The Viennese Ball is a formal event recalling the romance and elegance of 19th-century Vienna, Austria. The event is presented in duplicate each evening and is a much-anticipated fundraiser for music, service and international study scholarships for University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire students.
Modeled on the historic New Year’s Eve Kaiser Ball, the event transforms all three levels of Davies Center. Guests may waltz in the grand ballroom, swing dance to Big Band standards, polka in the informal festival hall, sing along in the piano bar, and hear showcase performances on the Bösendorfer Imperial Grand Piano.
Available throughout Davies Center all through the evening are authentic Austrian specialties, soups, cheeses, sandwiches and brats, tortes and cheesecakes, sparkling wine, Austrian beers, and American-style bar service. A midnight tom-cat breakfast — Katerfrühstück — prepares patrons for their journey home.
ENJOY AN EVENING OF MUSIC, DANCE, DINING AND ROMANCE
The Singing Statesmen + The Women’s Concert ChoraleGary Schwartzhoff and Frank A. Watkins, Conductors
The two principal choral ensembles at “Wisconsin’s Singing University” open the
Viennese Ball. Special guests, international faculty-staff members and award recipients
are recognized at the opening ceremony in the Zeremoniensaal.
The University Symphony Orchestra + Jazz Ensemble I
Nobuyoshi Yasuda and Robert Baca, Conductors
In the Ceremonial Room (Zeremoniensaal), the grand ballroom on the third level of Davies Center, guests may dance to waltzes and polkas of the Strauss Era — the latter half of the 1800s and into the 1900s — known as a golden age of romance and elegance. The University Symphony Orchestra will perform a program that includes The Beautiful Blue Danube, Voices of Spring, Thunder and Lightning Polka, Cinderella Waltz, Artist’s Life, Emperor Waltz, Tick-Tack Polka, waltzes from Die Fledermaus and The Nutcracker, and the Radetky March. Alternating in performance with the symphony is UW-Eau Claire’s Grammy Award-nominated Jazz Ensemble I, performing music from America’s Big Band Era. Selections include Beer Barrel Polka, Clarinet a La King, Trumpet Boogie, Cherry Pink, Summertime, Sing Sign Sing, In the Mood and A Little party Never Killed Nobody.
Ernest Broeniman, Artistic Director
Capturing the traditional ethnic style of the typical European village band, Dorf Kapelle is featured in the less formal Golden Lion Festival Room (Zum Goldenen Löwen Festsaal), on the first floor of Davies Center. The Dorf Kapelle performed for the first time in 1988 and base become known for the performances of traditional ethnic music of the German speaking nations. Inducted into the Wisconsin Polka Hall of Fame, this village band from Wausau, Wisconsin is led by Ernest Broeniman, a retired music teacher and recognized authority of European wind music which includes polkas, marches, waltzes and specialty selections performed in the ethnic style of its origin.
Student, faculty and regional ensembles welcome patrons at the east entrances and are showcased throughout the building. A capella groups, jazz combos, student pianists, voice faculty and area pianist, Tim Lutz, are among those featured. There is music for everyone.
A TRADITION OF ELEGANCE AND SERVICE
The Viennese Ball is inspired by the historic Kaiser Ball housed in Vienna at the Hofburg Congress Center, the former Imperial Palace and seat of the Austrian emperors. A multi-roomed New Year’s Eve extravaganza in the style of Emperor Franz Joseph and Empress Elizabeth’s “Ball at Court,” the Kaiser Ball features thousands of flowers, wonderful food, and a wide variety of musical events including Salonmusik, Volkmusik, and, of course, orchestras playing Viennese waltzes.
Our first Viennese Ball was held in 1974. In 1981 the Viennese Ball began to be presented in duplicate on two consecutive evenings. In 1988 we received documentation that our Viennese Ball is considered the largest in the world, outside of Vienna itself. The creative energy and support of university staff members, students and volunteers from the community makes the Viennese Ball a continuing success.
An important part of the Viennese Ball has always been the excellent university-community-international relations it promotes. In 1986 an exchange program with Austria’s University of Graz was established with scholarship funds generated by the Viennese Ball. Proceeds from the two-night event have raised more than two-million dollars in international, music and service scholarships and awards. Celebrating its 42nd year, the event continues to provide an opportunity for the community to experience the excellence of the university’s music program and the quality of students who receive Viennese Ball scholarships and awards. The Viennese Ball celebrates and supports the university’s involvement in scholarship and study opportunities that are global in scope.