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Saturday, May 9, 2009

Dance Dance Revolution!

At about 11:35 p.m. on Friday night, the Torch and Trumpet Soirée transformed.

Before 11:35 p.m., Emory’s renowned Gary Motley Trio held the stage at the EAA’s annual dance party for the Class of 2009 and their parents. For the many parents in the audience, the swingin’ jazz sounds of the trio were the perfect, classy compliment to the celebration.

Like most everything else at Emory, the name of this EAA signature event is infused with symbolism. “The Torch and Trumpet” honors the elements of Emory’s shield. “Soirée” … well, Webster’s describes it as “a party or gathering in the evening.” Yeah, that sounds about right, although in actuality our Soirée is a bit more lively than the learnéd Mr. Webster had in mind. At least we hope so.

At 11:07 p.m., the trio finished their set--the Soirée had begun at 8:00 p.m. and they had taken the stage shortly thereafter--and Emory College alumnus and deejay extraordinaire DJ TJ 07C set up his turntables as the crowd mingled. At 11:31 p.m., the lights went down, the background music (a mix of 80s stalwarts Toto, The Police, The Cars, and Def Leppard that was primarily enjoyed by the EAA staff) wound down, and DJ TJ went to work.

At 11:35 p.m., DJ TJ spun his second song. Lady Gaga’s “Just Dance.” And dozens of Emory’s graduating seniors did just that, spilling onto the dance floor like somebody busted the faucet. In 10 seconds, the place turned into Club Emory Conference Center Hotel. Those dozens of bodies melded into one pulsating mass. The only lights were the occasional votives decorating the tables, and the exit signs. Not that anybody was interested in them.

And the dancing didn’t stop. And more and more students arrived, ensuring a steady stream of partygoers. And they took the place of the parents, bless their hearts, who departed in just as steady a stream. And one foot of elbow room was tough to find on the dance floor. And the thump, thump, thump of the bass shook the tables outside. And even the darkened patio adjacent to the foyer outside the ballroom, was abuzz with activity. And except for the one guy wearing the Indianapolis Colts jersey, all the students made sure to dress in their going-out clothes. And they made them work.

At about 1:15 a.m. on Saturday, we finally got out the big broom and swept the final party goers out the doors. (Very politely, of course, we’re in alumni relations and these are our constituents.) We won’t have the final numbers for a while, but more than 900 guests registered. I’d wager we were pretty darn close to that in attendance throughout the night.

Speaking of numbers, 100 is a nice, round one. And appropriate, too. Just prior to the Soirée, at the Miller-Ward Alumni House, members of the 100 Senior Honorary got together for one last time as a group. Just because there were only 100 of them, don’t think it was an intimate gathering. With parents and other family members, some 275 people got together to celebrate the 100—chosen because of their exemplary leadership and dedication to Emory.

After the reception, many of them recrossed the bridge they had traversed the previous night at the Candlelight Crossover to party at the Soirée. It was interesting trip symbolically. It wasn’t like they were backtracking or anything. But it is always important to remember where you came from.

--Eric Rangus, director of communications, EAA

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