DSO Heroes Gala: Honoring John A. & Marlene L. Boll

This profile first appeared in the Detroit Symphony Orchestra Heroes Gala program.

Marlene has the kind of laugh you recognize across the room; John is quick with a joke. Together, John and Marlene Boll genuinely love people. But their success story doesn’t start in marbled halls. Theirs begins modestly, like a fairy tale.

The child of Dutch immigrants, John Boll was an Army corporal stationed at Fort Bragg, N.C., when he and his friends encountered five Roxy Theatre dancers who needed a ride. John obliged. As a thank you, the girls offered the guys tickets to the show later that evening. And like Prince Charming announcing his presence to his future princess, John waved a white handkerchief from his seat in the audience to let his future princess know he was there.

Marlene Boll’s desire to dance budded when she was just 5-years-old. So she wasn’t going to be sidelined by marriage to this medical student from Columbia, S.C. (At least that’s what the guys had told the dancers they were when they met.) Soon Marlene’s Roxy Theatre troupe performed on “The Ed Sullivan Show.” Not long afterward, she became one of the renowned, high-kicking Radio City Music Hall Rockettes training long hours and performing several shows a day.

Two years into their relationship, John realized he couldn’t carry on his deception if he wanted Marlene to marry him.

Read the full story here.