It's a Wonderful Life: Somerville-Jesus Ball 2019

Bronwyn Tonelli

Ever since arriving in Michaelmas, I’d heard that I was going to absolutely love Trinity term; sitting on the grass would be allowed, the weather would be beautiful and – of course – it would finally be ball season! While second and third years told me about the great time that they’d had at Brasenose ball and that I had to sign up for calsoc, I felt extremely lucky that the first ball I would ever attend was being run by my very own college: the Jesus-Somerville ball. Rest assured, it certainly surpassed my expectations.

When I first walked in, I was greeted by live music played by a jazz orchestra. At the college entrance, a red carpet was laid on the ground. This walk in gave me an opportunity to say hello to some of the ball committee who were handing out programs, but also to check out what other girls were wearing-- I was relieved to see that I wasn’t the only one who had interpreted “black-tie” to include “black-leather-jacket!” At the end of the carpet, champagne was being distributed, but I decided to hold off until riding the massive Ferris wheel which had suddenly come into view.

Even though I missed out on the champagne, there were plenty of other opportunities to eat and drink. After trying three types of mac and cheese, my friends and I headed into the Speakeasy, where there was a bar and, more importantly, unlimited candy floss (or ‘cotton candy’, as us Canadians call it.) A sudden flash alerted me to the fact that there was a photobooth in the room. Whoever came up with the props for it was an absolute genius; there was even a dinosaur head! At this point in the evening I decided to go grab a (boozy) coffee from the Missing Bean booth. After all, it was only midnight!

The highlight of my evening, however, took place in the main tent: the Abba tribute band. At first, I could barely hear it; the telltale notes to the start of Mamma Mia were muffled by the sounds of dozens of heels sprinting to the front of the room. That said, soon people settled into frenzied, but rhythmic jumping and dancing. Despite being completely squished between 10 different people at any given moment, it was exhilarating to sing along to songs that literally everyone around me knew the words to. About half-way through the performance I found myself being lifted above the crowd onto someone’s shoulders. At that moment I was arguably the person with the best view of the band, and I have to say they looked the part in addition to sounding the part.

At around 4, I made it back to college and went to bed. Although all of my friends mocked me for spending five quid on a taxi, I was the only one who could actually walk the next day! No matter how much of the night they could actually remember, the dull-foot pain was an excellent reminder of a fun night of dancing.

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Laurel Boxall

Jesus Somerville Ball was genuinely the highlight of my time at Oxford— yes, I know it’s only been two terms! Filled with friends, Ferris wheels, and the production of some truly insta worthy photos, the whole event really proved that it is a wonderful life!

As we walked into the first quad of Somerville, it seemed incredible that so much had been fitted into one space. Due to the slight delays of taking the stereotypical Oxford photos in front of the Rad Cam, and having to walk to the college in high heels, the ball was already in full swing when we arrived, with a great showing of the Jesus community looking glamorous and happy. Of course, in true fashion, we headed straight to the bar for some tailor-made drinks. In fact, the sheer range of food and drink available was overwhelming, with several bars and numerous food stalls catering to both drunken and sober cravings. Honestly, though I don’t want this to come across as stating this as the highlight of my evening, the mac and cheese was definitely up there!

After being watered and fed we decided to have a proper look around. The gardens of Somerville lighting our way (I seriously appreciated the fairy light artistry of the ball committee) we headed to the famed ‘Speakeasy’, seeking the candyfloss and the comfiness of the cinema—and also the warmth! But then the dulcet tones of DFO drew us out to the main tent, and we found ourselves dancing along with everyone else to the selection of absolute tunes! The acts and music of the night were excellently chosen, nice one ball com!

Once the set was over I managed to drag my friend onto the Ferris wheel finally. Despite her admittance of vertigo about half way around the first rotation, the nostalgia and accompanying fireworks provided by a distant ball made the ride a great one as we looked over the beautiful lights and activity of the ball below us. Not to be cheesy, but it was truly a magical night!

After hours and hours of dancing (including inside a festively decorated church?!) and a desperate removal of my heels during the silent disco—I made it to 3am—we finally decided to call it a night and walk back to college. Although some wimped out and caught taxis (ahem, Bronwyn), it’s safe to say everyone had a great night and only regretted the alcohol the next day! Thank you to the committee—it was definitely better than arriving to see an empty shark tank!

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