The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

UWEC celebrates 49th annual Viennese Ball

Austrian-inspired event showcases music and theatre department students
Attendees from the 48th Viennese Ball dance to the “Thunder and Lightning Polka” composed by Johann Strauss II.

For two nights a year, Davies Student Center is transformed into an homage to the historic Kaiser Ball in Vienna, Austria. The 49th annual Viennese Ball will be held on Friday, April 5 and Saturday, April 6 to celebrate and support student scholarship within the music and theatre arts department at UW-Eau Claire.

The idea for the Viennese Ball began over fifty years ago when Eau Claire community member Ada Bors moved to Boennigheim, Germany in 1970. During her time in Germany, Bors visited and was inspired by the music and local culture in European cities Berlin, Munich, Prague and, of course, Vienna.

When Bors returned to Eau Claire, she and community member Barbara Pautz proposed the idea of hosting a Viennese Ball at UW-Eau Claire to Chancellor Leonard Haas. Bors and Pautz co-chaired the original planning committee and the ball featured the University Symphony Orchestra, which Bors was a part of.

The inaugural Viennese Ball was held on Friday, April 26, 1974 with 668 students, community members and staff members in attendance. The first ball raised $1500 for Viennese Ball Music Scholarships and now Nick Phillips, the music and theatre arts department chair and a piano faculty member, said the revenue and donations raised from the Viennese Ball still fund department scholarships.

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“Anyone that attends the ball will see the level of students that we have here in our department performing,” Phillips said. “It is a significant portion of the scholarship dollars that we’re able to give to attract incoming students and also to reward continuing students.”

Over $1.5 million in scholarships have been raised since the first Viennese Ball, Phillips said, with over $30,000 raised during last year’s Viennese Ball alone. At the 49th ball, 16 students will be honored with awards for their achievements and dedication to the music and theatre arts department.

2024 Viennese Ball Scholarship Recipients

Senior Music and Theatre Arts Awards

Emily Afdahl

Jordan Bauer

McKenna Girdeen

Brendan Rohloff

Aleah Vincent

Quinn Wilson

Ada Bors Music Service Award

Ashleigh Madsen

Noble Statesmen Awards

Emmett McMorrow

Garrett O’Keefe

Karen G. Stuber Service Awards

Madison Bohl

Jackie Domin

Grant Hesslink

Olivia Newton

Ciara Pearson

Wilhelm & Ingrid Brauner Award

Aaron Fraser

From musical performances to Austrian delicacies, Phillips said there is something for everyone to enjoy at the Viennese Ball.

“Usually I only go one of the two nights when I’ve gone in the past and there’s so much happening that you just really can’t see it all,” Phillips said. “I’m looking forward now in my role as chair in being able to get to as many events as possible over the two nights.”

The doors to Davies will open at 6:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, and the opening ceremony will be held at 7 p.m. in the Ojibwe Ballroom with performances by the Women’s Concert Chorale and The Singing Statesmen. Phillips said around 300 students, faculty members and local musicians will be performing.

Davies Marketplace will be transformed into the Zum Goldenen Löwen Festsaal (Golden Lion Festival Room), with performances by the trombone ensemble, Callisto A Cappella, The Innocent Men, Fifth Element, Impromptu A Cappella, Audacious and Dorf Kapelle.

The Dulaney Inn will become the Nordwälder Gasthaus (North Forest Inn) with Austrian and German buffet-style dinner and tableside beverage service available by reservation.

The woodwind faculty, Student Woodwind Quintet, guitar students and Student Wind Chamber will be performing in Zur Eiche (The Cabin).

The Blugold Living Room on the second floor of Davies will serve as Die Bierstube (the beer room) from 6:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. with German and Viennese beers served by local breweries K-Point Brewing, The Brewing Projekt and Chippewa River Distillery & Brewster Bros. Brewing Co.

K-Point Brewing’s Vienna Lager and The Brewing Projekt’s Golden Toast brews were specifically made for the 49th Viennese Ball.

The Ojibwe Ballroom will become the Zeremoniensaal (Ceremonial Room), and after the opening ceremony, there will be performances by dance students, the University Symphony Orchestra and Jazz Ensemble I. The Dakota Ballroom will have performances by the Voice Faculty Quartet and musical theatre students.

The Woodland Theater will become the Bösendorfer Salon and Burgtheater with performances by the Student Wind Chamber, student pianists on the Bösendorfer Imperial Grand Piano, student vocalists and the Student Saxophone Quartet.

Trinity Regnaud, a first-year vocal performance student, will be performing a German Lied both nights in Burgtheater. Regnaud said German Lieder is a genre of German-language art song for voice and piano that is associated with the 19th century and the Romantic Era.

“Lots of people are prepping and getting ready to perform this weekend,” Regnaud said. “I’m so excited to see the finished product and support my friends and fellow musicians and performers.”

Tickets for the 49th Viennese Ball are available at

Kasper can be reached at [email protected].

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