Cinderella Ball welcomes 13 young ladies into Pittsburgh society |
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JoAnne Klimovich Harrop

Each young woman dressed in a gorgeous white gown emerges from behind the curtain, curtseys, reaches for her father’s hand, walks down the steps and makes her formal debut into Pittsburgh society.

The 93rd Cinderella Ball, Pittsburgh society’s debutante ball, is the oldest charity event in Pittsburgh and the second-longest running debutante ball in America.

On Jan. 26, 13 young ladies were presented to society on the arms of their fathers in age-old traditional cotillion style. More than 400 guests filled the grand ballroom on the 17th floor of the Omni William Penn Hotel in Downtown Pittsburgh.

“The Cinderella Ball is such an amazing event led by an amazing organization,” says Margaret Elizabeth Maglio, a senior at Aquinas Academy, who was chosen as Cinderella. “I am so blessed and honored to be a part of it.”

Her prince charming

Maglio was selected by prince charming Joseph Anthony Katarincic III, a junior at Miami (Ohio) University, during the ceremony. His name is an extremely well-kept secret until the final moment when he appears and selects the name of Cinderella from a beautifully decorated pumpkin.

The two danced and posed for pictures in front of the carriage.

“It is an honor to be a part of this event that has so much tradition,” says Katarincic. “My mom was a debutante. It means a lot to be here.”

Charity worthy

The Cinderella Ball supports local, civic and charitable organizations in a two-fold manner: financially and through the debutante’s volunteer efforts. In 2001, the Cinderella Women’s Committee, a non-profit organization was founded to continue the Cinderella Ball. It awards a scholarship to the debutante who has contributed the most volunteer hours and has demonstrated an outstanding commitment to volunteer leadership. This year’s beneficiary is the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, a nationally-recognized ballet company, a training institute for students from around the world, and an incubator for education and accessibility programs in classrooms and community centers region-wide. This year’s debutante’s volunteered their time and talents at events such as “Ballet Under the Stars,” “West Side Story Suite,” “Mozart Festival,” “The Nutcracker” and “CMOA & PBT.”

It was announced that The Frick Pittsburgh will be the beneficiary for the 2020 Cinderella Ball.


The 13 debutantes include Maglio, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Michael Joseph Maglio, Jillian Rockwell Aiken, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Scott Brian Aiken, Pauline Alton Farnsworth, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. David Meyer Farnsworth, Katharine Graham Ference, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Stanley Donald Ference III, Erin Marrie Gramley, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Kurtis Dean Gramley, Margaret Olivia McCoy, daughter of Mr. Jan Stephens McCoy and Dr. Kimberly Anne Rau, Sophia Isabelle McMahon, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Rodrick Owen McMahon, Meredith Jean Mehta, daughter of Dr. and Dr. Amish Manhar Mehta, Alyssa Maria Melani, daughter of Dr. and Mrs. Kenneth Rudolph Melani, Izabella Zocco Scragg, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Paul Raymond Scragg, Olivia Dora Scalise Senan, daughter of Dr. and Mrs. Pushpendra Senan, Caroline Elisabeth Szilagyi, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Steven Thomas Szilagyi and Olivia Faye Wilson, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Christopher Craig Wilson.

The first

Two first generation debutantes, Melani and Mehta hope to set the foundation for future members of the family to be honored at the Cinderella Ball.

“I loved that the charity was the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, because I used to do ballet and it brought back a lot of great memories,” says Melani, a senior at Fox Chapel High School, whose 9-year-old sister says she is a debutante in waiting. “Ballet helps so much with giving you confidence. I just might save my dress so my sister can wear it when it’s her turn.”

Learning about the importance of volunteering at this age is a good thing, says Mehta, a senior at Taylor Allderdice High School.

“It can become a lifelong commitment to helping others,” she says.

Seen: Other notables we spotted were Terrence S. Orr and Aziza El Feil from the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, master of ceremonies Greg Brown, Cinderella Ball committee members, Rin Babson, Allison Barker, Mimi Colville, Melinda Edwards, Holly Eisenbrandt, Lisa Gaydos, Marla Gibson, Lisa Keefer, Caroline Kelley, Laura Kronk, Jamie Lanier, Sara Leone, Maggie Marquette, Sarah Jane Meek, Amy Oliver, Christina Rath, Diana Rath, Lauren Robertshaw, Sara Scaife, Sarah Shelby, Courtney Smith, Betsy Teti, Julia Teti, Diane Waldman, Kelly Waldman, Britton Wean And Carolyn B. Reed, representing The Frick Pittsburgh.

The chairs

Brette Rupert Gillman with Kyle Edward Gillman and Natalie Robertshaw Kelley with Brendan Reeves Kelley chaired the event for a second year.

“We are excited to have participated in such a wonderful event,” says Gillman. “We are so thankful for the families and the women’s committee and everyone involved in this event. The Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre offered so many amazing volunteer opportunities for these young women.”

“They’ve learned a lot about the importance of volunteering,” says Kelley. “These volunteering experiences last a lifetime.”

On the menu

For dinner, the Omni William Penn’s executive chef Michael Fischetti prepared for guests red pepper bisque soup and a harvest salad of arugula, butternut squash, pears, shaved manchego, roasted pumpkin seeds and apple cider vinaigrette.

The main course was filet mignon with balsamic peppercorn sauce, wild mushroom leek fontina risotto, snow peas and honey ginger carrots. The meal was completed with a slice of raspberry cloud cake — light golden cake with a layer of raspberry with whipped cream icing.

The Rick Purcell Band entertained during dinner and then The Move Makers performed to a dance floor filled with debutantes and their friends and families, as well as Prince Charming and Cinderella … until the clock struck midnight.

JoAnne Harrop is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact JoAnne at 724-853-5062 or [email protected] or via Twitter @Jharrop_Trib.

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