Where can you find 2,000 high school sophomores, juniors and seniors in party dresses, cowboy boots and Texas tuxedos? The answer: Junior Symphony Ball (otherwise known as JSB). In its 64th year, JSB took place on Saturday, Jan. 29 from 7:30p.m. to 11:30p.m. at Gilley’s Dallas with the theme “State of the Arts”!
JSB is the largest and longest-running junior ball in the country, proving everything is bigger and better in Texas. Founded by the Dallas Symphony Orchestra League (DSOL), this event is a “purpose with a party” and is the DSOL’s largest fundraiser for music education and outreach for underprivileged children throughout Dallas. Last year, the co-chairs presented a check to the DSOL for $238,456, which is the largest check presented to the DSOL in JSB history.
These funds provide critical arts education programs for many students who would not otherwise be introduced to an instrument, attend a performance or even become an artist.
For example, one of the programs is the DSO Young Strings, which provides free instruments and music lessons to students in South Dallas through summer camps and after-school programming.
The students participate in classes on their chosen instrument, as well as ensembles, drum circle and choir, with a curriculum that includes social and emotional learning. The students that participate in this program have a high school graduation rate of 100% compared to their peers that do not participate in the program, who have a high school graduation rate of 68%.
Research suggests participating in music education can result in higher standardized test scores, larger vocabulary, and critical thinking skills.
The popular artist Jewel said, “Some people think music education is a privilege, but I think it’s essential to being human.”
This year’s JSB co-chairs are James Click (ESD), Peyton Plumlee (Parish), Ava Haberer (Highland Park), Nicholas Koch (St. Marks), Anne Rubi (Hockaday), Cade Jordan (Jesuit) and Caroline Syler ‘22 (Ursuline).
The co-chairs recruit students from 35 DFW high schools including Ursuline, Jesuit, Episcopal School of Dallas, Highland Park, Hockaday, Greenhill, Cistercian, St. Mark’s, John Paul II and several more to become members of the Steering Committee and sell tickets to their fellow students.
Steering Committee members can become a grade level representative for their school and lead communications with their fellow classmates to encourage participation.
Members of the Steering Committee also earn service hours by participating in food drives, ushering at youth concerts and helping prepare for JSB.
Additionally, JSB ticket prices range from $125 to $325. A ticket that costs $325 includes Steering Committee membership, an Underwriting ticket and parents’ DSOL Membership. General admission tickets are $125 but may increase in value if you purchase them last-minute.
While seemingly expensive for a high school event ticket, every penny makes a difference. In 2021, Ursuline showed off its Serviam spirit by having the highest number of ticket sales.
Going to JSB does not require a date. Most attend with friend groups, giving them the opportunity to meet new people from other schools. JSB takes place at Gilley’s with a live music performance, DJ, casino games, raffle prizes, dancing and keepsake photos with Flash Photography.
Some of the JSB attendees participate in underwriting parties where additional funds are raised by their group. To celebrate, the group gathers for a pre-party with a catered dinner, photographer and bus transportation to JSB.
Many Dallas businesses also get involved to support the arts through JSB. The 2022 sponsors include Highland Park Village, Mr. Tuxedo, M Crowd Restaurant Group, Platinum Homes by Mark Molthan, Ben E. Keith, Carol Vig Photography, Arthur James Creative, Art Studio and Lab Man and Gilley’s Dallas.
This Dallas tradition brings together thousands of students to collaborate and celebrate the arts. There is no better “purpose with a party.”