By ELIZABETH ARROWSMITH
The Salt Lake Symphony will set a romantic precursor to Valentine’s day Feb. 5, at their annual Vienna Ball.
Hosted by radio personalities Dane and Peggy of FM 100 and the Salt Lake Symphony, the Utah State Capitol Rotunda will be filled with diners dancing the evening away to polkas and waltzes, Vienna-style.
The event is always a huge success, said James Caswell, music director and conductor of the Salt Lake Symphony.
“The ball is a tradition that many cities have. People love the music, the atmosphere, the food. It’s an elegant night out,” he said.
David Dalton, professor emeritus of music, had a first-hand experience at the Vienna Opera Ball while studying music in Vienna in 1957.
When the Blue Danube Waltz begins and the debutants in white flowing gowns and men in tails enter the dance floor at the ball, it’s an awing experience, he said.
“You never forget it. And I never did,” Dalton said.
Dalton said he thought at the time, if there is ever an opportunity to recreate the late evening to early dawn event, he would.
In 1986, he convinced the Salt Lake symphony board and orchestra to host their first annual Vienna ball.
The event will celebrate its fifteenth year Saturday.
“It’s just incredible. It’s a people watching event because people dress up and the floor shows are so interesting,” said Margaret Smith, a fundraiser for the event.
The Salt Lake Symphony will perform three sets of dance music, waltzes and polkas. The Greg Floor Quartet will also play two to three sets and The University of Utah ballroom dance team will perform at the event.
“We’ve gathered a lot of great fans over the years — people who generally come one year and then continue coming,” said Charlotte Bell, a public relations representative for the Salt Lake Symphony.
The event, which sells approximately 500 tickets each year, offers three types of seating.
General seating is $35. A seat at a table with a view of the dance floor runs $50 and a corporate table costs $1,000.
A silent auction will also take place to help with the Symphony’s fundraising efforts.
While the dress is black tie, it is not required, Caswell said.
He said about 20 people wear period clothing, some dress in formal attire of tails and gowns and others wear their Sunday best.
“It ranges from people in ball gowns and tuxedos and some that are pretty casual in nice pantsuits. It’s not a stuffy ball, but some people get really decked out and it’s fun to watch them on the dance floor,” Bell said.
Dinner will be catered by Siegfried’s Delicatessen, who will be serving authentic German cuisine, Caswell said.
Margene Anderson of DanceScene will provide free ballroom dance lessons and a photographer will be in attendance to take pictures of the guests.