DSOL Ball: A Three-Generation Tradition

Nancy Duncan with Caroline and Denise Beutel; 2018. (Photo: James French)

Nancy Duncan and daughter Denise Duncan Beutel have done the Dallas Symphony Orchestra League Presentation Ball together before.

In 1991, Nancy was the proud debutante mom as Denise took her bow. In 1996, they co-chaired the ball.

And at this year’s 32nd annual ball, they were there for the debut of Caroline Beutel, who’s looking forward to following her mother and grandmother into leadership roles.

“Hopefully, I’ll be able to keep this tradition one day by chairing it with my mom or have my daughter be a debutante,” Caroline said.

All three women spoke about their love for the symphony and appreciation for how the league’s debutant season raises money for the orchestra and its youth programs while creating, as Nancy put it, “memorable experiences that bond young adults and their families with the community and the symphony.”

Why is this important to you?

DENISE: I have such fond memories of attending the symphony with my parents while growing up. I remember when the Meyerson opened and the complete awe I felt when I attended a concert there for the first time. Later, when I was in college, I was a DSOL debutante. I fondly remember that year, the beginning of my own bond with the symphony – one separate from that of my parents and that as a child.

What compelled you to take a personal role and commit your time and energies?

NANCY: When I was asked to chair the 10th anniversary symphony ball, I knew the value of community service work and the joy one derives from friendships made while volunteering for the symphony.

What did you learn from the experiences of your grandmother and mother?

CAROLINE: My grandmother brought over the scrapbook of pictures from when my mother was a debutant and when they co-chaired the ball. After we stopped laughing at the hairstyles and fashion, they shared that this was more than just a party, and more than just the pictures. The presentation ball is a commitment of support for the symphony and helping to raise money for children so they could appreciate and learn from the symphony.

How did the stories of their experiences compare with your own?

CAROLINE: Just like the scrapbook promised, the whole process was something I am so grateful for and will never forget. I have met so many great people and loved being able to include my college friends for the final ball. To be able to be on stage at the Meyerson with my father and knowing that my mom and grandmother were in the audience holding their breath while I was making my bow is something I will never forget.

LEFT: Denise, Lowell, and Nancy Duncan; 1991. RIGHT: Nancy and Denise Duncan; 1996. (Courtesy photo)


Three generations: Sharon McCullough co-chaired the inaugural ball in 1987 when her daughter Debbie McCullough Hayhurst was among the first debutantes. Debbie’s daughters made their debuts: Libby in 2014 and Gracie in 2015.

Two generations: Lucy Myers Lambert also made her debut in 1987; her daughter, Madeleine Hendrick, in 2017.

2018 debutante Claire Fletcher’s mom, Mary Rebecca Enloe Fletcher, and aunt, Sara Elizabeth Enloe, made their debuts in 1988.

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