Fanfare: Pittsburgh Society 91st Cinderella Ball
Eleven young women carried on a tradition nearly 100 years in the making when they were presented to Pittsburgh society during the 91st Cinderella Ball.
“It's something that my grandma and aunts did… it's a really fun thing to do as part of that family tradition,” said third-generation debutante Lilah Hilliard.
Prior to the ballroom opening, the girls gathered in the Presidential Suite of the Omni William Penn, where Eliza Cochran and Devin Gramley uncoiled nerves by practicing their waltz and curtsies.
“I'm the first so that doesn't help,” laughed Cochran. “If I wipe out, that probably won't set a good tune.”
While a guest list tipping 350 arrived, rumor had it that Christopher Rudolf was being sequestered in parts unknown until he was formally announced as this year's Prince Charming. The Shady Side Academy senior's grandmother, Priscilla McCrady, was presented during the 1962 ball, escorted by her future husband, William McCrady. Both attended the Jan. 28 event.
With his debut made, it was time to randomly select the name of this year's Cinderella — Lilah Hilliard — from an illuminated pumpkin.
Embracing the ball's focus on social and charitable responsibility, the girls collectively spent 600 hours volunteering at this year's beneficiary, the Carnegie Science Center.
“It didn't feel like work… it felt like I was going to have fun,” said Sarah Scalise. She and Elizabeth Verbica were recipients of the Cinderella Women's Committee Scholarship for each contributing 109 hours.
Also presenting were Giovanna Elo, Katherine Davenport, Nina Johns, Alicia McMahon, Christina Recchi.
Attending were co-chairs Laura Penrod Kronk (with Claude) and Lisa Gaydos (with Joe), Dr. Jo Ellen Parker, Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh president, and Samuel Badger, representing the Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh Foundation, the 2018 beneficiary.
Music was by the Rick Purcell Big Band. Master of Ceremonies, Leonard Marsico.