Claudio S. Grafulla Benefit Ball

Event Information

Academy of Music

Claudio Solomon Grafulla

Event Type:

Performance Forces:

Record Information


Last Updated:
30 August 2017

Performance Date(s) and Time(s)

16 Apr 1868, 8:00 PM

Program Details

Includes a reception (as this event does every year).

Performers and/or Works Performed


Advertisement: New York Herald, 16 April 1868.

Includes list of regulations for the occasion.

Review: New York Herald, 17 April 1868, 6.

"The preparations of several months culminated among our city belles last evening, as did also the festive season of balls, in the grand reception of the Seventh regiment—an entertainment gotten up for the benefit of the able and accomplished band master of this favorite military organization. The annual reunions of this favorite command have been noted for rich display of costume and the assemblage of the most beautiful women of the metropolis, and for these and other reasons which are equally weighty with the jeunesse dorée of Gotham tickets for these festivals have always been in great demand. On arranging the last of these enjoyable balls, however, the managers very wisely sought means to relieve the occasion of many of the inconveniences which have heretofore been thought inevitable in such grand gatherings. In the first place the number of tickets was limited to the capacity of the house, but even then, lest the dancing floor might be crowded by the curious or by parties of promenaders in bonnets, the order was issued that full dress alone was to be the feature of the bright parterre, and that on no account would this rule be departed from. The result was most happy in assuring comfort and enjoyment where otherwise there would have prevailed a grand crush and vain attempts at impossible Terpsichorean exercise would have wrung the hearts of fair devotees of the light fantastic.

The preliminary and outward signs of the approaching festival were fully worthy of its grandeur and gave due note of the brilliancy and enjoyment likely to result from the aggregation of so much beauty and richness under such favorable auspices. The Academy was aglow at an early hour in the evening, the glare of gaslight gushing out into the gloomy night, and the rolling of long lines of carriages giving note of an unusually brilliant gathering. The concert portion of the programme was begun at eight o’clock, so that, during the excitement of the arrivals, the sounds of music poured forth from windows and doorways and added to the life of the outdoor scenes on the occasion. The carriages were ably directed, the impetuous Jehus restrained within the bounds of decorum by the able police force on duty under the direction of Captains Bracket and Cameron and the process of depositing the fair visitors at the grand entrance passed off without even unusual smoothness. About the main entrance, where across a brilliantly lighted area, the splendidly attired beauties and their attendant cavaliers were trooping in squads, an admiring crowd clung in solid mass, hanging on the very edges of the lighted space, but repressed in their anxiety to view the fair spectacle by the stern commands of the police force. There were scores thus content to catch fitful glances at fair faces and brilliant toilets, viewing in panoramic shape the scene which within burst upon the sight in a grand combination, in which every element of beauty and brightness appeared in one rich mass.

The seats in the house were all taken at an early hour, and the lobbies were well filled with clusters of ladies and gentlemen in full dress, coquetting, flirting and chattering merrily, while the concert wiled away the time with those who had secured seats within the house. No confusion was apparent, the arrangements of the hat rooms being very good, and the attendance in every respect adequate to the necessities of the grand occasion; so that, although the visitors continued to arrive in great numbers, undeterred by the rude breezes, rude followers of the storm which had prevailed out of doors, there was not the slightest inconvenience within. The music was selected with rare taste and judgment, comprising many familiar morceaux and novel arrangements by Grafulla, whose fine orchestra never performed better than on this occasion. The dancing, however, was the popular feature of the evening, as it always is on such occasions when fair ladies have fine toilets to display and the social spirit to enjoy the mazy convolutions of terpsichorean figures. So is it not wonderful that on the first signal the broad parterre was speedily overspread by the gay tapestry of powdered chevelures and rare combinations of colors in satin, gloss or silken sheen, and that the spark-like diamonds flared in the gay gallop or fluttered like stars in the midst of each evoluting squad that essayed the stately manoeuvres of the lancers. The rules adopted by the committee at the outset were rigidly observed, and the beneficial result was apparent in the unvaried beauty of the scene and the evident comfort of the dancers. There was no crowding, no crushing of head dresses, no tearing of costly skirts. Although the assemblage was as grand in numbers as in magnificence of toilet, Fashion had abundant room to display herself to full advantage and without the fear of soiling her most delicate feathers. Among the distinguished persons present were a number of the Governor’s staff, Major General Shaler, with Colonels Oakley, McMillan and Fowler, of his staff; General Varian, commanding Third brigade, and staff; the Mayor and his lady; Lieutenant Colonel Rockafeller, of the Seventy-first; Colonel Vermilye, Colonel H. C. Schumway, and quite a number of captains and lieutenants of the Eighth, Twenty-second and Fourth artillery and other regiments of the National Guard. The gay assemblage, the most brilliant of its kind this season, did not break up until one o’clock in the morning.”