Yeah, this is happening. I’m reviewing my own Ball. This review is comprised in large part from praise/comments/criticisms I’ve received. If you have anything to add, please contact me. Overall, the Ball went extremely well! I had a lot of fun, and everyone else seemed to have a lot of fun too! Brassworks were great. I got a lot of compliments on their music, which really pleased me because Frank and I worked pretty hard on it, and made some changes from the standard Gaskell structure:
- I introduced about 1/3 more waltzes. I feel like we never get enough waltzes at a Gaskell.
- To accomplish this, I had to remove some dances, of course. I cut down (but did not eliminate) the number of Gallops, Schottisches, and set dances.
- I also removed the opening ‘Rule Britania’, because The Gaskell Ball has more of a legitimate British historical theme, and it seemed appropriate to not copy Every Single Part of a Gaskell Ball. We closed with ‘God Save The Queen’, and it was great to have The Queen and Prince on hand to trot up on stage (thanks Jessica and Gregory!), but I think we’re going to remove it next time, for the same reason. I’m open to suggestions of alternate ways to Open and Close the Ball (aside from the obvious Grand March and Last Waltz, both of which I’m certainly keeping).
- Mazurka Waltzes were played faster (~160bpm), to enable “real Mazurka” dancing. I loved this, as I love to Mazurka. I’m sure this made the “Gaskells Mazurka” more difficult to do at that speed, but I haven’t heard any complaints. Real Mazurka is beautiful. Please let me teach you.
- More “modern” music was added in, consistent with the style of a Grand Victorian Ball. In addition to selections allowed by Gaskells in the past (Congress of Vienna, Bohemian National Polka, etc.) The Brassworks played music written just after the turn of the century, such as Shostakovich’s Jazz Suite #2, and recent compositions from the new Cinderella movie, beautifully arranged by Frank Davis.
We used Gaskells Punch, because I wanted the familiarity, and because I really like Gaskells Punch, though it’s truly the most complicated Punch recipe I’ve seen. The Rite of Spring Ball had an official attendance of 101, which is one over my publicly-self-imposed number we’d need to break even and do this all over again. Despite attendance of 101, I still lost about $40, because events cost more than they appear to cost (not to mention the volunteered time spent). THANK YOU ALL for coming, and enjoying that magical, beautiful evening with me! It was my dream come true! SPECIAL THANKS:
- Monica Lenk, Gregory Seeley, Shannon Valerian, and Frank Davis. I couldn’t have run this Ball without you. And now that we’ve gotten through it, I mean that more than ever.
- Sarah Kramer, Laurie Tavan, and Louise Smythe “donated” event admission, even though they couldn’t attend, because they wanted it to succeed so badly. Thank You with all my heart. We wouldn’t even be talking about another Ball without your selfless kindness.
So where does this leave us? We’re putting on another Ball! It is my honor and privilege to announce A Midsummer Night’s Ball on July 18th! Visit the page for more details! What I’ve learned:
- I need to raise the door price by $5 (while leaving the advance price at $20). This small amount of added revenue will enable us to do the rest of these bullets.
- I need more volunteers. Like twice as many. We really under-estimated the volunteers we’d need, especially on snacks/punch duty. I’m fixing this.
- I’d like to add Tea. I really like how The Gaskell Ball used to be an evening of dancing and socializing. I think I got 100 Dancers at the Spring Ball, and I want to encourage the Social aspect too. Tea seems like a good start. I don’t do anything half way, so if you know where I can buy teacups and saucers in large quantity for cheap, I’d love to know! There will not be tea bags.
- I’d like to pay the band more. They’re great.
- I need to pay the venue more. I negotiated a slightly cheaper rate for the Spring Ball, which I don’t get to keep. And I would like to keep the venue.
The biggest & best thing you can do to show your support for events of this nature is to back my Kickstarter, so I can keep putting them on in the future!