On Saturday night, like a good number of us, I attended Gala. I had the best time.
It had been three years since my first — and, until now, only — Gala. It’s a tradition that goes back decades. When I’ve asked alums about this quintessential event, they fondly remembered their festive outfits, the ambience that (somewhat) overrode the Gray Cage’s squeaky floors and even if they had the pleasure of forgoing a coat because it was finally warm enough to go outside without one.
Just a few nights before attending Gala, I stopped by the newsroom where a few staff members of The Student were boxing up contents for their move out of the soon-to-be renovated Chase Hall. Looking through the abounding archived issues, we reminisced on these dear and, honestly, crucial parts of being at Bates.
We undoubtedly have way more social opportunities now than we did last school year, when we had less knowledge of, and little protection against, the awful virus. Last year, it was a breath of fresh air to even be on campus (literally — we had so many meals on Garcelon), but of course, we were only able to experience a shell of typical life at Bates. Still, today, my daily Commons, Ladd and back again routine (which is a great pattern that I’ve missed) doesn’t really leave room for the awesome spontaneity of milling around in fun clothes and connecting with everyone who I don’t always grab meals with. That’s why I loved dancing in that famous field house.
And the live swing band at Gala was such a treat. I love to sing my heart out to top hits and Y2K throwbacks as much as the next person, but we needed something fresh. The Phil Rich Swing Band’s great lineup of Glenn Miller Orchestra songs featured the characteristic aspects of big band jazz that I love the most, like velvety horns and hot drums. It was a perfectly suited soundtrack for the loads of dancing that I enjoyed so much. Hearing this music live and at an actual Bates shindig was especially invigorating.
It also didn’t hurt that the equally delicious leftover desserts appeared in Commons the next morning, a glorious, sunshine-filled Sunday.
It’s totally tough that many of us get bogged down in the daily aspects of college life, especially when campus starts to feel really small. I am so grateful that this event gave Batesies the chance to dance their hearts out, enjoy Commons-catered strawberries and shake up their regular routine with a festive party. I’m sending a major thank you to all the staff at Dining, Events and Campus Life for putting this together.
In the coming weeks, as the last specks of snow melt and the Quad transforms into a vibrant shade of green, campus tends to feel especially warm. While we all connect over refreshing, ear-numbing walks down Alumni in January, I’m definitely excited for everyone to emerge in a post-hibernation spirit. Nights like Gala really bring this vitality out, and we’re fast-approaching day after day of this vibrant mood. So, on that note, happy April!