Second annual Yule Ball ushers in the Christmas season

by Jordan Coleman | Staff Writer

The second annual Yule Ball was combined with the Deck the Halls event hosted by Arend Hall. The connected event is one of the first to kick off the winter holidays.

The Yule Ball, on Saturday, Dec. 2, was created last year by senior Eugene Bell who is the swing and ballroom dance club (SBDC) president.

“I had a dream of it happening and so I made it happen,” Bell said.

The ball was created to add another dance to the event calendar. Bell originally promised prospective freshman, while he worked for the admissions office, that the dance existed before it was officially established.

Last year the Yule Ball and Deck the Halls were on the same day, but were not associated, causing students to have to choose which event they would attend. This year, the organizers of the two events decided to work together to promote each other’s event.

“We are basically working together so that it can be on the same night,” Arend senator junior Amber Van Brunt said. “Since Deck the Halls is a short event, only being a 15-minute experience, and the Yule Ball is a long event, we thought it would be better to work together to do it on the same night instead of competing.”

Both functions are Christmas-themed, yet they created different experiences. The Yule Ball was Harry Potter themed, providing a semi-formal holiday dance.

“We have a house cup competition where each guest drops a colored marble into their Hogwart house,” Bell said. “We also have Harry Potter themed refreshments like butter beer which is cream soda with butterscotch syrup and marshmallow cream on top.”

Compared to the ball, Deck the Halls was “an interactive Christmas experience,” Van Brunt said. It involved recreations of scenes from the movies “Home Alone” and “How the Grinch Stole Christmas The Grinch. Arend’s hallways reflected special scenes using decorations and student actors.

The Yule Ball is special to Whitworth’s campus as Bell believes that one cannot find anything else like it.

“It’s a Christmas party unlike other Christmas parties on campus because you won’t have the same feel like you will have at a social dance with swing dancing and live music with special refreshments,” Bell said. “There’s nothing like the Yule Ball.”

Some people think the theme of Harry Potter brings people together through the love for the story.

“I had a good time because it created a community that I wouldn’t necessarily be exposed to at Whitworth,” junior Gina Marzo said.

The ball incorporated student musicians, to promote student talents. Last year, the musicians were from Jazz I and II. Junior Shaun Fisher and senior Melia Deters sang a variety of Christmas tunes at the event such as classics like the “Most Wonderful Time of the Year,” “Blue Christmas” and “Let it Snow.” Along with Fisher and Deters, a Whitworth jazz combo of five men called Puddle of Blorp performed instrumental jazz music. With the music, Bell offered swing dance lessons before the event for students who wanted to learn.

“I loved the live jazz music and the ambiance of the dance,” junior Bordeaux Milette said. “It was a great way to start celebrating the holidays.”

Fisher performed at the Yule Ball the previous year with the vocal jazz club. From his experience with the dance, he felt like this year’s combination with Deck the Halls was a good idea and the event is always a good time.

“I really enjoyed that they [did] a collaboration with Arend with Deck the Halls,” Fisher said. “I think that is a great idea and will draw more people to both events. I like how it is Harry Potter Themed…and the SBDC always puts on fantastic events and are very educated about swing and ballroom dancing.”

The Yule Ball and Deck the Halls event was a way to connect the Whitworth community during the holidays.

“It [was] a really great way to get excited about the holiday season and see other students demonstrate what they are good at and care about,” Van Brunt said. “A lot of people get really into it. It’s just fun.”

This year’s event brought in 175 people dancing and enjoying the music provided by their peers, while also participating in some of Harry Potter’s favorites.

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