Guild have volunteered in excess of three-quarters of a million hours supporting the Symphony and music education programs. Please make plans to join us for next year’s Crescen-Dough Auction on April 15, 2016!
Congratulations to our 2015/2016 new members! We are so thankful to welcome such hard working and enthusiastic ladies to our organization! The photo above was taken at the lovely New Member Luncheon in February. The luncheon is a special time when prospective members learn about our mission. They are also given a brief overview of the various committees on which they will serve!
New Members (with Paige Prozan, organizer of this informative event):
From left: Christy Lurie Dana Lusk Jennifer Doss Courtney Allen Lana Spera Paige Prozan, Laura McFeely Louise Graffeo Heather Baumbach Karen Couvillon Greta Schrimsher Not pictured, Kathy Wills
From the Volunteer Council of the League of American Orchestras
For Outstanding Volunteer Project- Past Presidents Fund Committee
The Volunteer Council of the League of American Orchestras is pleased to announce that the Huntsville Symphony Orchestra Guild has won a Roundtable Award in the annual Gold Book competition. The project was titled the Past Presidents Fund Committee. The Huntsville Symphony Orchestra Guild supports the Huntsville Symphony Orchestra. The award will be presented at the League’s 70thth National Conference this May in Cleveland, OH.
Fifty two women have served as President of the Huntsville Symphony Orchestra Guild. Many continue to work today with the Guild, as there is a deep love and respect for this organization. In 2001, past presidents gathered and expressed a desire to remain friends and stay active within the Guild. The idea of providing scholarships for deserving students in the string program of the Symphony School was born. Every year since, the past presidents have made contributions to the Past President’s Fund. When those funds reached endowment status, the past presidents began awarding scholarships to worthy young string students. Although there is a onetime Lifetime gift a past president may give, many continue with annual contributions. The past presidents of the Huntsville Symphony Orchestra Guild continue to further its mission of providing music education for young people.