The ball season started earlier for me this year than it usually does. It is only the first of March and I’ve already been to one ball.
This ball was in Holland, in a town called Haarlem. “1813: Keetje Hodshon requests the pleasure of your company” was the title of the invitation sent out for the event. Keetje Hodshon was a lady who once lived in this big house in Haarlem, Hodshon house and it was in her house and in her honor so to speak that the ball was held.
I have long wanted to try out an event in another country, a new country, and I have many friends in Holland and have heard alot about their events there. But this was the first time that I attended any of them.
My good friend Jeanette was one of the organizers for this and she invited me to come. She also asked if I could sing a few songs during the evening, since she knows that singing is something else that I do quite alot.
This was a new idea, something I had never done before. I agreed to do it and looked out a few songs that I thought could be suitable, discussed them with the harpist who was to play the accompaniment, bought my plane tickets and made myself a new dress. And a week ago from today I flew down to Holland.
I was staying with Jeanette and her family, which was very nice and convenient since she was one of the people in charge and all I had to do was follow along. Saturday morning we got dressed up in our warmest Regency daywear and set off for the Teylers Museum, the oldest museum in the Netherlands. Here we met up with a few of the others who were there for the event, all in costume of course, and were given a guided tour around the place. It was a nice museum, but I think to fully appreciate it as a museum and look closer at all the things there I would have to go again. I was quite busy at this time just catching up with friends and chatting.
A lovely room in the museum.
An exhibition with drawings by Redouté
Five ladies, five different nationalities, five pelisses all in different colors
After the museum tour the group split up, there were still a few hours left before the next point on the schedule. A few of us thought we would walk into the beautiful old center of Haarlem for some photos, but it was such a cold, windy day with a mixture of snow and rain (and here I came from Sweden where it was -11 C expecting Holland to be warm!) that we soon sought refuge in a cafe. We were four of us sitting there in our costumes, being stared at by people, and then suddenly we saw two more costume clad people walk in (acquaintances of mine) and we decided to join them.
Having lunch together
Walking back to Hodshon house
A very brisk and determined walk back. It was cold…
After a cold brisk walk from the cafe Hodshon house gave us a warm welcome. It was a very beautiful house. On the outside it looks nice, not spectacular but very nice, but on the inside it is really lovely.
These are three of the rooms:
The Blue Room
The view out the ballroom window. The canal was just outside, and all those pretty houses. Looks very Dutch!
In the afternoon there were first a couple of dance workshop for those who wanted, I joined in on one of them and then skipped the second to have another practice together with the harpist who had then arrived. Since we were in different countries up till the day before the ball we hadn’t had much of a chance to practice, and I was quite nervous about how it would go since I had never sung to a harp before and had no idea what it would be like. But it worked very well, to my great relief. But however because of this very limited practice time we only did three songs together, where I think we could well have done a couple of more if we’d had the time. Next time perhaps.
At 6 o’clock dinner was served. Served in the two beautiful rooms I showed you pictures of above. I was in the blue room. It was a nice big dinner with lots of dishes, even quite a few that I as a vegetarian could eat.
The gentlemen were told they were to serve the ladies at the table, fetching food and filling up drinks. It was a fun thing to be waited on like that, but since there were more ladies than gentlemen present some of them had quite a busy time seeing that all the ladies around them had all they needed. One gentleman was jokingly complaining of his own food being completely cold by the time he was able to sit down to enjoy it. But in all honesty I think they all rather enjoyed it
Stuffed from dinner (that dessert was fantastic!) we then all made our way into the ballroom and the dancing started.
It was wonderfully fun as always and I was laughing and having a good time with friends as we were dancing. The dances were many of them ones that I were familiar with already, but there were also quite a few new ones to try out.
Slightly blurry pictures from the dancing, but I still think they’re quite nice
The ladies clapping their hands while the gentlemen gallop around
There were a couple of intermezzos during the dancing, and that is when I sung my three songs. I did two songs by the composer Thomas Arne which both had words by Shakespeare; “When Daisies Pied” and “Blow, Blow Thou Winter Wind”. And then I did the wonderful Mozart aria “Voi Che Sapete”.
It all went really well, which I was both relieved and grateful for. I had been nervous beforehand as I said for one reason since I hadn’t had much chance to practice or sing with a harp, but also because there were so many of my friends present! And singing before people I know is alot more scary than doing it before people I don’t. But it all went well and it was very well recieved and appreciated. Which was fun I even did one song twice, since I didn’t have any more and it was a request.
Me and Nanja performing together
It was filmed as well, but I haven’t yet seen those films. But I’m hoping they get uploaded somewhere soon because I’m quite curious to see how they turned out.
It was a lovely event and it was very nice to catch up with some friends again and dress up and dance. It was my first proper winter event too, and it was great. Note to myself though would be to figure out more warm things to wear for next winter event I go to though
(Most of these pictures are my own, but some I’ve borrowed from friends. So thank you for that)