Eliza Rounds crowned Apple Blossom Queen

The contestants, escorts, and future cotillionaires open the evening with a group dance to “Who You Gonna Call?” Photo by Shawntae Stillwell.

SPRINGFIELD, Vt. – The 62nd Apple Blossom Cotillion, held on May 5 and 6, featured 13 contestants and their escorts, and a record 25 future cotillionaire couples. This year’s theme, On the Big Screen, called back to beloved movie soundtracks such as “Ghost Busters” and “Star Wars,” as well as recent films such as “Moana” and “Kung Fu Panda,” with choreography by the new director Madison Moreau.

The contestants, and their young companions, were radiant and graceful in their pale yellow gowns, reminiscent to Belle’s gown in the classic Disney film “Beauty and the Beast.” The male escorts were dashing and charismatic in their tuxedos. Their first dance, featuring all 76 participants, energized the room as they stomped and bounced in a circle around the floor to the theme from “Ghost Busters.”

The contestants and their escorts were each introduced by Master of Ceremonies, Larry Kraft. The escorts led each of their partners to the middle of the floor on their arm where the contestant took a graceful turn and curtsied with a gentle smile. The couples then spun around the floor, waltzing to “Beauty and the Beast.”

Throughout the night there were several fun dances to watch including the contestants’ women-power anthem from “Wonder Woman,” and their escorts’ ragtag rendition of “Pirates of the Caribbean.” The future contillionaires also had their time in the limelight as they danced to “Spider Man.” The evening came together with one last dance from all participants as the girls used “the Force” against the boys to the theme from “Star Wars” that ended in a light saber battle in the dark.

Everyone gathers for a dance together. Photo by Shawntae Stillwell.

The most anticipated part of the evening was the crowning of the new Apple Blossom Queen. As tradition, the judges aren’t revealed to the contestants or each other until the interview segment of the Cotillion. While audience members may have noticed the judges exit the gymnasium halfway through Saturday’s performance, they weren’t formally introduced until after their decisions had been made. The tradition is also that at least one returning judge and one previous Apple Blossom Queen should be on the panel. This year’s judges were Roxanne Schroeder Arce, 1990 Apple Blossom Queen and associate professor of theatre at the University of Texas; Cindy Putorti, fourth time returning judge and producer of high school theatrical productions; Marilee Spanjian, returning judge and owner of the Inn of Weathersfield; Brooke Spanjian, returning judge and publicist for fashion and lifestyle in Boston and New York City; and Christine Saplin, community theater director for children.

2017 Apple Blossom Queen, Katherine Moulton, crowns Eliza Rounds. Photo by Shawntae Stillwell.

The judges selected a queen with a system that includes scores based on the interviews Saturday morning – for poise, appearance, conversational ability, and personality. Two-thirds of the score is based on the girls’ presentation for the evening, including poise, appearance, presentation, and performance.

At the Friday, May 5 performance, Director’s Choice awards were presented to Kylee Charest and Hayden Morancy. During the May 6 performance, members from the 2017 Apple Blossom Court handed out the bouquets, sashes, and prizes to the court members, and Mrs. and Mr. Congeniality. This year’s Mrs. and Mr. Congeniality – an award voted on by the contestants – were Laura Wentworth and Owen Kelley. The court was then awarded to Sofia Gulick, accompanied by Alan Aldrich; Laura Wentworth, accompanied by Gabe Considine; Alyssa Ellison, accompanied by Ethan Bertone; and Gillian Guy, accompanied by John Stafford Jr.

Finally, the 2017 Apple Blossom Queen, Katherine Moulton handed the crown to the 2018 Apple Blossom Queen, Eliza Rounds, who was accompanied by Hayden Morancy. The newly crowned queen then presented herself to the audience with a final curtsy, a beautiful close of the evening’s events.

Eliza Rounds, newly crowned Apple Blossom Queen, takes her final curtsy, surrounded by her court. Photo by Shawntae Stillwell.

The Apple Blossom Cotillion is an annual fundraiser for the Springfield Hospital. Ticket sales and sponsorships benefit projects of the hospital as well as health care career scholarships.

Director of Development, Larry Kraft, said, “Every year, I am amazed by the interest and enthusiasm for the Apple Blossom Cotillion – by its participants and the audience. It both reflects and builds our community. Springfield Hospital is proud to carry on this tradition.”

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