FLORAL FANTASY

FLORAL FANTASY

Charity Ball Association Celebrates Million-Dollar Fundraising Evening

 

By Jake Gaines      Photography by Jenna Beth Lyde

 

THE SETTING: The Charity Ball Association (CBA) of San Antonio’s 66th Chrysanthemum Ball was held at the Witte Museum’s Mays Family Center, with a record-breaking $1 million of funds raised by the almost 600 supporters in attendance. With pandemic protocol in place, the black-tie clad and elegantly attired guests, arrived on a 100-foot-long red carpet through a floral fantasy arch. They were then ushered into the Zachery Garden for a cocktail reception while the talented Youth Orchestra, San Antonio (YOSA), played in the background.

 

THE STYLE: Guests entered The Mays Family Center, greeted by a 15-foot-tall ice sculpture, in the shape of a birdcage, by award-winning Buddy Rasmussen. It mimicked the invitation design created by Elizabeth Roberts and was framed with floral details and jeweled butterflies, which encircled the base of the sculpture with magenta lighting highlighting the etched ice. Magenta, which represents universal harmony and emotional balance, was selected as the evening’s primary color palette by CBA President Terrie Musselman and Décor Chair Gayle Embrey. Complementing magenta were additional shades of lavender, green and white represented in the floral arrangements, along with jeweled butterflies that dotted the room.

 

The décor and floral design by Danny Cueller of Trinity Flowers was perfection with the ballroom’s beautifully adorned tables covered with oversized vases supporting a burst of colorful flowers. The centerpiece arrangements included magenta flowers, Pink Floyd roses, green hydrangeas, Queen Anne’s lace, green amaranth, curly willow, silver dollar-seeded eucalyptus, and the organization’s signature logo flower, green chrysanthemums. Meanwhile, a giant pergola of a floral effusion was installed over the dance floor.

 

The dinner began with entertainment by a dance orchestra. This year’s program was emceed by Albert Steves, assisted by his wife and sponsor member, Tricia Steves, with Carrie Catalani orchestrating an elaborate and exciting presentation of Prizes & Prize drawings. As the night progressed, guests savored decadent hors d’oeuvres, all by Rosemary’s Catering. Wine pairings were an elegant and perfect accompaniment to the gourmet meal. The evening was capped off by entertainment by the band, Blind Date of Austin.

 

THE PURPOSE: The special, unique, and memorable night was helmed by CBS Chairman of the Board Lynn Ziegler, President Terrie Musselman, and the many committees that orchestrated the festivities. The 2020 and 2021 combined gala Diamond Chrysanthemum Patrons were the Betty Stieren Kelso Foundation, Charity Ball Legacy Foundation, Kittie Nelson Ferguson Foundation, and the Mays Family Foundation. Even with the unusual year in 2020, the Charity Ball raised over one million dollars under the chairmanship of the 2020 Vice President for Patrons, Kelly Kennedy, and then again raised over one million dollars in 2021 under the Vice President for Patrons, Ellen O’Gorman.

 

The organization is so very grateful for The Charity Ball Legacy Foundation, which made a significant contribution of $125,000 in 2020 and an increased donation in 2021 of $180,000 to The Charity Ball Association. During these past two years, under the guidance of Sharon Seal, Vice President of Charities, a rigorous process was developed to determine the 36 charities to be funded in Bexar County. As a result, many needs were met for these children, such as food, shelter, clothing, safety, education, disabilities (both intellectual and developmental), and improved playground facilities.

 

The Charity Ball Association graciously acknowledged decades of giving by Cavender Cadillac. The Charity Ball Association of San Antonio supports the children of Bexar County by distributing grants each year since 1954, now totaling more than $24 million. The organization’s tenet is Children Benefit Always.

EXOTIC FLAIR

EXOTIC FLAIR

Melanie Vaughan’s German Club Debutante Party In San Antonio

 

By Jake Gaines    Photography by Greg Harrison

 

A German Club debutante party, Evening of Chinese Splendor, honored Melanie Vaughan’s travels to different regions of China that have inspired her over the last two years. She traveled there as part of her operatic vocal training with voice instructor, Dr. Chai Wai Lee of Trinity University. She, with other vocal students, performed at Chinese universities in different cities and provinces in China.

As Melanie had immersed herself in Chinese culture, she was drawn to having a party theme that was very near and dear to her heart. During her travels to China, she grew as a person, and as a singer, and looks forward to returning in the future. Melanie wore a floor-length red dress based upon an authentic Chinese design with a modern, elegant flair. The gown, designed by Nicolas Vilalba, was wrapped with embroidered silk gold dragons imported from Hong Kong and had a traditional Chinese neckline embellished with red and gold crystals.

 

Melanie and her family’s vision for the occasion were brought to life by Billinda Wilkinson and India Rhodes of Wilkinson Rhodes, who created a Chinese ambiance  for the guests. Upon arrival at the Witte Museum, guests were greeted by a magnificent 12-foot long, hand-carved dragon, looming over the entrance guarded by two massive handmade gold Foo Dogs. Red Chinese lanterns dripped from the beams of the entrance as guests approached a 12-foot-high ice carving of a Chinese pagoda flanked on either side by Chinese Warriors, inspired by the Terracotta Army guarding Emperor Qinshihuang’s Mausoleum. Surrounding the ice Pagoda were holes drilled to hold shots of
Singapore Sling cocktails for the guests’ enjoyment, while the Lemon Grass Empress martinis were passed upon entry to the venue.

Inside, the venue was transformed to convey the feeling of a drawing-room in a Chinese Palace. Tables were draped with silk tablecloths and surrounded by ornate red chairs. Flowered fans framing red lacquer bars with Melanie’s name painted in Chinese lettering were among the carved dragons and perched atop custom-designed food stations that had curved gold tile roofs inspired by the palaces. Red and white Chinese dragons were also embossed onto the dance floor to add to the distinctive décor.

The honoree’s travels also inspired the food for the evening. Steamed lobster dumplings were served on bamboo trays, and poke bowls were filled with many culinary delights to choose from  such as Asian short ribs over noodles in a jar of smoke, sweet and sour baby back ribs, and spicy meatballs, with red chopsticks provided.  Chocolate and Mochi Xiao Long Bao were served for dessert with milkshakes of ginger, green tea and mango passed for the guests’ pleasure, all of which were created by Cassandra Fine Catering.