On Wednesday afternoon, Lynn Ramey led a group of young women through a series of stretches before getting down to business.
“Your body needs to be loose and flexible,” she told the college-age women gathered in her Dance N Drill studio in Tyler. “Why? Because you will be performing. It is a performance, it is not just modeling a costume.”
Ramey, the director of the studio, was working with Texas Rose Festival Rose Queen Hanna Claire Waits, Princess Elizabeth Ann Schoenbrun, Duchess of the Rose Growers Alexis Renee Smith and the ladies-in-waiting from Tyler families on how to stand and move gracefully during the Queen’s Coronation performances this fall.
Ramey, who has been serving in this role for years, creates a bow for court members based on the character they will portray.
The theme of the festival is “Portraits of Inspiration,” and during the ceremony the ladies-in-waiting will represent glamorous women from Hollywood’s golden era. The duchesses will represent inspirational women throughout history.
Each court member will have about two minutes on the stage at the University of Texas at Tyler’s Cowan Center during which they will be presented to music. The coronation is one of the highlights of the festival that also includes the Rose Show, Queen’s Tea and a parade.
Betsy Jenkins and Amber Abell, the coronation co-chairs, said before the rehearsal that it would be the first time the women will hear the music that will play while they are onstage.
They said they worked hard to find the perfect piece of music to complement’s each court member’s character.
Before the week is over, Ramey also will work with the women from out-of-town families who will be presented as duchesses and the children who will be the rose queen’s attendants onstage.
Earlier in the day, Tyler court members and women whose families were instrumental in the success of the area’s rose industry gathered at Willow Brook Country Club for the Everything Is Coming Up Roses luncheon.
“The Friends of the Rose was organized in 1991 to foster enthusiasm for rose, the Texas Rose Festival and those individuals whose labor and vision made this celebration a true Tyler tradition,” said Lori Brooks Carver, who served as the Duchess of the Rose Growers in 1991, in welcoming all to the luncheon.
“Our mothers and grandmothers wanted to honor our court with a luncheon and it began a tradition that continues today,” she said.
The luncheon included a style show by Mary V’s and the presentation of gifts to court members.
Summer rehearsal week also serves as a time for court members and their families to get to know one another better before the festival on Oct. 17-20. The week culminates on Friday with a rose season Kick-Off Party.