In 2003, Peggy Fulghum, Director of Boomer/Builder Ministries at JFBC dreamed about giving a dance with Big Band music for the elderly at assisted living and nursing home communities.
“It was such a great dream. I asked Brian Hedrick, the orchestra leader at JFBC, if he would consider playing at such an event. Brian had in fact already started his Johnson Ferry Gospel Jazz Band to learn some of the music,” Fulghum said.
The Magnolia Ball was first hosted by JFBC in 2004.
“Our plan was to do (the ball) just one year, but when the orchestra saw how much the music delighted the folks they asked to continue it the following year,” she said.
More than 200 hundred people came to tap toes, sway and dance to the music on Oct. 7. Although many guests live at home some came from Sterling Estates Assisted Living, Sunrise of East Cobb, Arbor Terrace, Elmcroft, Chambrell, Jewish Towers, Zaban Assisted Living and Atria.
More than 150 volunteers decorated, prepared food, hosted tables, danced and assisted. Guests were offered the opportunity to have their picture professionally taken as a gift. In addition, ladies from the church hand-crocheted coasters as a memento of the ball.
“We do (the ball) as a gift to the community. When you see the faces light up with the memories the music brings to their hearts, it brings greater joy to those who give the gift. It is one of the highlights of our year,” she said.
During the intermission, JFBC fulfilled the dreams of some of the seniors attending. They arranged for one lady to fly a plane at Peachtree DeKalb airport; another met Sid Bream of the Atlanta Braves; and another will be treated to a performance at the Fox Theater.
“Memories are important to everyone but so are dreams,” she said. “There is a special warm touch when you see someone reminded that their dreams are important to others.
“For those of us fortunate to have our parents at the Magnolia Ball, we enjoy the memories of watching them joyously carried away by the music of their youth. For that matter, all of us are carried away by the 18-piece jazz band,” she said.
JFBC is located in east Cobb at 955 Johnson Ferry Road in Marietta. Call (770) 973-6561 for more information.