Dressed to the nines despite the tumultuous downpour, ball-goers donned sparkling gowns and dapper tuxedos as they enjoyed a fabulous sit-down dinner courtesy of Jerry Tyson.
Inspiring everyone to get up and dance, “The Midnighters”, a six-piece Soul band from Muscle Shoals, Ala. transported guests back to 60s and 70s through music from noted entertainers like the Emperors of Soul – “The Temptations”. The fun dance band then brought listeners into the 80s and 90s with favorites from celebrated artists like Michael Jackson and Prince.
Moved to the point of great emotion, long-time educator Barbara Trapp humbly accepted her award as J.A.’s 2017 Outstanding Citizen of the Year.
“I’m hardly ever without words, some of you will know that from the 45 to 50 minutes you spent with me in class each day,” said a tearful Trapp. “I am flabbergasted and honored to receive this award, but I don’t deserve it. I have been privileged to get to do what I love for all these years.”
Described by her friends, family, colleagues and students as a tireless, selfless individual with a huge heart for others, Trapp received as standing ovation as she was praised for going above and beyond to help others both in her classroom and her community.
Complete with a whimsical photo booth courtesy of Bill’s Images by Photographer Bill Avery, attendees had the option to choose four different backdrops for their photographic memories with a portion of the proceeds going to benefit J.A.
Jonathan and Ashley Rider, owners of Crossroads Limousine, were on hand to ensure that attendees were able to indulge and enjoy their night responsibly.
“We are so thankful that this year’s ball sold out,” said Charity Ball Chair Marley Ashe. “Thanks to the generosity of our patrons and community, we were able to help clothe over 300 school children this past year and award 13 scholarships to deserving local students pursuing college and post graduate degrees.”
Chosen through a random drawing from among the 2017 Living Ads, Corinth High School Senior Leah Manus was awarded a $1,000 J.A. scholarship to help further her education. The announcement was made following the presentation of the Living Ads which was emcee’d by Bill and Karen Terry.
Edi Williams was announced as the winner of the Yeti Hopper 30 Soft-side Cooler while Corey Jones got to take home his choice of one of three firearms from the raffle.
In addition to providing scholarships and clothing for school children, guests at this year’s “In the City” themed New Year’s Eve ball also contributed to the purchase of blankets and sleepers for over two hundred babies born at Magnolia Regional Health Center to needy families as well as countless hours of support and educational activities for hundreds of local children.
“Thank you for your generosity,” said Ashe. “We are honored, thankful and overwhelmed by the support the community has shown. Some were skeptical about mixing it up this year, but we’ve gotten some really positive feedback from those who attended and feel like it helped our local businesses at what is normally a slow time of year for most.”
“Not only did the date change help put money back into our community through our local businesses, but it also made quite an impression upon guests. “Many have asked our Charity Ball Co-Chair Michelle Brooks to consider keeping in on New Year’s Eve when she is chair next year.”
Featuring tall arrangements of hydrangeas and glittering gold branches by Ashley Grimes, the upstairs banquet room of the Shiloh Ridge Athletic Club was cast in an ambient glow with a mix of glitter and mercury glass votives. Two impressive city skyline silhouettes built by Landon Ashe served as stunning focal points.
Keeping it simple, yet elegant, the ladies of J.A. took a less-is-more approach when it came to this year’s decorations, adding a few unexpected touches and the glitter and sparkle visitors would expect from a New Year’s Eve bash “In the City”.
Tuning into the “Big Apple” ten minutes prior to the New Year’s Eve countdown, a big screen streamed the festivities live from New York City’s iconic Time Square as a million or so revellers gathered on the streets to watch the traditional ball drop.
Mouthing the words to “Auld Lang Syne”, guests clinked their champagne flutes for a special midnight toast and exchanged celebratory kisses with loved ones before heading to the patio to enjoy the dazzling pyrotechnics as the “Midnighters” played one last song to cap the night.
“It was the perfect night,” said Ashe. “We couldn’t have asked for a better outcome.”