On Friday night, I attended the Gamma Nu Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.’s 2011 Pink Ice Gala. And to be honest, I didn’t expect the event to be very bloggable. Even though the Pink Ice is always great and has become one of Columbia’s top social events, I haven’t found the annual balls to be very distinguishable from one year to the next… (with the exception of year that a black man by the name of Barack Obama spoke). I fully expected to see Columbia’s Who’s Who, gaze fabulous fashion, hear great music, dance with good looking men and go home.
But this year, I got far more. I found that the AKA’s didn’t rest on the laurels of their past events and hosted a truly grand affair. And for that, I give them another standing ovation and a heart-felt BRAVO!
So, here is what I noticed differently. They had an identifiable theme and it was well carried out. The theme was Persian Elegance and great care was taken to transform the Canty Building from a rental facility to a night under the stars in Gay Paree.
When I walked in the door and was greeted by an illuminated Eiffel Tower replica, I knew right away that there was going to be something different about this year’s event. As I proceeded through the doors, I was struck by the linen-draped tables, adorned with pink feathered plume centerpieces. This further supported the elegant Parisian theme.
As my handsome date and I continued down the carpeted runway, we found ourselves underneath a canopy that extended to… guess what? Yes! A chandelier! I was more than ecstatic to see that my observation from last year’s review was not disregarded.
I also found that a number of my other suggestions were upheld. Including the food. I found the food, which was catered by the Brookland Banquet & Conference Center to be remarkably better than last year. In addition to the typical banquet cuisine of roast beef, shrimp and grits, party chicken, and fruit/veggie stations, Lawrence Jones and his crew added an additional sauté station. Although I didn’t try it, it appears as if they were whipping up a little Asian cuisine. Not exactly on theme, but I appreciate the effort to spice it up a little.
Further proof that the sorors really meant business about this year’s event were the draped walls of the Canty Building. This single effort alone took their event to another level. As I mentioned last year, the Canty Building is one of few that could actually accommodate the crowd that this event turns out year after year. But effort has to be made to make the building look less like the State Fairground and more like a venue fitting such a high-society soiree. And draping the walls in pink sheers aided in the transformation. That endeavor alone gets a huge ‘thumbs up’!
And now the photographer. This year, he was more conspicuously located in the front of the building. I didn’t have to search for him… and my date and I appreciated that. I also suspect the photographer appreciated the more noticable location as well… as it was probably more profitable for him
And now, the music. As usual, The Finesse Band, headed up by Terence Young, was absolutely off the chain. And in between sets, the DJ did a fabulous job spinning the popular tunes that the band does not cover. One word of caution for the sorors and to The Finesse Band though… while Finesse is an unbeatable show band, consider switching it up from time to time. Even with all the changes that were made to improve the event, by using the same band with the same format year after year, you run the risk of feeling a little like the ‘same ole same ole’. As an event planner myself, I know that you always have to look for ways to improve every aspect of your event. Even the entertainment should not stagnate and become predictable.
On another note, here is an observation that struck me as odd… during the presentation portion of the event, there were several instances in which the sorors made mention of how elegant their event was. One even went as far as calling it the ‘premier social event’ in Columbia. I attended more than 65 events last year and am off to a great start for this year. And that was the first time that I’ve ever heard a speaker brag on their own event… and onstage… in front of their guests. To that, I simply say… Praise always sounds better coming from the lips of others.
And finally… shouts out to Jolanda Hardy, who was named Soror of the Year. If Jo puts as much time and energy into the sorority as she did in setting up her exquisitely laid out table and taking care of her guests, Gamma Nu Omega indeed has a star in Jolanda. Congratulations, my friend.
Final Assessment: Exceeded Expectations. The ladies of the Gamma Nu Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc managed to pull off perhaps their best event in recent years. I encourage them to keep challenging themselves to find new ways to wow us. While it may be difficult, it will be well worth it.