Wolf House Ball - Hurstpierpoint College

Wolf House Ball

A night of wonder, of the most elegant of outfits, of sparkling silver and red in glasses of the finest glass, of heels clinking against parquet floors as sweeping music fills the cool night air with a sense of mystery, of magic, a night of purpling sky twinkling and golden lights glowing, of April flowers leaving the world smelling fresh and sweet, a night of laughter spiraling up into the heavens and friendships forged…am I describing a night on the French Riveria? An Old Hollywood soiree filled with the best and brightest of the Tinseltown hills? No – something far grander than that: the Wolf Ball!

The week of April 19th found all the girls in Wolf aflutter – and most of the staff too – with questions about what to wear? Who to bring? What shoes are comfortable enough to dance in but still special enough for a black-tie event? Who will I be sitting next to? When do I get there? How late is fashionably late, and how late is missing-out-territory? Do I want the chicken or the mac’n’cheese? Is a ballgown too over-the-top? The questions we are all familiar with before A Big Event tortured us as the day closed in. As the Friday dawned, the Wolf wardrobes groaned with the unfamiliar weight of carefully stored evening dresses to change into post-chapel, and the tables creaked with curling wands and Urban Decay palettes. If pressed, most would admit that whatever was taught that day went in one ear and out the other, as teachers everywhere bemoaned the extra task involved in keeping eyes and ears focussed on quadratic equations and Shakespeare’s sonnets when at 7pm the Wolf Ball beckoned. Chapel on the Wolf balcony was a subdued event, as eyes flicked nervously and complicated hand signals were passed from pupil to pupil, all variously repeating the same thing over and over: what are you wearing?

The question that tormented all Wolf tutors – especially Mr Cuerden, whose hard work on the ball was second-to-none – was not what are you wearing (apart from Miss Whiteley, who is constantly tormented by that question, ball or not) but will it live up to the hype? A once-every-two-years-occasion, the ball has a lot to live up to, especially post-Covid. It was imperative that the girls had a good time, and that there was no crying or disappointment. So as the time ticked closer, and the girls artfully applied makeup and quizzed each other on their ball dates, Mr Cuerden and the other tutors anxiously bit at their nails and hoped it would be a good time.

They never needed have worried. From 7pm, as the cars started to crunch down the gravel driveway of Pangdean, the party was in full swing. Glittering mocktails in icy glasses awaited the troupes of kitted-out girls, and laughter soon drowned out the sounds of the DJ in the barn. All were surrounded by blooming yellow flowers – tulips and daffodils – as befitting Wolf colours. It was so lovely to see all the girls – from Shell to Upper Sixth – giggling together, chatting together, and just connecting in a way they rarely get to. The opening moments seemed to fizzle away quickly in a wave of ‘You look amazing!’ ‘Who are you sitting next to?’ ‘I wonder what song we’ll play’ and the snapping of iPhone cameras. Very soon, we were seated under the glowing bulbs of Pangdean’s rafters, listening to House Captain Maya R eloquently thank everyone that attended. Very soon, all sounds stopped altogether – apart from the clinking of fork tines – as Pangdean’s scrumptious food soon made its way onto tables.

Refuelled and recharged, the dancing soon began in earnest, as strains of Taylor Swift and ABBA sparkled above twirling heads, and the real party began. Students began to deluge the photobooth to take photographic memories with them – and photographic evidence of a variety of teachers wearing frankly outrageous hats.

All too soon it seemed to be over, and parents waited sleepily for chattering pupils with sore feet and heads full of gossip and giggles to mull over come Monday. Like all the best parties, it seemed to finish as quickly as it began – gone, yes, but leaving a glimmering memory in the minds of all who attended.