Miss A Columnist

Dena Miller is the Dallas Editor for Miss A. She has been described by Style Network as a "Queen Bee". Formerly a glam rock scene Diva, Dena is now a Socialite on the Dallas philanthropy scene, specializing in Polo events that benefit women's and children's causes.

While never forgetting her small town roots from a Midwestern farming community in rural Missouri, she’s fit right in the “Big D” since coming here in 1984. After 11 years of promoting the music scene, hobnobbing with the most popular bands from coast to coast, she switched gears after meeting her husband at the first Polo match she ever attended. Always one for excitement, Polo became her new rock n roll.
With her marriage and new found passion for polo, came Philanthropy. Miller founded the Ladies Polo Auxiliary of Texas in 2005 with the goal of promoting the Sport of Kings in north Texas via charity events for causes that are close to her heart. To date the LPA has raised over $500,000 for causes such as domestic violence, children with serious medical needs, therapeutic horsemanship, the Polo Training Foundation, children’s advocacy and food drives for north Texas food Bank. When not working on her own events she is attending Charity luncheons and balls as well as volunteering at golf tournaments and Special Olympics events. She is a member of the USPA Equine Welfare committee and on Board of Dress For Succes Dallas.

Writing has been a lifetime passion of Dena’s. Besides working on a book that proceeds will benefit domestic violence organizations, and writing for two national polo magazines, is a frequent contributor to Dallas area publications, winning Best Contributor Award from Dallas Morning News Neighborsgo, she is co-authoring a book on the phenomenon of cyber bullying by adult women, referred to as Cyber Harrassment.

Recap: Dallas Summer Musicals Presents The High School Music Awards At The Music Hall

Dakota Ratliff, Best Leading Actress Award winner as Audrey in Little Shop of Horrors from Ryan High School; Ron Corning, emcee, WFAA Channel 8, media sponsor; Cameron Wenrich, Best Leading Actor award winner as Frank Cioffi in Curtains, from Plano Senior High School.  Photo by Chris Waits

Dakota Ratliff, Best Leading Actress Award winner as Audrey in Little Shop of Horrors from Ryan High School; Ron Corning, emcee, WFAA Channel 8, media sponsor; Cameron Wenrich, Best Leading Actor award winner as Frank Cioffi in Curtains, from Plano Senior High School.
(Photo credit: Chris Waits)

On the evening of May 8 the Music Hall at Fair Park could have been mistaken for the Academy Awards. Hundreds of formally clad high school theater students arrived in vintage convertibles and gave red carpet interviews to awaiting press before taking their seats in a packed house for the second annual DSM High School Musical Awards Ceremony. VIP’s were treated to a private reception in The Dining Room with light hors’ d’oerves and libations to kick off the festivities, emceed by WFAA’s Ron Corning.

With 48 schools in 10 North Texas counties competing in 15 categories, how are the winners chosen? A panel of three judges from a larger pool evaluated each school’s performance. Forty-four of those judges viewed performances by the best actor and actress nominees the day before the ceremony to select those winners, whose names were kept secret until the event. Much more than just an awards program, numbers were performed by the eight schools nominated for best musical, and medleys created a bonding experience among the competitors by grouping students from different schools in the costumes of the part they were nominated for. Best actor and actress winners receive a five-day, all-expenses-paid trip to New York City this summer to study with professionals and compete in the National High School Musical Theatre Awards, also known as the Jimmy Awards at Broadway’s Minskoff Theatre on July 1.

Winner of Best Musical: Plano Senior High School, Curtains. Award accepted by Jared Fletcher; presented by Michael A. Jenkins, President and Managing Director, Dallas Summer Musicals.Photo by Chris Waits

Winner of Best Musical: Plano Senior High School, Curtains. Award accepted by Jared Fletcher; presented by Michael A. Jenkins, President and Managing Director, Dallas Summer Musicals. (Photo credit: Chris Waits)

And the winners are….
Best Featured Performer: Natalie Pasquinelli in “High School Musical” at Hockaday School/St. Mark’s School of Texas

Best Scenic Design: Plano West High School for “Sweeney Todd”

Best Lighting Design: Denton High School for “A Christmas Carol”

Best Costume Design: McKinney North High School for “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee”

Best All Student Orchestra: Berkner High School for “Bye Bye Birdie”

Best Ensemble/Chorus: McKinney North High School for “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee”

Best Crew and Technical Execution: Plano Senior High School for “Curtains”

Best Choreography/Musical Staging: Newman Smith High School for “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying”

Best Musical Direction: Waxahachie High School for “Kiss Me, Kate”

Best Direction: Waxahachie High School for “Kiss Me, Kate”

Best Supporting Actor: Baxter Pitt in “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” at McKinney North High School

Best Supporting Actress: Kaitlynn Loper in “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” at McKinney North High School

Best Leading Actor: Cameron Wenrich as Frank Cioffi in “Curtains” at Plano Senior High School

Best Leading Actress Nominee Medley (arranged by Michael Moricz) Photo by Chris Waits

Best Leading Actress Nominee Medley (arranged by Michael Moricz) (Photo credit: Chris Waits)

Best Leading Actress: Dakota Ratliff as Audrey in “Little Shop of Horrors” at Ryan High School

Best Musical: Plano Senior High School- Curtains

Seven students received $4,000 each in scholarships:
Jacob Abaraoha- Plano West
Christopher PonnersParish Episcopal
Chance Steward – Guyer
Dane Newell Sowers - Rowlett
Kimberly Yoxall – Bishop Lynch
Elizabeth Hinton – Highland Park
Paige Breese – Wakeland

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