Skip to main content

The Viennese Ball returns to UW-Eau Claire April 8 and 9

| Denise Olson

One of the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire’s most cherished and long-standing events, the Viennese Ball, was sidelined for two years by COVID-19, but is making a glorious return to live and in-person song and dance on Friday, April 8, and Saturday, April 9.

Tickets are available to purchase online at $30 for students and $55 for the general public. Due to the March 12 lifting of the campus mask mandate, face masks, vaccination proof and negative tests are not required for Viennese Ball attendees. 

For both evenings, doors open at 6 p.m. Formal opening ceremonies will take place at 7:15 p.m. in the Ojibwe Ballroom of Davies Center, featuring the Women’s Concert Chorale and The Singing Statemen.

With food, drink, music, dance and theatrical performances filling all three floors of Davies Center, the event offers guests a night well worth the long wait for a major in-person campus event.

“The Viennese Ball is a scholarship fundraiser that is now in its 48th year of supporting music education,” says Kristin Schumacher, director of University Centers and executive director of the Viennese Ball.

“It’s an elegant and fun evening celebrating the traditions of Vienna, the talents of our Blugold music and theatre students, and the coming together of the campus and greater Eau Claire community for a festive night of music and dance.”

For the full performance details, see the 2022 Viennese Ball schedule. See the Viennese Ball website for additional information such as food and drink availability, COVID-19 related updates, ways to volunteer and, importantly, how to donate to the Viennese Ball Scholarship funds.  

New for 2022

A major draw for Viennese Ball fans is the storied history and tradition of the event, but 2022 holds a few new surprises for this signature campus event.

  • Austrian and German lagers brewed exclusively for the Viennese Ball by four of Eau Claire’s microbreweries — K Point Brewing, Modicum Brewing, Ombibulous Brewing and The Brewing Projekt.
  • Late Night Street Food featuring food-truck style favorites like street tacos, elotes, fried cheese platter, flatbread pizzas, Coney Island-style hot dogs, pulled pork sandwiches and burgers.
  • Diskotek and Cabaret: The Ojibwe and Dakota ballrooms transform for a late-night “act two” of music and dance featuring music by WESTKOREA and The Torch Sisters from midnight to 1 a.m.

According to Schumacher, the addition of the area breweries has been welcomed by organizers who have been seeking ways to engage the vibrant Eau Claire “foodie” community in this large-scale event.

“Not only are we reinvigorating our Austrian cuisine offerings this year, but inviting community businesses, the local microbreweries, into the fold is exciting,” Schumacher says. “We are thrilled that they are each able to promote their local business by brewing a special Viennese/Austrian lager for the event, each with a distinct flavor.”

For Tyler Edmondson, event production coordinator for University Centers, the return of the ball feels quite triumphant after the long absence of major events throughout the pandemic.

“While the pandemic has been full of stress and uncertainty, we’ve been given the opportunity to breathe life back into an event so dear to the hearts of campus, the Eau Claire community and Blugold alumni,” Edmondson says.

“The Edelweiss flower has been a consistent symbol of the Viennese Ball at UWEC. Known to symbolize resilience, beauty and rugged determination, the spirit of that flower couldn’t be felt in a more palpable way for Viennese Ball 2022. Our hope is to engage, delight and entertain everyone who walks through our doors on April 8 and 9.”  

Supporting music students for nearly 50 years

Since the inaugural Viennese Ball in 1974, the event has grown exponentially but has remained true to its original purpose — funding scholarships for Blugold music and theatre arts students.

What started with total proceeds of $1,500 from that first event has since provided more than $1.5 million in music, service and international study awards for deserving UW-Eau Claire students.

Students and faculty in the music and theatre arts department are thrilled to bring back the beloved Viennese Ball, not only because of the tremendous financial support it offers students but because is a favorite performance opportunity for many.

“Our students just love performing at the Viennese Ball,” says Dr. Gretchen Peters, professor and chair of the music and theatre arts department. “This year they worked to pull in broader representation of our full department, expanding the role of theatre students throughout the night’s performances.”

Peters says there will be roughly 250 students taking part in ensemble and solo performances in five Davies Center spaces, and she is proud to report that the department will award approximately $33,000 in scholarships from Viennese Ball revenue, including a few rare four-year renewable awards.  

Senior music major Kate Konrardy will be receiving one of the evening’s most sentimental honors, the Ada Bors Music Service Award. Named to honor the founder and longtime coordinator of the Viennese Ball, this award recognizes outstanding student service to the music and theatre arts department.

Konrardy, a senior music major from Marshfield, has taken part every year in ensemble and solo performances, theater productions, University Band, UWEC Wind Symphony and Cabaret. Just this spring semester she served as the student intern for Cabaret and performed in the recent mainstage show “Silent Sky.” She also served as a department storytelling intern, writing and publishing student success stories on the department website.

“My service to music and theatre arts over the past few years has been very rewarding and has proven to be hugely beneficial toward my development as a musician and an arts administrator,” Konrardy says. “I have learned so much as it relates to large-group and interpersonal communication, strategic planning, and desirable leadership skills.”

Other Viennese Ball Scholarship Recipients

Noble Statesmen Award

  • Casey Hilts, a senior choral education major from Ashland.

Recipients of this award must bring musical leadership to the ensemble and display character both in the ensemble and on campus. Recipients must be a returning member of The Singing Statesmen in the year following the receipt of the Noble Statesmen Award.

Music and Theatre Arts Senior Awards

  • Haley Corcoran, a choral teaching major from Kaukauna.
  • Hans Fuerst, a music education major from Waunakee.
  • Sam Lakman, a music composition major from Onalaska.
  • Emmeline Liske, a choral teaching major from Oshkosh.
  • Nick Miskimen,a  music education major from Lodi.
  • Rachel Mueller, a theatre arts major from De Pere.
  • Hannah Sternberg, a music education major from Brookfield.

Awarded for talent, academic achievement, and contributions to the music and theatre arts department.

Karen G. Stuber Service Awards

  • Maxwell Bailey,  a senior economics major from Mazomanie.
  • Matthew St. Ores, a senior geography major from Rosemount, Minnesota.
  • Rebecca Riebenbauer, a freshman chemistry teaching major from Graz, Austria.

Presented to student employees in recognition of outstanding achievements and service to W.R. Davies Student Center and, specifically, to the Viennese Ball. This award is named in recognition of Karen Stuber for her 43 years of service to the Viennese Ball.

Support Blugold students with a donation to the Viennese Ball Scholarship Fund