A Night to Remember

By Gretchen Eichenberg

80th annual Hedonia Presentation Ball announces debutantes

Pictured: Photo by Doug Fitzjarrell, www.fitzjarrellphotography.com

Senior Debutante, Left: Miss Britain Elizabeth Winchell, Junior Debutantes: FRONT ROW, LEFT TO RIGHT: Bentlee Mae Keepers, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Nicholas Andrew Keepers; Caroline Culwell Rice, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. James Culwell Rice; Blair Reese Keith, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Jason S. Keith; Addison Grace Bathurst, daughter of Dr. and Mrs. Gregory J. Bathurst; Ellen Suzanne Morrison, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Matthew Morrison. SECOND ROW, LEFT TO RIGHT: Ella Rose McCallie, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Jason L. McCallie; Amelia Elaine Livesay, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Russell Clarke Livesay; Finley Elizabeth McCallie, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Jason L. McCallie; Kathryn Leigh Livesay, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Russell Clarke Livesay. TOP ROW, LEFT TO RIGHT: Sophi Ella Davis, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Coleburn Davis; Eva Grace DeCluitt, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Christopher DeCluitt.Senior Debutante, Right: Miss Alston Elizabeth Howell

Hedonia Club of Waco will host an exceptionally traditional gala for its 80th annual presentation ball at 8 p.m. on Saturday, November 26, at Ridgewood Country Club.

“Along with the honor of presenting two debutantes and 11 junior debutantes,” said Tanner Moore, club president, “we are focusing on our club’s rich heritage, which comes with 80 years of tradition. On this special anniversary, we’re going to recognize our Hedonia Club’s past presidents, who continue to be active members. And we’re celebrating the contributions of boards, both past and present.”

Hedonia Club hosts a black-tie ball every November in which college-age debutantes are presented to their families, friends and club members — a time-honored tradition. This year the spotlight will be on two debutantes — Alston Elizabeth Howell and Britain Elizabeth Winchell — who will be presented to family and friends in their white gowns and kid gloves in the country club ballroom.

Miss Alston Elizabeth Howell is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Hilton H. Howell Jr. of Atlanta, Georgia. She attends the University of Virginia, majoring in economics. Howell is a member of Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority and is on the dean’s list. Last summer, she studied at the London School of Economics. She will be presented by her father, Mr. Hilton Howell Jr., to the song “The Way You Look Tonight,” and she will be escorted by her brother, Hilton Hatchett Howell III.

Miss Britain Elizabeth Winchell is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Craig Winchell of Dallas. She attends Texas A&M University, majoring in mechanical engineering. Winchell is a member of Zeta Tau Alpha sorority, the Society of Women Engineers and is a member of the Texas A&M fencing club. Last summer, she studied political science with the Texas A&M European Summer Academy, traveling to Germany, Poland, Belgium and France. She will be presented by her father, Mr. Craig Winchell, to the song “One Moment in Time,” and she will be escorted by her brother, Mr. William Barrett Winchell.

Junior debutantes include the following young ladies: Addison Grace Bathurst, daughter of Dr. and Mrs. Gregory J. Bathurst; Sophi Ella Davis, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Coleburn Davis; Eva Grace DeCluitt, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Christopher DeCluitt; Bentlee Mae Keepers, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Nicholas Andrew Keepers; Blair Reese Keith, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Jason S. Keith; Amelia Elaine Livesay, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Russell Clarke Livesay; Kathryn Leigh Livesay, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Russell Clarke Livesay; Ella Rose McCallie, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Jason L. McCallie; Finley Elizabeth McCallie, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Jason L. McCallie; Ellen Suzanne Morrison, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Matthew Morrison; and Caroline Culwell Rice, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. James Culwell Rice.

The 9- and 10-year-old girls will wear floor-length, white dresses with short gloves and carry a small nosegay of roses as they curtsy to an adoring crowd. Cooper Roane Lacy, son of Mr. and Mrs. Benjamin Cooper Lacy, will escort the 11 young ladies. The Dave Wilde Quartet will perform music during the formal presentation. Later in the evening, after the little girls have gone home, club members and their guests will dance to the music of the Time Machine Band.

Before the presentation, a special four-course patron dinner with wine pairings will be held in a downstairs space at Ridgewood. And on Friday evening, November 25, before the presentation ball, a president’s reception will be held, featuring the music of local trio Risings Sons, all of whose fathers are Hedonia Club members.

“My wife, Brooke, had a vision for this ball from the very beginning,” Moore said. “With her creativity and style, she has given the event her special touch, from the decorations to the food. Everything is going to be perfectly lit — it’s going to be a beautiful evening.”

Debutante season coordinator Jennifer Heinz has been an integral part of the planning process, Moore said.

“Jennifer is a critical link to putting on this event,” he said. “She has helped us stay on task and communicate with everyone involved — what an asset for the club. Also our board and executive committee — and their wives — have been invaluable.”

Moore said it’s been an all-around good year for Hedonia Club.

“Our poker party and dove hunt continue to be successful recruiting events,” he said. “We have added 23 new members this year and look forward to welcoming them to their first-ever presentation ball, which will hopefully become a tradition for their families.”

Hedonia Club is comprised of a group of civic-minded men who annually present their college-age daughters as debutantes. The club was founded in 1937 with a charter membership of more than 200 men and a mission “to enrich our community and bring families together through the preservation, tradition and elegance of presenting member daughters to society.”

The first officers were Charles J. Eubank, president; Walter G. Lacy Jr., vice president; and Frank L. Wilcox, secretary-treasurer. Dr. Carl Lovelace is credited with naming the club “Hedonia” after the Greek word meaning “pleasure — to live a happy, joyous life.”

This year’s club officers are J. Tanner Moore, president; Charles Conrad Stewart, vice president; Judson Griffis, secretary-treasurer; Nicholas Keepers, past president; and Dain Shelton, past president emeritus.

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