INDEPENDENCE, Ohio – The Plast sororities Buryverchy and Shostokryli hosted their debutante ball at the Holiday Inn – Cleveland South, in Independence, Ohio, on February 18. This year, five young women, all in their lovely white gowns and accompanied by their escorts, were presented to Cleveland’s Ukrainian community before a packed ballroom. The evening began as emcees Maria Zachary Kyffin (of the Buryverchy) and Taissa Zappernick (of the Shostokryli) presented the debutantes as they walked in, listing each one’s many accomplishments. Approximately 300 dinner guests, some from as far away as Arkansas and Ontario, watched as each debutante walked to center stage on the arm of her father to take the traditional bow before many family members, friends and guests. Following the presentation, the debutantes and their escorts danced to a beautifully choreographed waltz arranged by Andrea Komichak Mural (a member of Plast’s Kniahyni sorority).
PEARL RIVER, N.Y. – On February 11, over 400 members of the Ukrainian American community welcomed into society 14 young women from the New York metro area and capital region at the Chervona Kalyna Cotillion Ball held at the elegant Hilton Pearl River in Pearl River, N.Y.
The ball, known as “Vechornytsi,” is a tradition established in 1951 in New York City by members of the Ukrainian Sich Riflemen and military veterans who, upon emigrating to the U.S., revived the Lviv society balls of the 1920s and 1930s. Today, one of the main attractions of the ball is the presentation of debutantes, a custom begun with an impromptu introduction of young ladies in 1959. This year’s debutantes were a group of exceptional high school juniors and seniors. They distinguish themselves academically and athletically, participate in many extracurricular activities, and give their time as volunteers and leaders in their respective communities. Most of their escorts hailed from the New York region as well, with several from as far away as Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and Maryland.
WHIPPANY, N.J. – On January 21, the Parents’ Association of the Newark branch of Plast Ukrainian Scouting Organization sponsored its annual debutante ball at the Hanover Marriot in Whippany, N.J. The debutante ball is a traditional event at which each debutante is formally presented to the community as a young lady. Nata Voronka Bilash and Borislaw Bilash, who served as this year’s masters of ceremonies, formally opened the event by welcoming the debutantes, their families and guests. After being formally introduced, each debutante was welcomed by guests as she was escorted through the center of the ballroom. This year’s debutantes included young ladies from the Newark branch of Plast, which is based in Whippany, and South Bound Brook, N.J.: Melanie Anne Boychuk (escorted by Ross Kujdych), Deanna Hanchuk (Danylo Duvalko), Adriana Hirniak (Max Chuma), Romana Hladky (Mykyta Duvalko), Sophia Hodowanec (Mark Kachai), Viktoriya Ivanyshyn (Danilo Kyzyk), Anna Kosachevich (Alexander Komarynsky), Juliana Orysia Ivanka Paslawsky (Matthew Bach), Julia Pavlyuk (Zack Firko), and Christine Starozytnyk (Darko Borsa). In their flowing white gowns, the debutantes danced gracefully with their escorts to a newly choreographed arrangement assembled by Natalia and Andriy Cybyk.
PHILADELPHIA – The 63rd annual Engineers’ Banquet and Ball, with presentation of debutantes, sponsored by the Ukrainian Engineers’ Society of America, Philadelphia Chapter, took place on February 4 in the elegant Grand Ballroom of the Hyatt Hotel at the Bellevue in Philadelphia. This gala event was, by all measures, a tremendous success. There were nearly 550 guests at the banquet, and a total of over 850 attended the ball. The Bellevue Grand Ballroom was full to overflowing, and a second ballroom was opened to accommodate all the guests. Archbishop Stefan Soroka, metropolitan of Ukrainian Catholics in the U.S.A., opened the gala with a prayer for Ukraine and his blessing.
PARSIPPANY, N.J. – On February 25, the Ukrainian American Youth Association (UAYA, also known by the acronym CYM) held its 53rd annual debutante ball at the Sheraton hotel in Parsippany, N.J. The ball marked the societal debut for 15 young women. This year’s group of women came from all over the tri-state area to be presented to a ballroom full of family, friends, UAYA members and other guests. The UAYA Debutante Ball, held under the auspices of the organization’s National Executive Board, is a longstanding tradition among UAYA members of the Northeast. The event has its roots in European court custom and was adopted in the mid-20th century by Ukrainian American diaspora organizations. This year’s debutantes joined the ranks of over 800 young women who were ceremonially presented in this rite of passage.
CHICAGO – The American Ukrainian Youth Association (known by the Ukrainian acronym CYM), Mykola Pavlushkov Branch in Chicago. hosted its annual New Year’s ball, or Malanka, on January 14 at the Drury Lane Theater and Conference Center. Guests arrived at 6 p.m. for cocktails and hors d’oeuvres in the foyer of the Grand Ballroom. Friends and family gathered to celebrate the New Year and greeted each other throughout the hour. Andrij Luczak Glubisz, master of ceremonies, opened the evening by welcoming and greeting over 700 guests, as well as encouraging the youth to be active and engaged members in the AUYA and to continue the work of their parents and grandparents.
PEARL RIVER, N.Y. – On Saturday, January 30, here in the elegantly appointed main ballroom of the Hilton Pearl River Hotel, more than 400 guests gathered for the annual Chervona Kalyna Cotillion Ball. The atmosphere was happy and full of excitement for one of the most anticipated debutante balls of the season. The Chervona Kalyna Cotillion Ball or “Vechornytsi,” a tradition now in its 65th year, was established in New York City by members of the Ukrainian Sich Riflemen and military veterans who, upon emigrating to the U.S., revived their society charity balls of 1920s and 1930s Lviv. Today, one of the main attractions of the Vechornytsi is the presentation of debutantes, a custom begun with an impromptu introduction of young ladies in 1959. And so it was this year, nearly six decades later, that the Ukrainian American community welcomed into its society 13 debutantes from Hempstead, Yonkers and Manhattan, N.Y., and Hartford, Conn.
PHILADELPHIA – The 62nd annual ball with presentation of debutantes sponsored by the Ukrainian Engineers’ Society of America, Philadelphia Chapter, took place on Saturday, February 13, in the Grand Ballroom of the Hilton Philadelphia Hotel at Penn’s Landing, on the banks of the Delaware River. The ball was initially scheduled for January 23, but had to be postponed due to the severe blizzard that shut down the northeastern U.S.
It was fortunate that all the details remained the same: the hotel and the orchestra were available for the postponed date. A dispensation was received from the Ukrainian Catholic Archeparchy, since the new date was after the beginning of Lent according to the Gregorian calendar. The ball was a great success despite the postponement. There were three debutantes: Deanna Collette Fedyk with escort Peter Kondrat, Nina Victoria Fedyk with escort Alexander Dale and Kaitlyn Marie Flynn with escort Orest Koznarskyy.
CHICAGO – The American Ukrainian Youth Association Mykola Pavlushkov Branch in Chicago hosted its annual New Year’s Ball, or “Malanka,” on January 16 at Drury Lane in Oak Brook, Ill. Guests arrived at 6 p.m. for cocktails and hors d’oeuvres in the foyer of the Chicago Ballroom. Friends and family gathered to celebrate the New Year and greeted each other throughout the hour. Vasyl Ilchyshyn, master of ceremonies, opened the evening by welcoming and greeting the 650 plus guests present. The highlight of the evening was the presentation of 17 lovely debutantes from both the Chicago and Palatine branches of the youth association.
CHICAGO – The Illinois Branch of the Ukrainian Medical Association of North America (UMANA-Illinois) hosted its 55th traditional annual Banquet and Charity Ball with Presentation of Debutantes on January 23 at Chicago’s historic Palmer House in the heart of the downtown “Loop” area. While the East Coast was caught in the midst of a paralyzing snowstorm, the Midwest was spared nature’s wrath. Although several guests were unable to attend, luckily, out-of-town debutantes and their escorts had arrived days earlier. Planning and preparation for this annual event began months ago leading to a memorable and successful event for all. Back in November, the debutantes attended a mother-daughter luncheon, where they began planning the details of their debut.