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Virtual Viennese Ball set for April 8 and 10

| Denise Olson

Since 1973, the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire Viennese Ball has been canceled only two times — once in 1991 when Davies Center was under construction and again in 2020 due to the pandemic restrictions.

Through creative determination, abundant talent and the genius of technology, the grand traditions of the Viennese Ball return for 2021, with the Virtual Viennese Ball set for Thursday, April 8, and Saturday, April 10. Both nights’ activities start at 7 p.m.

UW-Eau Claire camps and conferences manager Kyran Hamill plays a key role in the annual ball preparation and is thrilled to present a safe and virtual way to participate this year.

“We’re excited to present a once-in-a-lifetime program celebrating the Viennese Ball,” Hamill says. “We have gathered the best musicians UW-Eau Claire has to offer, along with a few special guests. This will be a V-Ball experience to remember, from the comfort of your own home. For those who have never attended, get a taste of what awaits when it returns next year.”

Kristin Schumacher, director of University Centers, knows that the ball was established as a fundraising venture, and has become a beloved community tradition and signature campus event.

“In our quest to keep students at the center of what we do, the Viennese Ball has taken on a new look this year while staying true to its mission of raising scholarship funds,” Schumacher says. “I am proud of how the University Centers team has risen to the challenge to think differently, push boundaries and integrate new, creative ways to present the core of the Viennese Ball’s purpose — raising scholarship dollars while showcasing our talented musical students.”

Dr. Gretchen Peters, professor and chair of the music and theatre arts department, is pleased the online Viennese Ball experience will help provide vital funding to music and theatre arts students.  

“The Viennese Ball annually provides a substantial percentage of the scholarship money that the music and theatre arts department provides, about one-fifth of all scholarship funds,” Peters says.  

“The only four-year scholarships that we are able to offer come from Viennese Ball donations. We are so grateful for the campuswide support that goes into the Viennese Ball every year, and cancellation of the Viennese Ball for two years in a row would have created real challenges with scholarship money. It is exciting that friends and alumni from across the country will be able to tune in virtually to enjoy this event. Faculty and students have planned special ‘quintessential’ Viennese Ball performances for the virtual event.” 

Ivy Anderson, a senior applied instrumental major from Edina, Minnesota, is a past beneficiary of Viennese Ball scholarship funds who knows the value of these dollars for every student recipient.

“Looking back at my time here, I am very grateful to all of the donors who support the music program,” Anderson says. “These scholarships give music students the opportunity to study and advance in their musical technique and education. The Viennese Ball is a great example of everyone coming together to make and listen to amazing music that people have worked on all year. Although the Viennese Ball event will be virtual this year, we send our continued thanks and appreciation to Blugold music supporters.”

Community support with gift matching

In recognition of the importance of Viennese Ball scholarship funds for Blugold students, Eau Claire’s Royal Credit Union, a longtime supporter of UW-Eau Claire, has generously stepped up with a gift-matching pledge, ensuring that every donation collected for the virtual event goes twice as far to support students.

“Royal Credit Union is proud to sponsor the matching gift for the 2021 Virtual Viennese Ball,” says Jennifer McHugh, Royal Credit Union vice president of community engagement. “RCU is committed to making a positive impact in the lives we touch and the communities we serve. We urge others to join us in support of student success and UW-Eau Claire.”

Ways to enjoy and support the Viennese Ball

  • Watch online: Join us for a free hourlong program featuring all the traditional music of the ball — waltz, jazz, polka, a cappella and more. An outstanding lineup of UW-Eau Claire students and faculty will serenade and surprise viewers with the sights and sounds of past events. Tune in to the livestream at 7 p.m. April 8 or April 10 at
  • Order traditional Viennese Ball food for takeout: Place an online order by April 5, pick up your order the day of the event, sit back and enjoy in the comfort of home.
  • Support music scholarships: Ticket sales to this event fund scholarships, so please consider a donation. Every dollar will be matched by RCU of Eau Claire. Make a donation.
  • Join us on campus in 2022: The Viennese Ball will return, so please plan to attend next spring!