A three-headed dog hitting the dance floor in the Oak Room didn’t raise any eyebrows on Saturday. After all, a little magic did not seem out of the ordinary at Yule Ball.
For anyone who has been living under a rock during the past decade, Harry Potter is a book series about a young wizard of the same name attending Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. At this school he fights the forces of the evil led by the dark wizard Voldemort. In the fourth book, the school throws a dance for the students called the Yule Ball.
Thrown by the women of Alpha Sigma Alpha (ASA), the charity ball made the magic of Harry Potter come to life on February 5th. The women of Alpha Sigma Alpha transformed the dining hall into a place where any wizard would be at home.
Streamers in the colors of the four Hogwarts houses were strung from the ceiling. Flyers advertised Quiddich tryouts and a reward for wanted wizard Sirius Black. Mockups of the wizarding paper, the Daily Prophet, with joke articles were mounted on the wall.
A snack table sold favorite wizard treats like butter beer (cream soda and butterscotch), cauldron cakes and rice crispy treats. A raffle gave away four scarves, lovingly made in the house colors.
Wizard Rock (Wrock) bands Dreary Inferi and Diagon Alley played live music for dancing.
The most popular feature of the dance was the starry blue sorting hat that put students into one of the four houses, just like the hat in the books.
Sophomore Aimee Neilan decided to be sorted because it sounded like fun. When she put on the hat its lively voice called her “filthy minded.”
“But it put me in Gryffindor,” said Neilan. “So I guess I’m brave in heart.”
Some students couldn’t wait to be sorted. Others were pushed under the hat by giggling friends. The hat amused the crowd by asking the sorted student random questions.
“What is the sum of a number that is one and a number that is five?” the hat asked one student. When she responded correctly, the hat decided that she was a Ravenclaw. It asked another student what she thought of Mondays, and another if it was better to have a hundred dollars or a hundred friends.
Many students were hoping for a certain response.
“I think I discovered I was a Hufflepuff when I was 14 or 15,” freshman Sarah Tillery said. Before that, she leaned towards Gryffindor, but after taking a gigantic “Myers-Brigs like” test, she embraced her Hufflepuff status.
“Hufflepuff is clearly the best and most superior house.”
The first Knox College Yule Ball was thrown two years ago to benefit Cooke Elementary School. This year the money raised will go to the S. June Smith Center, a Pennsylvania foundation that provides therapy, education and family services for children with developmental disabilities. The event raised $599 for the charity from ticket sales and food.
According to Alpha Sigma Alpha member senior Sarah Juist, the sisters have been planning on throwing a Yule ball since the end of last year because of the success of the first Yule Ball.
“I just want [everyone] to go home saying ‘That was awesome,’” Juist said.
For some, just the fact that ASA offered a Yule Ball was awesome in and of itself.
“You can’t have a Yule Ball without Hannah Black!” freshman Hannah Black said, who was wearing a red and gold striped tie with matching red shoes and yellow tights. “I’m just really glad that I can go to a school where this happens. It’s so nerdy!”
Although it was called a ball, various levels of formality could be seen in how attendants dressed. Although some people dressed up, others wore T-shirts and jeans and still others wore wizard robes.
The first band to play was the Chicago-based Dreary Inferi. The three-piece, female, soft wizard rock band played songs in honor of Rowling’s books, including their songs “Predictions for Next Week (or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Future)” and their ode to Harry Potter fans, “Fandom Fangirl.”
The band spoke positively about their experience, except for feedback problems at the beginning of the set.
“Minus that terrible noise, it was great,” said Dreary Inferi’s base player Ashlee Pugh.
“Knox College FTW [for the win],” read their twitter feed the next day. “Yule Ball was awesome!”
Although some people started dancing during Dreary Inferi’s set, most of the people were still standing around talking.
“l like that there’s live music,” sophomore Rachel Fisher said, “but no one’s dancing, I’d like it to be more lively.”
Junior Paul Lurenz thought that Dreary Inferi’s style wasn’t quite what he was hoping for. He wanted “rock and roll, not so much ballad.”
Diagon Alley, another Chicago based wizard rock band, played next. Their energetic punk style got students on the dance floor.
In between the two band’s sets, the members of Dreary Inferi were asked to judge the Yule Ball costume contest. The winner was freshman Savannah Whitten, who dressed as Lavender Brown.
Whitten said she chose the costume because “I look closest to her I think.”
Not everyone who attended was a Harry Potter fanatic. Although freshman Mydel Santos said that she “appreciated the enthusiasm of the fans,” although she was only there because her friends dragged her along.
“It’s endearing, [Dreary Inferi] plays with such heart, and you have to appreciate that.”
Although she is not a huge fan of the series, Santos was still looking forward to having a good time and getting “punch drunk on wizard liquor.”
“I’ve read the books over and over,” freshman Tracy Ewert said. One of her suitemates, an Alpha Sigma Alpha, convinced her to come to have fun and support a good cause.
As Ewert was trying to think of some final words for the interview, freshman Jaime Ruml ran over from the sorting hat, yelling the word Gryffindor and excitedly waving a red ribbon above his head.
Ewert pointed to Ruml, a wide smile across his face, and said, “That’s my final thought.”