Welcome to that magical time out year when your inbox fills up with invitations to attend the fanciest soirees of the season. Because after all, what would the holidays be without a good Winter Ball?
Of course there are ample to choose from, but jazz enthusiasts may tend to look no further than Michael Arenella & His Dreamland Orchestra at their annual Winter Ball. While the theme remains the same, devoted attendees look forward to the surprises each year – which typically come in the form of whimsical performances.
For this year’s event, Arenella’s Dreamland Orchestra transformed the Stone Rose Lounge into a wintery wonderland overlooking Central Park West and a festive Columbus Circle. Inside a bubbly crowd gathered around a Christmas tree centerpiece, which served as a pillar for Santa’s portrait workshop. And perhaps instead of asking for gifts, each guest asked Santa for advice on how to pose along his decorative red leather couch.
Classic holiday tunes floated in the air courtesy of Arenella’s live sextet, which encouraged a spirit of anything from swing to ballroom dancing. Probably the most endearing part of the evening was the overall warm energy of the patrons who, in true holiday fashion, openly chatted it up and snapped photographs with the unfamiliar faces around them.
A vibrant and unorthodox mix of entertainment lingered right into the last moments of the evening. About halfway through the night, ballet soloist Aurora Black took to the center of the room for an enchanting performance. The crowd joined along in a performance by vaudevillian songsters Gelber and Manning and enjoyed a soulful act by accordionist Nicole Renaud. Roddy Caravella had guests literally on their toes attempting to keep up with the playful Snowflake Follies.
The bar served interesting alternatives to traditional egg nog and holiday cocktails, opting for custom concoctions such as the “Clover Club” and a “Peppermint Collins” instead. But by far the preferred beverage among the crowd was good old fashioned champagne… not at all surprising for this dapper group of flappers and beatniks.