It is time to mark your social schedule for the always popular events and activities which will culminate in what are arguably among the most anticipated of any of the region's major formal fundraising projects: The Viennese Winter Ball and related activities, introduction of the area teens who make up the year's Cotillion class, and enjoyment of the Patron Party held a week in advance of the Ball.
The Viennese Winter Ball will be held on the evening of Saturday, Feb. 1, 2014.
Once again, Oglebay Resort's Glessner Auditorium will serve as the venue for the festive event.
Seen here with the Cotillion Class of 2012 is Cheryl Pompeo (center), Director of the Oglebay Institute School of Dance. She has been choreographer and dance teacher for many of the annual Cotillion groups. She provides instruction for the participants over several months leading up to the annual Viennese Winter Ball. The 2012 Cotillion group is seen here hamming it up for a casual photo with Pompeo before the initial public introduction of the individuals at the annual Patron Party. The attire for the young ladies at the time of the Winter Ball will be formal white ball gowns, hairstyles with a more formal flair such a classic updo, and white opera gloves. The young men are regularly attired in formal tuxedos.
Preceding it by a week will be the popular Patron Party, which will be hosted at Oglebay Institute's Stifel Fine Arts Center on National Road in Wheeling. The Center itself was originally home to one of the local area's most successful and philanthropic families, the Stifel family.
It will be on the evening of the Patron Party, Saturday, Jan. 25, 2014 that members of the annual Cotillion class will be introduced to those gathered in the ballroom at the Stifel Center. The elegance of Stifel's decor, including the wide, sweeping central staircase, provide the perfect setting for the formal, but personal, introduction of the select members of the 2014 Cotillion class.
Serving as co-chairs of The Viennese Winter Ball Committee for the 2014 event are Wheeling Symphony Auxiliary members Sarah Gompers and Paula McLure.
Members of the organization serving as chairs of the respective event committees are: Cotillion Chair, Jane Helfer; Publicity and Photography Chair, Sherry Hennen; Desserts Chair, Phyllis Sigal; Patron Party Co-Chairs, Vicky Musicaro and Betsy Delk; Intermezzo Chair, Saun Capehart; Sponsors Chair, Sandra Chapman; Ball Decor Chair, Ellen Culler; Invitations and Programs Chair, Jean Bailey; Table Decorations Chair, Judi Hendrickson; Transportation Chair, Jen Croft; Treasurer, Roanne Burech; Pages Chair, Stephanie Nanners; and Reservations Chair, Gretchen Hooper.
Members of the 2014 Cotillion who are Ohio residents are Gabriella Marie Gentile of St. Clairsville and Jason Richard Miller of Sardis.
Members of the 2014 Cotillion who reside in West Virginia are Alexandra J. Buch of Triadelphia; Emily Kathleen Capehart of West Liberty; Madeline Hall of Wheeling; Lydia Holmstead of Wheeling; Elizabeth Patterson Hooper of Wheeling; Karen Laska of Triadelphia; Jackie McDermott of Wheeling; Josephine Mosman of Wheeling; Ava Kathleen Tennant of Wheeling; Liam Chapman Casey of Wheeling; Robert Lee Felton of Wheeling; Justin Elian Frenn of Wheeling; Blake Humphrey of Wheeling; Zachary Alphonse Marra of Wheeling; Luke Jerome Miller of Wheeling; Benton Nanners of Wheeling; Alexander Keith Reed of Wheeling; and Luke Philip Saseen of Bethlehem-Wheeling.
Cotillion class members belong to the respective 2014 graduating class of the following schools: Gentile, the daughter of Tony and Rita Gentile, attends Wheeling Central Catholic High School; Jason Miller, the son of and Dr. Bradley K. Miller and Jodi, attends River High School; Buch, the daughter of James and Samantha Buch, attends Wheeling Park High School; Capehart, the daughter of Robin and Saun Capehart, attends Wheeling Park High School; Hall, the daughter of Suzanne and Robert Hall, attends Wheeling Park High School; Holmstrand, the daughter of Linda and Jeff Holmstrand, attends Wheeling Park High School; Hooper, daughter of Michael and Gretchen Hooper, attends Wheeling Park High School; Laska, daughter of Ted and Mary Laska, attends Wheeling Park High School; McDermott, daughter of Greg and Laurie McDermott, attends The Linsly School; Mosman, daughter of Dr. David and Katrina Mosman, attends The Linsly School; Tennant, daughter Donald Jr. and Kathleen Tennant, attends The Linsly School; Casey, son of Patrick Casey and Sandra Chapman, attends Wheeling Park High School; Felton, son of Jack and Rhonda Felton, attends The Linsly School; Frenn, the son of Dr. Adel and Diane Frenn, attends The Linsly School; Humphrey, son of Amy and Richard Humphrey, attends Wheeling Park High School; Marra, son of Dr. and Mrs. Dante Marra, attends Wheeling Park High School; Miller, the son of Robert G. and Tammy Miller, attends The Linsly School; Nanners, the son of Ken and Stephanie Nanners, attends The Linsly School; Reed, the son of Scott and Laura Reed, attends The Linsly School; Saseen, the son of George and Susan Saseen, attends Wheeling Park High School.
The Intermezzo will include the following items as prizes for the fundraising event: the first prize of $1,000 cash is being made available courtesy of Casey and Chapman, PLLC, Attorneys at Law; the second prize award of $500 cash is being made available courtesy of Wheeling VW - Subaru and Dave and Beth Weaver; and the third prize award of a Viennese Ball and Patron Party ticket for the 2015 Viennese Winter Ball is being made available courtesy of Wheeling Symphony Auxiliary. The drawing for these prizes will be held at the Viennese Winter Ball on Saturday, Feb. 1, 2014. Winners need not be present at the ball. The cost of drawing tickets for these prizes is $5 for one or $25 for six tickets. They can be purchased by calling the symphony office by calling 304-232-6100.
As the days begin to fall away with a bit of extra anticipation building daily for the gala event to arrive, the Viennese Winter Ball Committee members are maintaining a fixed gaze on the thousands of details needing attended to until the actual slate of formal events and accompanying traditions have been perfectly addressed and all those who participate have thoroughly enjoyed the dramatic flare of the main fundraiser for the benefit of the Wheeling Symphony by being immersed in an era of practiced grace and classic elegance.
Winter Ball committee members and supporters do not leave any detail of the period elegance in which these festivities originated slip through their collective attention to the smallest detail.
In addition to being the single largest fundraising effort undertaken by the Wheeling Symphony Society on behalf of the Wheeling Symphony Orchestra, it provides a rare formal social environment into which a select group of area teens can take a few of their own first steps when it comes to finding an individual path into a place of their own within the social, philanthropic and service aspects of the regional community.
The grand and elegant activities which come together making the various aspects of this gala able to be perfected consistently year after year, thanks to a dedicated band of dedicated volunteers who do not have to be told by any committee chairs to begin kicking it into high gear even before the Thanksgiving holiday fare menu has been finalized.
Oglebay Institute's School of Dance Director Cheryl Pompeo routinely takes on the daunting task of teaching a group of new Cotillion members how to beautifully execute several traditional waltz dance patterns and how to properly partner and lead - or follow - a partner for these performance numbers.
Volunteering for the Symphony is a great way to help the community, gain good experience, meet new people and enjoy wonderful music, say Winter Ball organizers.
Volunteering for the Symphony will involve, but is not limited to, ushering a minimum of two concerts during the school year. Ushering a concert means that you will be helping concert patrons before the concert actually begins by opening and holding doors, helping patrons find their seats and assisting the Wheeling Symphony Office staff with whatever they may need help with. Ushers are dismissed once the concert begins but are welcome to stay and enjoy the concert at no cost. Other duties may include, but are not limited to, assisting at the Patron Party and Viennese Winter Ball in January and February and helping at the 4th of July concert and in the Symphony Office.
Practices for the young dancers began in mid-November and continue on a regular basis through the Viennese Winter Ball itself.
Some months prior to the annual mid-winter season gala dance, practices begin in earnest, helping transform members of the Cotillion into graceful, well-mannered and refined young men and ladies. No stone is left unturned, as the purposeful training for both the participating young men and ladies is overseen personally by Judi Hendrickson, a member of the committee, and chair of its table decorations committee.
Hendrickson will sit down with the Cotillion members on a designated evening in late January to go over an array of formal event basics for executing such things as perfect table manners, proper personal introduction processes, and the like.
She quickly polishes any dusty behaviors off and updates them, expecting to see those lessons put to good use throughout these highly visible gala events that unfold quickly thereafter, and the young women and men of the Cotillion class are expected to be gracious, graceful and appropriately refined in their manners, mannerisms, and even in their general conversation skills - particularly when it comes to their actions at both the Patron Party and the Viennese Winter Ball.
Those ladies attending the ball will be beautifully dressed in elegant gowns, many with matching opera length evening gloves; the gentlemen will generally be sporting classic tuxedos.
One of the key elements of the Winter Ball is the opportunity afforded one of the parents of a Cotillion member to join them on the dance floor for a parent-child waltz, which has also been carefully choreographed by OI School of Dance Director Pompeo.
In the process leading up to the formal dance, parents of Cotillion members brave the sometimes unfamiliar area of a dance floor to learn how to execute a classical waltz properly, all the while enjoying the opportunity to share an exceptional experience with their child as they are - together - nearing the close of a high school experience and preparing to step out into the next phase of life.
All attending the annual event will undoubtedly leave with memories for a lifetime; but certainly some of the most valuable with be those that inspire members of each Cotillion class to continue to support the arts.