The lights were dimmed in the Oak Room last Saturday as Greek colony ATP hosted Knox’s first annual Yule Ball to raise money for Cooke Elementary School in Galesburg.
In recognition of the night’s Harry Potter theme, many students came dressed in fancy clothes or wizard garb. The theme was observed elsewhere as well: the hand stamp at the door was a lightning bolt, a Hogwarts rug was laid out on the ground from the entrance to the dance floor, and large handmade shields for each of Hogwarts’s four houses hung from the walls.
Brigette Todt, a junior member of ATP and its historian, said that Cooke Elementary doesn’t have a reference section at its library. ATP wants to get the school at least an encyclopedia set, but hopefully a whole reference section.
Senior Liz Soehngen, president of ATP, said that they knew they wanted to put on some type of big party, but really wanted the Greeks to do something that benefited the community.
The inspiration of a Harry Potter theme developed quickly because many of the ladies in ATP are fans of J.K. Rowling’s extremely popular series. “What better [theme] than what got a lot of people reading in our generation?” said Todt.
Two main tables were set up in the back of the Oak Room. Todt sat at one, dressed as Professor Trelawney to give tarot readings. The other table held refreshments with both normal and wizard themed snacks made by the members of ATP. One of the big hits was butter beer, which was caramel and cream soda mixed together. The girls found several recipes on the Internet, but had trouble finding the non-alcoholic one they served.
All of the activities and refreshments helped to raise money for Cooke Elementary. The rug at the entrance was made by the girls in ATP and was raffled off. They also made scarves for the fraternities, sororities and sports teams on campus.
Soehngen said, “I’m sick of yarn at this point.” With a smile she explained they bought about eight pounds of it for their crafts.
People at the ball seemed to enjoy the event. When junior Sarah Colangelo came out to announce the band the crowd erupted in cheers. The band, Ministry of Magic, got the crowd dancing and screaming throughout the whole dance.
“They are a fabulous band. I have been so excited to see them play,” Todt said.
All of the elements of the ball came together well, but its preparation was no easy task.
Soehngen said their first attempt at a large event was getting the author of a fantasy series they all liked to come to Knox, and when this idea fell through, they came up with the idea of a concert.
According to Colangelo, once the decision to hold a concert and ball was made, ATP just took the idea and ran with it. The first big hurdle was finding a band – they eventually found the Ministry of Magic via Myspace.
Colangelo described their colony as offbeat. She said throwing a wizard ball was just like them and set them apart from other sororities and fraternities.
“Hopefully ATP will be able to put on more events like this, and hopefully our fictitious Hogwarts can help form a connection between Knox and the community,” said Colangelo.