Cumberland, guests praise Phoenix Ball as ‘best ever’

Bonnie Bucy • Updated Jun 12, 2016 at 8:00 AM

Although it’s now a week in the past, everyone who had anything to do with it or attended the 33rd version of Cumberland University’s Phoenix Ball, is still talking about it in glowing terms.

Whether a goal had been set for money raised is unknown, but this year’s event grossed about $130,000 plus the $36,500 raised from the live and silent auctions, for a total of $166,500. Bills still have to be paid, so the exact amount raised for student scholarships won’t be known for a few days, Cumberland officials.

President Paul Stumb classified it as, “unequivocally a highlight of my first year as president and arguably the best one we’ve had in a long time and an evening that will be long remembered as a special time for the 350 folks who attended.”

Camille Burdine, director of community relations and engagement, said, “I personally have come to every Phoenix Ball since 2007, which was before I ever worked at Cumberland. This one was absolutely my favorite. It was beautifully decorated. It was a little warm for the pre-ball reception in Baird’s Chapel, but the gym wasn’t crowded even with 350 attendees, and it was nice and cool. The food was wonderful, and the dance floor allowed plenty of room for dancing.

“Each tabletop had a lovely centerpiece arranged and furnished by members of the Year-Round Garden Club. These ladies are so giving and so talented.” 

Burdine said several things were refreshing about this year’s event. She said the affair included as many as three generations. An example, Ann and the late J.D. Floyd’s granddaughter, Jennifer Smith, and Martha and the late Dr. Jim Bradshaw’s daughter-in-law Joey Bradshaw, were on committees. Another refreshing factor is that in previous years, Burdine recalled that Cumberland had “20 maybe sponsors” right up until time for the event. 

“This year, we had 26 sponsors that were solicited and nailed down by volunteers who literally went knocking on doors,” said Burdine. “They were sensational. As a result of them, our presenting sponsor was Custom Packaging; then Wilson County Motors, Wilson Bank & Trust, PFP, LLC and Christy and Paul Stumb. The Venue at 109, a Carroll Homes Development owned by Gordon Carroll, will be sponsoring the Patron’s Party on Aug. 11 at the Arcade on the Lebanon Square. Invitations will be going out.”

Last Saturday started with rain and repeated rain. Fortunately, the tent covered-walkways kept most of the guests dry. However, several of the committee members ended up laughing about the fact they had had their hair all fixed in the afternoon, but were drooping and straight-haired by evening. 

A large majority of the ladies chose formal long dresses than previous years. Maybe it was the fact that most in attendance were younger, there for the first time-honored tradition. They went from simple, clinging gowns to actual ball gowns to sheer flowing fabrics. Colors ranged from bright red to several new shades of yellow, brilliant and light greens, dark and light blues, white and the proverbial black.

A friend at Susie And Ed James’ table was overheard to comment, “Everybody looks like Christmas ornaments in all their color and decorative finery.”    

“This Phoenix Ball was wonderful,” said Susie James. “I’ve been around since it began, but I think I’ve been to every one for the past 15 years, and this was the best. From the moment you walked in, it was magical. The committee was so attentive to detail. They didn’t miss a thing. The food was superb, and the dance floor set-up and music were great. It was equal to a major premiere.”

In talking about the ball encompassing at least three generations, Susie James said, “My mother, Joyce Barry, was at the first Ball and took me along. This year, my daughter, Chelsie, was at this one with her husband. How’s that for generation coverage?

“You know, I feel like a level of respect that hasn’t been here for a long time, has returned for this event. That’s a good feeling.”

Everybody raved over the food that was catered by Chartwell’s, Cumberland’s food service. Beautifully presented, the five-course dinner included a first course of Old Charleston-style shrimp and grits. The second course followed with a mixed field green salad with hot bacon mango dressing. The third course consisted of cucumber avocado gazpacho. The anticipated main course included Caprese-grilled filet mignon with balsamic glaze paired with basil parmesan potato tart and trim-top carrots.

The dessert topping it all off was lemon panna cotta with fresh lemon marmalade paired with (various colored) macaroons and fresh berries. Bottles of red and while wine were brought to the tables while the bar was open for other drinks.

Following dinner, the talented NashVegas All-Stars band started playing. The crowded took off for the dance floor and let the band know they were up to dancing. This went on until midnight.

Lucy Lee, founder of Leadership Wilson and director for 15 years, and her attorney husband, Bob Lee, were in attendance Saturday night.

“This is the first time in years since we’ve been here for the ball,” said Lucy Lee. “But, a friend called this year and asked us to be at their table. Bob asked me if I had anything to wear. I said I did, and here we are. I am absolutely amazed at what they’ve done with the gym. It’s the most beautiful I’ve ever seen it. It’s been opened up to a bigger capacity, allowing for plenty of elbow room, even with 350 seated guests and a big dance floor. It doesn’t feel crowded at all. It’s wonderfully decorated, and the air conditioner is working well. It’s a fabulous evening.”

This “Dream of an Evening” was planned and executed by a dedicated committee consisting of Katy and Michael Moscardelli, Phoenix Ball chairs; Scott Harris and Caroline Walker, event production chairs; and Necole Bell and Mallory Maxwell, auction chairs.

Committee members included Adam Maxwell, Alexa Moscardelli, Ashley and Scott Lawrence, Lauren and Chris Smith, Jennifer Smith, Joey Jane Bradshaw, Traci and John Pope, Kathy Adams, Kelly Thorne, Kirsten Harris, Maggie Lea, Mandy Pryor, Melissa Dilley, Rick Bell, Suanne Bone, Susan Kirshner and Tasha and Brad Irby.

Other event sponsors included Beauty Boutique for valet parking; Lauren and Chris Smith, the signature cocktail sponsor; Kirsten and Scott Harris for the photo booth; First Tennessee Bank for the auction; Pryor Family Dentistry for the pre-ball reception; Gardens On Main for the live decor; Wilson County Motors and Chick-Fil-A as late night snack sponsors.

There isn’t enough room to list all those who had something to contribute to the 33rd Phoenix Ball. However, it can be said memories of this year’s affair will be long remembered and looked forward to for next year.  

In the meantime, can this year possibly be topped?

For more pictures from this event click here. 


The Phoenix Ballers

The 312 attendees to the 33rd Phoenix Ball included Joe and Kathy Adams, Joyce Alcorn, Amanda Anders, Pat Asp, Igor and Mary Babailov, Rick and Necole Bell, Bob and Pam Black, Cheryl Bockstruck, Richard Boehm, Debbie Boles, Jenny Boles, Hal and Tracey Bone, Mitchel and Melinda Bone, Paine and Maria Bone, W.P. Bone, Charlie and Lois Bradshaw, Jay and Joey Jane Bradshaw, Sarah Branham, Kurt and Jeni Lind Brinkman, Lavanda Brockman, Wendell and Christie Brown, Rhett and Autumn Bruner, Danny and Susan Bryan, John and Kim Bryan, Frank Bryant, Pat Bryant, Bonnie Bucy, John Walden and Camille Burdine, Greg and Debra Butler, Debbie Cagle, Eddie and Brenda Callis, Cliff and Tiffany Carey, Kevin and Julie Carr, Rob Cash, John and Dianna Cavender, Rob and Leah Cesternino, Bernie and Mig Christian, Jackie and Chuck Cowden, Philip and Darlene Craighead, Chris and Amanda Crowell, Troy Davis, Karen Dedman, David and Rachel Deffendall, Kevin and Melissa Dilley, Shan Dixon, Sid and Georgia Durham, Bobby and Shanoa Eastland, Sherard and Courtney Edington, Ray and Kim Edwards, Chris and Penny Erhart, Mark and Jessica Fain, Allen Vance and Mary-Margaret Farris, Jared and Mary Felkins, Tom Ferraro, Jordan and Amber Fleming, Angela Floyd, Rob and Penny Forrest, John and Aileen Foutch, Chris and Torri Fuller, Ashley Gallaher, Joe and Shelley Gardner, Chris and Elizabeth Geisenhoffer, Trey and Erin Geisenhoffer, Stephen and Martha George, Gordon and Brenda Gill, Michael and Mallory Gonzalez, Jeremy and Genesis Goodman, Chuck and Jody Gore, Cathy Gracey, Joe and Doris Gray, Adam and Bri Greer, Christi Griffin, Jeff and Krista Hall, Robert and Donna Hamilton, Jason and Debra Harp, Scott and Kirsten Harris, Scott and Sarah Haston, Jonathon Hawkins, Daniel Heath, Sam and Debbie Holm, Howard and Menda Holmes, Larry Hubbard, Ray and Stephanie Hubner, Samantha Hughey, Geoff and Amber Hurdle, Randall and Paula Hutto, Brad and Tasha Irby, Ed and Susie James, Scott and Denise Jasper, Liz Johnson, Katie Anderson and Mike Justice, Brody and Angel Kane, David and Sally Kimble, Vincent and Julie Kinol, Eddie and Lisa Kirkus, Neil and Susan Kirshner, Jill Kollarits, William and Talina Lambert, Greg and Heather Landers, Frank and Shelia Lannom, Laney and Nova Lawrence, Scott and Ashley Lawrence, Jimmy and Maggie Lea, Bob and Lucy Lee, Mark Lee, Nancy Lee, Eddie and Brandi Lovin, B.F. “Jack” Lowery, Scott and Morgan Lumley, Joshua and Jennifer MacDonald, Dan and Terri Mack, Chris Mango, Adam and Mallory Maxwell, Donna McClellan, Bob and Susan McDonald, Samantha McDonald, Terrell McWhirter, Mark and Janet Medlin, Chet and Debbie Melvin, Melanie Minter, Jason and Rhonda Moles, James and Norma Morris, Alexa Moscardelli, Michael and Katy Moscardelli, Richard Moscardelli, Russ Neal, Greg and Chelsea Nyce, Lee and Jenifer Oliver, Crista Oser, Brandon and Rachael Overall, Russell and Brooke Parrish, Adam and Jana Pastors, Ginny Patterson, Mark and Debra Patton, Jeffy and Shelly Peterson, Matt and Betsy Pierucki, David and Lisa Pominski, John and Traci Pope, Larry and Kristine Powell, Mr. and Mrs. Brian Reeves, Rusty and Kathy Richardson, Elmer and Hettie Lee Richerson, Karen Leidy and Mike Ripski, Bill and Michelle Robertson, Rebecca Robertson, Dan Roszkowski, Pat Santilli, John and Mary Sergent, Denise Sikes, Savannah Sikes, Matt Sloan, Chris and Lauren Smith, Drew and Jennifer Smith, Shawn and Lindsay Smith, Leslie Steele, Ryan and Krissa Stephens, Sonny and Elysia Stover, Mary Anne Stumb, Paul and Cristy Stumb, Boone and Sally Swain, Ken and Cathey Sweeney, Roy Terry, Eric Thompson, Price and Sarah Thompson, Heath and Kelly Thorne, Shane and Lisa Thorne, Patricia West and Mike Thornhill, Jimmy and Lisa Tramel, John and Heather Tullos, Becky Fox and Joel Usery, Chad and Amelia Vance, Courtney Vick, Bill and Caroline Walker, Stephanie Walker, Larimore and Wendi Warren, Kyle Welch, Wayne Wells, Pete and Blair Welser, Gary and Tammye Whitaker, Larry and Kathy Wilkerson, Fran Howard and Bill Williams, Derrick and Amber Wilson, Joe and Wanda Wilson and Laura Woods.

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