Well there’s no doubt about it. If the recent inaugural Nabiac Winter Ball is anything to go by, Nabiac and its ‘environs’ celebrates ‘community’ with a certain panache. I say this with a certain amount of pride, as I had my own little role to play in putting it together. And really, there’s nothing like organising an event with others to make you feel a part of something ‘greater’… You know, ‘the greater good’ and all that. In fact, I’ve heard that people who do volunteer work are much happier than people who don’t.
Well, I can well believe it (not that that feeling of contribution towards the greater good can carry you through at all times, as we’ve…er… cough, cough…all seen). But as part of a team of migrant locals organising something for the community and its hall, this felt good. Actually, it felt great. As someone wrote to us after the event, ‘you all do ‘community’ so well’… (of course, it goes without saying that if it had been a disaster I would be distancing myself from any involvement whatsoever).It all began when Bec H’s mother (hello G – I know you’re reading this!) went through her wardrobe and lamented the lack of opportunities to wear her ‘glad rags’.
“Well”, we all said, “we’d better have a ball!”. Careless words, thrown out into the ether. But they’d been said, and were now out there. I’d like to say many months of planning went into it, but actually a few vague sentences were passed around before we all thought at 8 weeks out – ‘blimey, if it’s going to happen we’d better hurry up”. Yes, you can see we were very official and efficient about it. So we called in a few friends to form a ‘ball team’, and thus we went past the point of no return. We booked a band, did up the artwork, Bec H typed up her first of many excellent lists, the caterer put the night in her calendar, we organised our ticket outlet through the local craft shop, and we were off.
The premise for the evening was to put on a great night for the hall and the community, and if there were any profits (a bonus) they would go towards the hall and its needs. Interestingly, someone asked me a rather poignant question a few weeks into our campaign, about our backup plan should we not sell enough tickets to cover costs. ‘Umm’, I hedged, ‘errrr’, I fumbled, ‘well, actually, we don’t really have one so we HAVE to sell the tickets or else it’s coming out of our pocket!’ I finally admitted. After all, you can’t ask 4 professional musos and a caterer to put the busiest night of their week on hold and not pay them.
And so we all started to loose a little sleep. Well, actually I believe Bec H and a few others on our team had some sleepless nights, whilst I chose to push my concerns into a false bravado – ‘we’ll be right. They’ll come. Hmm… only 1 table sold so far? Well, people always leave things to the last minute’. But they didn’t.
Because I’m happy to say, 2 weeks out, ticket sales were solid and we were going to be alright. Not quite sold out, but almost.
And so on Saturday 22 June, Nabiac Showground Hall was consumed by ‘Winter Ball Fever’. 134 people filed through the doors on a cold winter’s night dressed in their best with eskies in hand. Everyone, it seemed, knew someone. The evening had barely begun and already the conversation level was a low roar.
The hall was transformed from a functional all purpose space into a candle and fairy-light lit world of blue, white, and silver (whoever knew that aluminium foil had so many creative uses? We were fortunate to have a great stylist on our organising team. Like a mechanic and a doctor, every community should have one).
But most importantly of all, there were people of all ages. It was an event which catered to everyone (well, almost – apologies to the vegetarians!), and reflected the community which surrounds each and every one of us. And wow did they all relish it – from the first song, they were up (could it have been those plastic chairs?!). Has a crowd ever embraced an opportunity to kick up their heels quite so quickly, and for so long? They thrived on it, from women in ball gowns with gloves, women in cocktail dresses, to men in black tie and suits. Song after song after song, they swayed, spun and waved, kicked and shuffled, despite the slippery sand created by their dancing shoes on the newly polished floor. The old piers under the flooring even held firm through an interactive primal tap-dance version of 100 people stamping out the rhythm of ‘Wipe-Out’. It was apparent that the band was a hit.
A special thanks goes to Lyz Taylor from KINSpirit for her floral donation which went to Louise Collins for having booked and paid for the first table. Another big thank you to Bridget Smith who refused to accept the money the team had put aside for all those beautiful homemade blue tealights. Finally, thankyou to a great extended community for showing your support so wholeheartedly.
“After the ball is over,
After the break of morn –
After the dancers’ leaving;
After the stars are gone…” (Charles Harris, “After the Ball”)
With $837 raised for the hall, it now sits empty until the next bingo day, the next family reunion, the next wedding, the next concert, and dare I say it – the next ball.
And until then, may the memories keep everyone smiling… with the help of more pics by local photographer Adam Fardell (click there, on his blue name, to see some great pics, esp. of Bec H hitting the dance floor!). We’ve also popped some photos on this site in the Gallery section.
Lastly, I’d like to thank my mother, for coming up from Sydney especially to babysit for us, Bec H included. ‘Good on ya’ Mum! This round of applause is for you…