Written by Phil Cerroni
By Alice Canham
Six lovely and accomplished women ‘of a certain age’ competed for the title of Ms. Mature Irving 2012 on Oct. 5. And in this, the 30th year of the pageant, taking the title was no easy victory.
Claiming the crown was Kay Frances Waters who said she was participating because, “I am outgoing and young at heart, and I want to represent Irving.”
Jo Dee Reinig won the First Runner Up title, and Patricia Louise Petell was named Ms. Congeniality. Other contestants were Jane W. Smith, Gayre Fay King and Josephine Dunn.
To open the pageantry, Italianate scenery adorned the stage of Irving Arts Center’s Carpenter Hall as several past Ms. Mature Irving winners danced gracefully in the piece ‘Golden Venus’ choreographed by Dolly Salas. Later in the program the I Colori Italian Dance Group showed verve and energy, their steps and costumes displaying their pride of heritage.
Ms. Mature Irving 2011, Mary Little, was cheered as she repeated her winning performance of a workout routine in a rap style. And 90-year old Vivian Kleinwachter, Ms. Mature Irving 1990 was on hand to perform, most unexpectedly, on roller skates.
But it was the talents and composure of this year’s competitors that truly distinguished the event. Jane Smith quietly recited a poem she had written for her father, with great poignancy. Patricia (“Trish’) Petell brought new life to Kool and the Gang’s hit ‘Celebrate’ as she danced original choreography. Gayre Fay King showed her kicky country side, dancing to Dolly Parton’s ‘Nine To Five’, complete with stage props and lip synch. Attired in an attractive muu-muu, Josephine Dunn interpreted the grace and significance of hula dancing to ‘Blue Hawai’i’. And Jo Dee Reinig had the crowd in stitches as she told the story of all the famous people she had accidentally met. Think ‘Andy Griffith’ but in a skirt.
Winner Kay Frances Waters was a crowd favorite, displaying a voice of great warmth, quality and accuracy as she sang ‘What the World Needs Now’, a capella.
And no pageant would be complete without a glittering lineup of dignitaries and special guests. The Supervisor of the Heritage Senior Center, Ann Gillespie, played a key role in announcing the judges and judging criteria. Ms. Senior Texas Classic 2012, Nancy Bolton, narrated the formalwear competition and Coucilman Michael Gallaway honored contestants past and present.
Doug McAlister was on hand as emcee and also performed, while the Russ Dorsey Band kept the evening moving at a lively pace. Refreshments were provided by students in the culinary program of Irving’s Jack Singley Academy.