The Crowd: Celebrating the belles of the ball

In time-honored tradition, the National Charity League, Inc. presented its 53rd Debutante Ball, introducing 26 young ladies from the Newport Beach community to society. The debutantes were honored for six years of community service through National Charity League programs in Orange County, assisting more than 30 charities that benefit a wide range of important social causes. Nearly 500 guests in black tie converged Nov. 30 on the newly named Hotel Irvine (formerly the Hyatt Regency Irvine) for a Saturday night formal presentation.

Following the traditional decorum of the debutante process, the mothers of the young women were presented to the crowd and then seated in the ballroom by each of their daughters' escorts. The 2013 debutante ball director, Nancy Vaughan, and her husband John Vaughan were introduced and joined Kerry Barth, National Charity League Newport Chapter president. Barth is the mother of Shannon Barth, one of the 2013 debutantes. Then the spectacular parade of young women in beautiful flowing white gowns entered the ballroom and floated across the dance floor after taking their St. James bow and finally taking the arm of their father or sponsor escort.

The rite of passage officially began with the opening waltz and the first Champagne toast. A spectacular three-course dinner featured a spring salad followed by an entrée of filet and salmon, and a decadent chocolate dessert. The debutantes and their families and guests danced until midnight, entertained by the Jay Sterling Orchestra.

The 2013 National Charity League debutantes are Lauren Michelle Anderson, Lily James Anderson, Shannon O'Neil Barth, Megan Jean Bathen, Jordan Suzanne Castleton, Daniella Elsa Chila, Catherine Louise Connelly, Marguerite O'Toole Danner, Meredith Streeter Davin, Alexa Nicolle DeSantis, Sally Elizabeth Evans, Megan Elizabeth Farley, Kylie Rose Gaughan, Caroline Lane Graham, Hannah Grace Hall, Kari Michelle Hancock, Emilie Darin Jajonie, Caitlyn Mardee Johnson, Jane Grace Layton, Katherine Marie Maddox, Paige Lauren Miller, Kylie Tamm Mulvaney, Shelby Yvonne Perez, Ashlee Ann Queathem, Jamison Elizabeth Searles and Brenna Marie Van Hoogenstyn.


A magical night in the Samueli Theater

For three brief evenings in mid-November, the Segerstrom Center for the Arts' Cabaret Series presented a phenomenal combination of talent for the fortunate audiences who saw the performance of Clint Holmes and Marilyn Maye. Holmes, who holds the title of Las Vegas Entertainer of the Year, and Maye, called "one of the greatest voices of 20th-century popular music," created a unique emotional bond in a most unlikely way that was one of the best presentations created by the programming executives at the Segerstrom Center.

Holmes opened the set with his extraordinary vocal talent paired with the ease of movement of a dancer. His song selection included emotional killers such as "Alfie" from Burt Bacharach and Hal David and Leslie Bricusse and Anthony Newley's "What Kind of Fool Am I?", all the way to Paul Simon's "50 Ways to Leave Your Lover." Holmes also engaged the audience with tales about such greats as the late Sammy Davis Jr. and personal family stories about Holmes' mother and father and his bi-racial background.

Maye joined Holmes mid-show, performing several duets including "Most Wonderful," and then the 85-year-old blonde bombshell in her sequined tunic over super-skinny black silk evening pants brought the show home in the second act.

From Cole Porter to Barry Manilow's "Paradise Café" to Broadway standards including "On The Street Where You Live" from "My Fair Lady," her clear-as-a-bell voice and phenomenal range were a treat to behold. .

Coming up in the Samueli on Dec. 13 and 14, jazz great McCoy Tyner will join Joe Lovano onstage. The Cabaret series continues in the new year with actor and singer Peter Gallagher making his Center debut Feb. 13 in the Samueli with his one-man show "How'd All You People Get In My Room?" For information and tickets, call the Center at (714) 556-2787 or go to

THE CROWD runs Fridays. B.W. Cook is editor of the Bay Window, the official publication of the Balboa Bay Club in Newport Beach.

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