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

Davies Center transforms into 19th-century Vienna for ball

Anna Nelson

It’s Sunday morning and members of the Viennese Ball committee are munching on doughnuts and coffee while transforming the Davies Center from 19th-century Vienna back to the student center most would recognize.

The 27th annual Viennese Ball attracted about 1,250 students, faculty and community members to campus on both Friday and Saturday nights. The formal event relives the cultural and musical heritage of 19th-century Vienna, highlighting the university’s musical groups such as BASSically Brass, The Singing Statesmen and many individual musicians.

“It was really an excellent ball,” said Beverly Soll, who’s in her second year as executive director of the Viennese Ball. “And it was much easier this year.”

Susan Massie, a 1980 UW-Eau Claire graduate who now lives in the Twin Cities, came back to attend the ball Friday for her sixth time.

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“The ball has such a nice atmosphere,” she said. “There’s nothing like it in the Cities.”

Students on the ball’s committee had a tremendous amount of input this year, Soll said, adding that because the sharing of duties was equal between them and faculty and committee members, setting up went a lot easier this year.

“I loved the interaction with the committee this year,” Soll said. “There was so much excitement among the group.”

With so many people in Davies Center at once, Soll said the committee makes sure to have enough interest areas to spread out the groups of patrons.

Having multiple entrances to the ball was added this year to help with the distribution of patrons, she said.

Junior Matt Steiner, senior Steve Clarke and freshman Anne Verbeten attended the ball as part of the musical groups The Singing Statesmen, Fifth Element and Concert Choir.

“I love coming here,” said Steiner, who was attending for the third time. “No other universities put on an event like this.”

Proceeds from the Viennese Ball provide music scholarships and international study awards for UW-Eau Claire students.

An added feature to this year’s ball was a performance schedule card with a map of how to get to different areas of the event. Soll said they will do this next year again because it made it easier for people to get where they wanted to go.

People who helped with the event included students, staff and custodians, all of whom helped the event run smoothly.

“They were all phenomenally cooperative people to work with,” Soll said.

There was an even mix of students and community members at the event each night, Soll said, adding that she thought Saturday night seemed a little more boisterous than Friday night.

“The crowd was basically the same,” Soll said. “I think it was just Saturday night fever.”

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Davies Center transforms into 19th-century Vienna for ball