The Viennese Ball is a formal event recalling the romance and elegance of 19th-century Vienna, Austria. The yearly event 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.
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 45th 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.