A brace of balls and a night in the cells

24. June 2012 Concerts, News, Photos 0
A brace of balls and a night in the cells

May ball season has arrived again and for a week in early June the centre of Cambridge is transformed into a series of outlandish and extravagant events.  This year the Quartet had been booked to play at two balls at St Catharine’s college and Clare College.  By an unfortunate coincidence both of these events fell on the same night so we had to shuttle ourselves between the two colleges during the evening.

At St Catharine’s college we were providing some entertainment just prior to the start of the ball for everyone waiting in the queue by the main gate.  We started around half an hour before the gates were due to open and by that stage the queue extended so far that we couldn’t even see the end of it.  After playing for just under an hour we still couldn’t see the end, but several hundred people had filed by.

We had a bit of time to spend inside the ball before moving on to Clare which gave us enough time to savour some of the food on offer (we managed cheese and cupcakes, which was a somewhat unconventional combination).  We also had time to sympathise with the string quartet who had been positioned right next to a room pumping out very loud drum and bass music such that you couldn’t hear them from 6 feet away!

A completely inaudible string quartet

After a while we moved on to Clare college for our late night set there.  We had originally been asked to play in one of the gardens, but things had been rearranged so that we ended up playing in the Great Hall.  The theme for the ball was ‘Dante’s Inferno’, and the Great Hall was part of hell.  When we arrived in the hall we were greeted by an enormous cage with a stage in it.  The organisers said that we didn’t have to play from inside the cage, but that we could if we wanted to.  There was no way we were turning that down – how often are you ever going to be asked if you want to play from inside a cage?  We therefore did two sets of music while being locked inside a cage in hell.  Hell proved to have very good acoustics and was a lovely place to play in.

Please do not feed the musicians
We really were shut inside a cage