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

Let’s have a ball

The first time alcohol was allowed on a UW campus was in 1973 at the first Viennese Ball in Eau Claire — with, of course, a request from the Ball Committee, said Jennifer Brockpahler, Artistic Director of the event.

“An important part of the ball has always been the excellent university-community-international relations it promotes,” Assistant Director for Event Services Karen Stuber said.
Ada Bors, she said, was a community member of the University Symphony Orchestra who visited Vienna, Austria and attended one of their Viennese-style balls. Wanting to bring that experience back with her, Stuber said, Bors asked resident Barber Pautz of Eau Claire to propose an for the university’s own Viennese-type ball.

Chancellor at the time Leonard Hass and Conductor of the University Symphony Orchestra Dr. Rupert Hohmann both wholeheartedly approved of the idea, she said. Today, the annual event hosts more than 3,000 guests over a two day period. Austrian officials have even recognized it as the largest ball in the world outside of Vienna itself, she said.

This year, the event will feature the UWEC Players posing as living statues, as well as performances by the Singing Statesmen, the Backwards-Thinkers Society and small ensembles of harpists and brass instruments.

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Tortes and cakes will be donated by the community to be featured with Austrian wines, a Viennese Ball tradition.

“(You’ll want to) come with a little room in your dress if you can,” advised Brockpahler with a laugh.

The event will also feature the orchestra in Davies Center Ballroom, which will perform waltzes and polkas.

In its original days, Eau Claire students and residents outside the campus were invited to join, and on April 26, 1974, the ball was held in the Tamarack Room. Years later, Stuber said, the committee decided to host the event for two nights in a row on both floors of Davies.

The ball sold out with 668 attendees, when only 600 were expected to attend. Due to the amount of people, $1,500 was made in sales that went to Viennese Ball Music Scholarships. Brockpahler says the scholarships were just for musical students, but soon expanded into awards for international students from Austria and other countries, as well as students preparing to go abroad.

“Entering its third decade, the Viennese Ball continues to provide an opportunity for the community to experience the excellence of the university’s music program and the quality of students who are recipients of the scholarship dollars,” Stuber said.

Ticket sales have also made more than one million dollars for scholarships and awards. The Davies Center Scholarship recognizes students who work at the center and help make the ball possible. There are also Senior Scholarships and Freshman Scholarships, which are typically awarded the night of the event.

From 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on the Sunday and Mon- day following the event the plants that served as decorations will go on sale in the Tamarack Room. The money made from plant sales contributes to the Viennese Ball Scholar- ships, Stuber said.

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Let’s have a ball