German Gala blends Success
(pictures: Sybille Forster-Rentmeister/Echoworld Communications)
It is hard to believe that the annual ball in Toronto’s Fairmont Royal York Hotel is only 16 years old. Looking back makes it appear a lot longer as the memories of past glories parade by the inner eye.
The ball also did not always take place in this hotel, but moved around a bit as it grew. The big success of this venue necessitated a move to the Royal York. There are not many downtown hotels that can accommodate a crowd of 400 or more and still maintain an intimate atmosphere as well as deliver an elegant dinner. Gone are the days of rubber chicken and in are the delectable delicacies best described only in lengthy lists of individual ingredients, such as "Gravelax Salmon Filet" with "Potato and Seed Mustard Salad with White Truffle and Cabbage Cress", and "Mainz Wine Soup with Plum", "Gewürztraminer Sorbet" for cleansing the pallet, and "Beef Tenderloin Pfalz - with a reduction of Red Wine - finished with Butter as well as Red Grapes cut in half, Spaezle, braised Red Cabbage and Autumn Vegetables", and for dessert "Lorelei Dream Dampfnudel Caramel Cake with Crème Anglaise", and oh yeah, let us not forget the 3 berries next to the crème. Without these descriptions most of us would not know what exactly is so artfully arranged on our plates. But it all tastes a lot better than the old rubber chicken or Roast Beef or Salmon Filet, which were once the only choices for big crowds.
Planning such a meal is a big job in itself and has a few members of an organizing committee test eat all sorts of sample meals first before deciding on a choice. The theme of the evening, this year German Wine, added names of German Wine Regions to the menu, and of course German wine, as well as the German Wine Queen. Katja Schweder, a beautiful and intelligent young lady, who spoke charmingly of the nutritional value of German wine and that it also makes one sexy, especially its calcium and magnesium content, but not necessarily in that or any other logical order.
Master of Ceremonies was another beauty, locally grown CBC journalist Lynne Russel, who added a splash of red colour to the sea of black dresses and tuxedos. And it must be said that the ladies were indeed not only sexy that night but very attractive next to their distinguished gentlemen, who look so good in their tuxedos as though they were wearing uniforms. Some of the "lions of the parquets" sported a kilt, some the honours, which were bestowed on them or those that signified membership in an exclusive order, others just wore a smile all night, no doubt because their ladies looked so beautiful.
...and their distinguished gentlemen
The décor was white, white tablecloth, white chair covers, except for the vibrant colours of a very clever low centrepiece with high sprigs, which did not obstruct the view across the table. Susanne Adamczyk, who on any other day is the German Chamber of Commerce’s Director of Membership, Events and Projects, chaired the gala ball committee. (Try to get all that onto a business card!) She was seen everywhere all night, not leaving anything to chance, flitting about like a colourful butterfly. Congratulations go to her and her committee and the organizers!
One of the successful actions were the big screens on either side of the large ballroom, affording a good look at who was giving an introductory speech, which by and large were kept to a smart minimum. One cannot do without a welcome from the President and CEO of the Chamber, Thomas Beck, or the official address of the German Ambassador Matthias Hoepfer, so newly arrived form other shores.
During dinner someone suddenly realized that there was no dinner music in the background, and perhaps this will be the new trend, because it encouraged animated dinner conversation, something that was almost a thing of the past, being drowned out by competing strings. Other entertainment was also dropped and no one complained.
The Toronto Starlight Orchestra did a fabulous job after dinner right until closing time, interrupting only at brief intervals, also to allow the drawing of the door prizes. A stay at the Delta Chelsea Inn went to Ferdinant P. Kurt; an Esspresso Coffeemaker by Miele, we apologize if this is the wrongly named item, went to Gabi Westwinkel; an the big one, the 2 LTU flight tickets to Düsseldorf and back went to Peter Ganko. Congratulations! So many others won their prizes by bidding at the big silent auction, which raises much needed funds for the local German educational bodies.
As the evening wore on and midnight beckoned people were seen to be leaving with centre pieces, bags full of goodies from sponsoring corporations like REHA Enterprises or Pollock Dance Studios and many others, who were all properly acknowledged and thanked in a very complete 40 page program with inserts. It is definitely a pleasure to be part of such a gala event that manages to blend modern technology with tradition in an elegant setting for maximum entertainment value, an event that brings people together. And in the end that is all that counts: Bringing people together!
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