Bedecked in glamorous gowns and splendid tuxedos, 32 Tulsa high school seniors made their formal introduction this month as the 2018 Debutantes and Squires of Tulsa Opera Ball. We are so pleased to announce them to our opera family!

With Strings & Pearls, a harpist duo, playing soft background music, each of the 23 dazzling Debutantes took turns descending the majestic staircase in the lobby of the historic Mayo Hotel in downtown Tulsa, escorted by her father, grandfather or uncle. The nine regal-looking Squires followed, stepping down on their own.

Says Darcey Drullinger, a twin daughter of Shelly and Tommy Drullinger of Tulsa, “Being a Debutante at the Opera Ball definitely felt like a dream! Every detail was perfect. We felt like princesses the entire evening.”

Her sister agrees. “It is a fabulous Tulsa tradition that I feel so honored to be a part of and being escorted by my dad made the evening extra special. This experience will forever be a treasured moment and a highlight of my senior year,” says Macey Drullinger.

The Debutantes and Squires culminated the formal presentation in the hotel’s lobby by dancing a waltz with their escorts or mothers to songs played by pianist and Young Artist Dr. Ohsung Bryan Kwon, who chose “The Blue Danube” for the Debs, and “The Emperor Waltz” for the Squires.

Following the waltz, the Opera Ball festivities moved to the hotel’s Crystal Ballroom, decked out with starry lights, glittery gold tableware and gorgeous white peonies, hydrangeas and roses by Tulsa florist Stems filling 3-foot-tall gold vases. Everyone enjoyed a delicious dinner catered by the hotel, and once the formalities ended, the kids packed the dance floor and showed their moves to songs by local band, The Stars.

This 58-year tradition creates lasting memories for students and their families, says Richard Koenig, Tulsa Opera’s Director of Development & Donor Relations.

“We had one Debutante this year whose parents met at Opera Ball, later married, and this year presented their daughter. It truly is a Tulsa family tradition,” says Koenig, who worked with Beck and Event Chair Shelly Drullinger to coordinate the 2018 Opera Ball festivities.

Tulsa Opera staff supported Drullinger, Debutante Chair Melissa Easterling and Squire Chair Amy Herndon to arrange all of the group’s festivities, including a kickoff party in September, a skeet shooting event in November, and casino night in January. Multiple photo sessions were provided by Ervin Photography in Tulsa, with the girls wearing custom-designed gowns by Carmen Marc Valvo, and the boys donning tuxedos by Beshara’s Formal Wear in Tulsa.

Drullinger encourages other Tulsa families to become part of the program. “Being a part of such a special Tulsa tradition is a lifelong treasured memory,” she says. “You will enjoy meeting other debutantes and squires, as well as, getting to share the experience with your parents. The Opera Ball is an evening like no other!”