Sequins, lace, satin and glitter filled the Robert Brown Theatre stage Oct. 28 at Cowley College as another Queen Alalah Coronation took place.
At the end of the night, Morgan Bruce, of Arkansas City, took her royal position as Queen Alalah LXXXV, just as her cousins, Jordan and Madison McDowell, had in years past. Bruce was crowned by last year’s queen, Maranda Oak.
At Cowley, Bruce is involved in the Cowley Activity Awareness Team and is a student ambassador.
Away from Cowley, the pre-dentistry major stays busy working three jobs. She is employed at Rogers Family Dentistry, and serves as a nanny for Drs. Scott and Nicole Rogers, while also working at an area law office.
She also has been involved with Big Brothers Big Sisters for the past four years and volunteers with the Awana program at First Baptist Church.
Bruce is the daughter of Phillip and Michelle Bruce, of Arkansas City.
Bruce earning her scepter
When the ceremony began, it seemed there was no clear-cut favorite.
The Queen Alalah candidates and the visiting queens danced gracefully with their scepters to “Princess Charming.”
Each flashed pearly-white smiles as they executed choreography moves learned just this week.
Dr. David Ross, this year’s Coronation master of ceremonies, made his stage debut on a rolling throne dais.
He introduced each of the queen candidates — Bruce, Peyton Adams, Peyton Cravens, Stephanie Cabrera and Kyndal Dutton.
Uplifting spirit of Arkalalah
Ross took a moment to share some sobering memories of Arkalalah.
He said that as a child, he spent one Arkalalah in fear of nuclear war during the Cuban missile crisis.
The uplifting spirit of Arkalalah abated his fears — “Somehow, I just felt better,” he said.
In an effort to do the same for those at Coronation, he led the room in “My Country ’Tis of Thee,” followed by “Home on the Range.”
The room followed Ross, singing quietly the words that offered nostalgic, patriotic serenity.
The Little Miss and Mister candidates then took the stage. Jordan Callison, son of Jesse and Abby Callison, was named Little Mr. Arkalalah and Emi Jane Trenary, daughter of Jeffery and Rabia Trenary, was selected as Little Miss Arkalalah.
Each of the Queen Alalah candidates took turns sharing a short video featuring her life and goals with the audience.
The girls shared memories of their childhoods and family, as well. Then each was required to answer a “secret question.”
The candidates were asked to come up with one thing they would change in the world, if they had the ability to wave a magic wand and change that one thing in today’s society:
- Adams said she would get rid of the segregation of people.
- Bruce said she would change the minds of people to understand how important volunteering is.
- Cabrera said she would want everyone to look at everyone the same way and treat everyone with respect.
- Cravens said she would cure cancer.
- Dutton said she would cure all illnesses.
Cabrera, another Ark City native, was the first runner-up. Oak was on hand to pass her crown onto Bruce.
Coronation also featured performances by Bill VandeGiessen, Emily Lawson and Austin Sherman — all participants in Cowley College’s upcoming theater department production of “Once Upon a Mattress” — as well as numbers by Ark City Dance and the Ark High Singers.
Otis Morrow was introduced as Grand Marshal of the 85th annual Arkalalah Festival by Arkalalah Executive Committee chair Michael Morgan.
Morrow and Ross joked about their ages and the differences between their chosen professions.
Morrow then thanked his wife, Terri, for all the years they have shared.
The 2016 visiting queens were:
- Miss Arkansas City — Halle Bucher;
- Miss Ashton — Chaundra Alford;
- Miss Atlanta — Summer Long;
- Miss Braman — Riley Emerson;
- Miss Cambridge — Mirriah Wallingford;
- Miss Cedar Vale — Julianne Ridgeway;
- Miss Dexter — Brynn Perrigo;
- Miss Gueda Springs — Hope Becker;
- Miss Grenola — Allison Wolfe;
- Miss Hunnewell — Jennifer Grado-Leon;
- Miss Moline — Robyn Bennett;
- Miss Newkirk — Shalee Asche;
- Miss Otto — Mackenzie Galasse;
- Miss Oxford — Saige Sloan;
- Miss Parkerfield — Kaitlyn Taylor;
- Miss Peckham — Elizabeth Ratliff;
- Miss Rock — Lexi Sanborn;
- Miss South Haven — Shianne Howell;
- Miss Winfield — Morgan Otte.