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34th Phoenix Ball features increased numbers, younger crowd

Bonnie Bucy • Updated Jun 11, 2017 at 10:00 AM

The 34th Phoenix Ball last Saturday evening at Cumberland University brought welcoming news to the 175-year-old school. 

Not only did its attendance numbers reflect a grandiose increase in participants, but it also showed the attendees included a much younger crowd and newer people in town affiliated with more recent companies.

The reason for the drastic increases was given to reorganizational steps taken last year. After several years of the Phoenix Ball handled in house, the planning and execution of the affair was put back to a chairman and committee to run the event. This gave the community a sense of personal involvement, and many new heads to come forth with ideas.

The chairs for this year included Phoenix Ball chairs Rick and Necole Bell; event production chairs Scott Harris and Caroline Walker; auction chairs Stephanie Hubner and Mallory Maxwell; and public relations chairs Jeremy and Genisis Goodman.

“We are so thankful for our volunteers and sponsors. There’s no way we could have this success without them,” said Camille Burdine, director of community relations and engagement at Cumberland. “They worked so hard and opened the doors for us to so many new, younger-aged people and new businesses. The newer ones who came last year for the first time evidently had such a good time, they came back this year and brought more people.

“In 2016, we had half tables for sale. Several new businesses in town bought those half tables. Then for this year, they purchased a whole table. Plus, many more new people came.”

Burdine said all the feedback she’d heard was about how amazing and pleased with everything everyone was.

“They were all in awe of the fire and ice theme with the blowing snow, the blue-tinted atmosphere and the actuality of no flowers on the tables, but designs of winter-white branches with dangling crystal icicles hanging on them,” said Burdine.  

The total money raised at the ball wasn’t counted, as it takes a while to get all the accounts settled. Burdine said about $41,000 was raised on the silent and live auctions, and about half of that amount was raised through the live auction, which included an item never before donated – a 6-week-old female golden doodle puppy. The adorable canine came from a local breeder in Gordonsville who has a family member joining the Cumberland family as a student in the fall. A two-year maintenance package came with the puppy from Dr. Josh Duvall with Cumberland Animal Hospital, who will vaccinate, spay and groom her, in addition to giving her six months of flea, heartworm and parasite prevention.

Other live auction items included Heidi Swartz painting, which was painted during the evening at the Phoenix Ball. All attendees were able to watch the painting in progress, and then when bidding started, the highest bidder took home the artwork. A pewter flask by Sheffield Mint was accompanied by a pair of sterling silver cuff links, both engraved with the Phoenix, which made them instant heirlooms and classic reminders of this year’s Phoenix Ball.

Also featured was a custom 14-karat white gold and diamond clock tower pendant, a one of a kind never to be produced again, featured .62 karats of round diamonds on the front with the Cumberland Phoenix logo and commemorative date on the back. Shawn Smith, owner of the Jewelers in Lebanon, designed it. 

Last but not least was a 12-year-old “Lot B” bottle of Pappy Van Winkle whiskey.

Following the live auction and closing remarks by Cumberland president Paul Stumb, it was time to strike up the band, this year featuring the Downtown Band. As the attendees hit the dance floor, a rainbow of colors from the ladies’ varied and gowns began swirling among the bluish-tinted lights. In previous years, black appeared to be the dominating color, but the new fresh theme of ice this year apparently had an effect, because black took second seat to white. A few red gowns were in evidence reflecting the “fire” side of the theme plus many other hues. Overall, it was evening full of class, ranging from classy to classic.

Other planning committee members included Melissa Dilley, Kirsten Harris, Ray Hubner, Tasha and Brad Irby, Susan Kirchner, Greg and Heather Landers, Ashley and Scott Lawrence, Maggie Lea, Alexa Moscardelli, Traci and John Pope, Jennifer Smith, Lauren and Chris Smith, Lindsey and Shawn Smith and Kelly Thorne.

“As of our final tally on attendance, we showed 387 guests for the 2017 Phoenix Ball,” said Burdine. “For this fabulous turnout, we thank our sponsors, our volunteers and all 387 participants who came to the ball. Needless to say, we are definitely outgrowing Baird Chapel and even the gym, so we’re going to have to consider looking for new quarters.”

Phoenix Ball attendees

The Cumberland University 34th Phoenix Ball attendees were Joe and Kathy Adams,

Marcia Spears and Lebanon Mayor Bernie Ash,

Pat Asp,

Igor Babailov,

Scott and Jean Ellen Baker,

Heather Bay,

Peggy Bay,

Kathy Beale,

Jack and Meleia Bell,

Rick and Necole Bell,

Louis and Jenny Bennett,

Wes and Randi Binkley,

Bob and Pam Black,

Hal and Tracey Bone,

Karen Dedman and W.P. Bone,

Mitchel Bone,

Paine and Maria Bone,

Jon and Melynda Bounds,

Richie and Beth Bouton,

Beth Bowman,

Kurt and Jeni Lind Brinkman,

Wendell and Christy Brown,

Danny and Susan Bryan,

John and Kim Bryan,

Leigh Gillig and Frank Bryant,

Pat Bryant,

Bonnie Bucy,

Ken and Patty Caldwell,

Kevin and Julie Carr,

Rob and Helene Cash,

Chuck and Amy Cinelli,

Randall and Peggy Clemons,

George and Sarah Coleman,

Eddie and Joslyn Conrad,

Paula Porter and Brian Conrad,

Chase and Catherine Cowden,

Chuck and Jackie Cowden,

Andy and Allison Cox,

Philip and Darlene Craighead,

Eric Cummings,

Anthony Curtis,

Katherine Daley,

John and Ashley Davis,

Stephanie Walker and Troy Davis,

Heather Dawson,

David and Rachel Deffendall,

Kevin and Melissa Dilley,

Chris and Tracy Dowell,

Sid and Georgia Durham,

Josh and Monica Duvall,

Bobby and Shanoa Eastland,

Ray and Kim Edwards,

Amber Ehrhart,

Chris and Penny Ehrhart,

Mark and Jessica Fain,

Jared and Mary Felkins,

Jordan and Amber Fleming,

Kristin Fleming,

Hailey Peyton Ford,

Richard and LeAnna Foshee,

John and Casey Foster,

Chris and Torri Fuller,

Joe and Shelley Gardner,

Chris and Elizabeth Geisenhoffer,

Trey and Erin Geisenhoffer,

Jeremy and Genesis Goodman,

Joe and Doris Gray,

Dawne Hagan,

David and Lanah Hale,

Jennifer Halverson,

Bob and Donna Hamilton,

Jason and Debra Harp,

Emily Harris,

Scott and Kirstin Harris,

Scott and Sarah Haston,

Jonathon Hawkins,

Sarah Hawkins,

Laura Headley,

Ashley Gallagher and Daniel Heath,

Tom and Vicki Hines,

Jay and Catherine Hinesley,

Sam and Debbie Holm,

Howard and Menda Holmes,

Ray and Stephanie Hubner,

Scott and Patricia Hunt,

Geoff and Amber Hurdle,

Wilson County Mayor Randall and Paula Hutto,

Brad and Tasha Irby,

Larry and Camilla Jackson,

Peyton James,

Scott and Denise Jasper,

Chris and Angie Javillonar,

Randy and Jamie Johnson,

Peyton Hosale and Stanton Johnson,

Joanne Jones,

Dustin and Abbie Jordan,

Mike and Katie Justice,

Brody and Angel Kane,

Jody and Melissa Kelly,

Leah Kirshner,

Neil and Susan Kirshner,

Ricky and Yvonne Kittrell,

Greg and Heather Landers,

Nova Lawrence,

Scott and Ashley Lawrence,

Jimmy and Maggie Lea,

Bob and Lucy Lee,

Kristi Lett,

Charles and Lori Long,

Eddie and Brandi Lovin,

Donna McClelland and B.F. “Jack” Lowery,

Thomas Magnet,

Ralph and Veronica Mallicoat,

Adam and Mallory Maxwell,

Erik and Jenna May,

Chris and Pam McAteer,

Nolan and Jenny McCue,

Bob and Susan McDonald,

Shawn and Joy McMurry,

Terrell and Mary Ann McWhirter,

Laurel Medlin,

Mark and Janet Medlin,

Chet and Debbie Melvin,

Eston and Kimbel Mengleberg,

Chad Mires,

Monty and Kellie Mires,

Sam and Nicole Mitchell,

Rhodes and Casey Monette,

Paul and Cindy Monroe,

Mike and Stephanie Morgan,

James and Norma Morris,

Ryan and Melissa Morris,

Mike and Katy Moscardelli,

Richard and Jenni Moscardelli,

Charles and Debbie Moss,

Jud and Bevin Nave,

Paul and Elaine Nawiesniak,

David and Ginger Naylor,

Jessica Susong and John Newman,

Kacey Conatser and Jim Newman,

Randy and Lisa Newman,

Kim Orr,

Nathaniel Overstreet,

Steven and Laura Beth Pack,

Mark and Deborah Patton,

Chad and Jodi Pennington,

Paige Perkins,

Jennifer Perry,

Jeff and Shelly Peterson,

Matt and Betsy Pierucki,

David and Joy Pine,

state Rep. Mark Pody,

Jeff and Amanda Poling,

John and Traci Pope,

Bill and B.J. Potter,

Jim and Marsha Powell,

Eric and Deanna Purcell,

Nelson Remus,

Rusty and Kathy Richardson,

Travis and Karena Riggins,

Mike and Karen Ripski,

George and Michelle Robertson,

Ray and Amanda Robinson,

Matt and Lee Rucks,

Becky Rutherford,

Pat Santilli,

Josh and Quin Segall,

John and Mary Sergent,

Michael and Chelsea Shaw,

Stephen and Mallorie Shirley,

Miles Shoemaker,

Jeff and Brittany Simpson,

Brian and Connie Sink,

Lindsay Sircy,

Melanie Minter and Matt Sloan,

Doug and Sarah Sloane,

Chris and Lauren Smith,

Jennifer Smith,

Shawn and Lindsay Smith,

Leslie Steele,

Ryan and Krissa Stephens,

Sonny and Elysia Stover,

Paul and Cristy Stumb,

Ginny Patterson and Dan Symanski,

John and Anita Tate,

Amber Testamand,

Liz Johnson and Eric Thompson,

Price and Sarah Thompson,

Heath and Kelly Thorne, S

hane and Lisa Thorne,

Adam and Lori Tomlinson,

Jimmy and Lisa Tramel,

Charles and Chloe Tumbleston,

A.J. and Rory Vaden,

Allen and Mary Margaret Vance,

Taylor and Maggie Vandever,

Bob and Julie Vero,

Courtney Vick,

Camille Burdine and John Walden,

Bill and Caroline Walker,

Todd and Lisha Walling,

Larimore and Wendi Warren,

Richard and Margaret Watson,

Wayne and Debbie Wells,

Pete and Blair Wesler,

Miriam Whited,

Kim Van Puchnick and Richard Whitener,

Fran Howard and Bill Williams,

Derrick and Amber Wilson,

Joey and Wanda Wilson,

Ryan and Amy Wolfenbarger and

John and Melissa Wootten.

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